In Osceola Township, Michigan, locals are getting very concerned about the fate of their precious local trout streams. For more than 15 years, Nestlé has used the area’s groundwater as a source for it’s bottled water brand, Icy Mountain. Water levels are getting too low and temperatures too high to support its long-standing wild and stocked populations of trout. And now Nestlé has submitted a request to increase its groundwater withdrawal from 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute, increasing its withdrawals by 216,000 gallons a day. With stream levels already having dangerous conditions for trout, citizens have had enough.
According to an NRDC.org article, “After Nestlé asked the state to increase its allowance from the pump in 2016, public meetings drew hundreds—more than 600 by Maturen’s count—from not only the township but also Detroit and Flint, Michigan. DEQ also received more than 80,000 comments opposing Nestlé’s request and just 75 in favor.”
Environmental groups also shared their disdain for the withdrawal increase, the Sierra Club and Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) criticized the lack of environmental studies arguing that the state has no real-time data to measure stream health since Nestlé began taking water.
To read more about Nestlé’s actions in Michigan check out the rest of the in-depth article, here, on NRDC.org.
However, this isn’t the only issue Nestlé’s water bottling efforts that are harming our environment. The company is facing backlash in California for its continued use of state forest land as a source for FREE water, which they then turn around and sell. They were required to pay for a $2000 permitting fee and pay nothing for the large volume of water they take out equating to about 45 million gallons.
In the stream whose headwaters are used for the bottling, not much water makes it down out of the park. A California non-profit, The Story of Stuff, created this great video highlighting the issue and those fighting against it.
The Story of Stuff has been largely responsible for the investigative reporting that has brought Nestlé’s poor water usage practices to light. The corporation is now under investigation for illegally using water during the historic California drought a few years ago.
It is so unfortunate that not only are our clean, cold streams under attack from environmental and climate change threats, now we have to worry about corporations mismanaging and abusing the important groundwater sources that give our trout streams and river life.