Oct 28, 2020

Nestlé Plans to Pump 65 Million Gallons of Arkansas River Water to Denver

Nestlé wants a new 10-year permit to pump 200 gallons of groundwater a minute and truck it to Denver for bottling.

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Nestlé Waters North America plans to pump up to 65 million gallons of groundwater a year out of the Upper Arkansas River Valley for bottling in Denver. 

Nestlé Waters is asking Chaffee County, Colorado for a new 10-year permit, reported the Colorado Sun.

“A lot has changed over the last 11 years,” said Chaffee County Commissioner Rusty Granzella said as he questioned Nestlé officials during a nearly seven-hour meeting, reported the Colorado Sun. “The commissioners are expected to issue a final decision on the Nestlé permit application in the coming weeks.”

Nestlé Waters reported $8.6 billion in sales in 2019, which is down slightly from 2018. 

According to a statement from Nestlé, the company will work to increase sustainability and profitability and by 2025, replenish all the water it takes from watersheds and offset the carbon footprint of bottling and transporting water. In June, the company announced it was exploring a sale of its water-bottling operations in Canada and the U.S.

According to a Chaffee County staff report on the Nestlé Waters permit renewal application, the company has indicated it will be selling Nestlé Waters North America in 2021.

When asked about the possibility of a sale, Larry Lawrence, Nestlé Waters North America’s natural resources manager, said the sale would not impact the permitting process or agreements the company was making to continue its operations in Chaffee County, according to the Colorado Sun. 

Nestlé is also seeking a permit renewal in North Florida, which would allow an increase in water it draws from Ginnie Springs. The company wants to extract 1.2 million gallons of water a day from the springs for its Seven Springs brand, reported the Colorado Sun. 

In March, two U.S. House Democrats launched an investigation into Nestlé, reporting that the company extracted 3.4 billion gallons of groundwater in Michigan between 2005 and 2015 and made $343 million selling Michigan water in 2016.

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