Michigan Citizens Win a Victory Over Nestle
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Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation went to court on Monday, July 6 and prevented Nestlé Waters North America from pumping even more water from an already depleted stream in Mecosta County to bottle for its Ice Mountain brand bottled water.
Nestlé had been seeking to pump more water from Dead Stream and Thompson Lake under the criteria of a 2006 injunction. Fortunately, this week's circuit court ruling calls for Nestlé to reduce its water pumping earlier each spring and to maintain that lower volume of water withdrawals each summer. That should at least lessen the effects of dry weather on the watershed environment.
In 2003, a trial court ruled that Nestlé's plan to pump water out of Mecosta County to slake the thirst of its bottled water business violated Michigan state law. Three years later, an appellate court agreed to an injunction in which the company could pump an average of 218 gallons of water a minute instead of the 400 gallons of water a minute that the state had allowed in the original permit.
As a result of the court victory this week, Nestlé will have to make do with the 200-plus gallons of water per minute.
But this is not the end. The fight continues to shut down Nestlé's operation in this sensitive Michigan ecosystem and, in the bigger picture, to ensure that water everywhere remains in public hands.
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch.