Nestle Wants Free Water. How About No?

Nestlé wants a permit to drain about a million gallons of water a day from the aquifer in North Florida. The company will use it to bottle and sell water under brand names like Deer Park and Zephyr Hills.This is an opportune time to remind everyone that Nestlé Waters North America will pay nothing for that water. Zero.

Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board – Time to end the corporate giveaway of Florida’s water

I’m not even sure how to parse this. How would anyone just blanket agree that Nestle, the multi-national company who owns virtually all of the highly-waste producing water bottling companies, wants to take one million gallons a day from Florida’s aquifers and sell it to us. For nothing.

Hang on a second, I seem to remember something scummy about Nestle. Oh yeah. Water as a human right is “extreme”, let’s listen:

The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution. The other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe Nestlé’s CEO from 1997 to 2008

Oh. Yeah. We should totally just give it to them. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, they did make him apologize, right?

Oh, please do. Clarify.

So, he walks himself back. Great. Still though, the state of Florida (and by that, I mean the residents) should just give Nestle 1 million gallons of water a day for… nothing? Water that could be, oh, I don’t know, used for some of the things that he thinks we shouldn’t be doing with it? Yeah, I’d like to wash my car. Oh, but I’m sorry, selling it in wasteful plastic bottles by the truckload, much better. My bad.

It’s not even easy to avoid Nestle. They own quite a bit of companies with their fingers in a lot of markets:

While it may be difficult to do, we can demand more oversight from our Senators and Congress people. We can demand that companies don’t just get a free ride because they’re big and will “bring so many jobs”. Water isn’t something that we should be buying from a corporation. It should be part and parcel of our rights as citizens.