Town May Be First To Ban Nestle From Stealing Their Water

| Resist!

They hope to become the nation’s first.

A first-in-the-nation ballot initiative to stop Nestle from buying public water may soon be up for a vote in Oregon’s Hood River County.

The ballot initiative aims to block a convoluted water deal handing over water rights to both the state of Oregon and Hood River County to Nestle, resulting in the company selling the county’s water. The ballot initiative could stop the deal in its tracks and sound a warning to Nestle and other water-bottling companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi that local populations are rallying to protect their water rights.

The Nestle plan has been in the works for over 6 years. The deal has been under siege by local activists, including local Native American populations. Indigenous activist Anna Mae Leonard went on hunger strike earlier this year to try to stop the deal.

“It is intrinsically a desecration to sell that water,” Leonard told KOIN.

This pressure as well as creative work by local environmentalists has led to the ballot initiative. Now organizers must get at least 664 signatures on a petition to get the issue before the electorate.

The fight for potable water is going to be a major issue in the coming decades. Nestle has already come under fire for bottling water in the drought-stricken Colorado River basin, including parts of Southern California, which is enforcing water rationing on local populations. And just last year, the Maine Public Utilities Commission allowed the sale of Fryeburg, Maine’s water rights to Nestle despite public outcry. That decision was especially monumental, as two of the regulators who ruled in Nestle’s favor had previously recused themselves from the decision, citing previous deals with Nestle.

As scarcity of water spreads, local populations are becoming more resourceful in their efforts to preserve local water supplies. Committed activists like those in Hood River County are taking after the example of prior organizing efforts, like those in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to keep their water publicly-owned.

  • Robert Hodge

    Unconscionable that Nestle would even TRY such a scheme…they have NO shame! NO! to a takeover of the water supply! I can’t believe I’m even having to TYPE such a ludicrous statement!

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    I’m sure that they are developing similar schemes wherever they can.

  • Robert Hodge

    Yeah…I imagine the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Do you know the Ballot measure title? I’d like to promote it on my facebook thing…thanks for responding. Keep the Faith and fire up the frenzy!