Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Privatizing the commons - Commercializing spring water in Florida

From The Week September 27, 2019

Stop giving away Florida’s spring water

Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec

The New York Times

Nestlé is set to renew its permit to bottle freshwater from one of Florida’s bountiful springs, said Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec. This permit “allows Nestlé to take 1 million gallons per day at no cost, with just a one-time $115 application fee.” The arrangement to take millions of gallons from Ginnie Springs is one of many deals that Nestlé has to “take water directly from the source” in Florida. As a result, the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world is being devastated. Some springs have already dried up, while “others have shown signs of saltwater intrusion and harmful algae blooms.” Florida is not the only state where Nestlé’s favorable bottling arrangements have rankled communities. The company pays Michigan just a $200 annual “administrative fee” to extract millions of gallons of that state’s water too. Meanwhile, residents of Flint “are faced with high bills for poisoned water and have to rely on purchased bottled water.” In California, groups are “battling Nestlé’s water-bottling operation in the San Bernardino National Forest, an area suffering from drought.” At the very least, companies like Nestlé should pay a meaningful tax that reflects the value they’re getting. Or even better, and simpler: Stop issuing extraction permits that let big companies siphon off water from our streams.
Editor's note - Water is the new oil. It is being bottled and sold. The commercializing of the commons is one of the sins of capitalism.

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