After years of negotiations, officials in Chaffee County, Colo. finally gave Nestle the approval to begin siphoning millions of gallons of spring water from the Arkansas River so that it can be bottled and sold under the Arrowhead Springs label.
Despite resistence from the Aurora City Government and environmental protestors, Nestle has spent the last few years buying up the land around the water, constructing pipelines, and building a pumping station Vista with hopes that they would be allowed to transport the water to Denver where it will be sold as bottled water.
Last Tuesday, the bottled water giant was finally allowed to start filling its fleet of twenty-five 8,000 gallon trucks and trucking the water hundreds of miles from the Arkansas River.
Residents who opposed the agreement know that removing this volume of water from the river and surrounding aquifers will have serious impacts for the watershed and nearby wetlands.
John Graham, president of the Chaffee Citizens for Sustainability (CCFS) recently told the Colorado Independent that water as clean as what Nestle will be bottling is available to almost everyone with a kitchen faucet for a fraction of the price.
Drinking tap water from reusable containers carries none of the environmental impact of the planned operation, which will log more than 6,000 miles a day at least on the road between Johnson Village and Denver.
Climate change in the arid Rocky Mountain West is already putting a strain on natural water supplies. If Nestle is allowed to remove 200 acre-feet per year, residents are worried that they’ll soon be dealing with a water shortage of their own.
The decision to ok Nestle’s control of the water comes only days after the UN declared that access to clean drinking water is a basic human right.
Image Credit: Flickr - klearchos