Hood River County is in a formal drought, and predictions are for droughts like this to become more common. Our farmers, orchardists, families and salmon all depend on Hood River County's water for their survival and we simply don’t have any water to spare. Allowing large corporations to package our water into mountains of plastic bottles and truck it out of our community will take a tough water situation and make it worse.
If we allow one global corporation to come into the County and take our water, then we've set a precedent that we're willing to sell off one of our most valuable assets: our water. In an era of growing water scarcity and droughts, corporations are looking for new sources of water. If we allow Nestlé to take our water today, we've marked ourselves as an easy target to any corporation looking to buy a valuable resource at bottom barrel prices. Hood River County simply cannot afford to be known as a place willing to sacrifice the water we need for our families, farms and fisheries.
We know water is already a critical resource today, but in the coming years, water will be one of a community’s greatest assets. As population grows and water supplies decrease, communities that have water will have a great advantage to prosper, while communities with less will face an uncertain struggle. We have already seen the drought impact farmers, families have let their yards go brown, and fish are dying due to low water and high temperatures in our rivers. Trading away our water to out-of-state corporations puts our water security and our future in the hands of others.
Nestlé, one of the world’s largest corporations, has proposed a controversial bottled water project for Cascade Locks, Hood River County’s second largest city. The project would be Nestlé’s first attempt at a bottled water facility in Oregon, and would set a dangerous precedent that Hood River County is willing to allow our water to be packaged into millions of plastic bottles and sent out of the County on the backs of trucks. The Water Protection Ballot Measure would prevent Nestlé’s project, but it is by no means just meant to stop the Nestlé project. More importantly, the measure is a way to set the precedent that Hood River County values our water and that we will not sell it off to water exporters wishing to profit at the expense of our water security and future. Please check out our FAQ page for answers to common questions. If you have a question, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the recent drought has shown, we simply do not have any extra water to export. Now more than ever, we need our water resources for residential and agricultural uses and to support our local salmon fishery. Nestle’s proposal to bottle and export water from Hood River County is the first of what could be many attempts to export our county’s limited water supply. As water becomes increasingly scarce and more corporations begin looking for new sources of water, we just can’t afford to become known as an area willing to sell off our water. Protecting our water supply is not about stopping just one project. It's about setting the precedent that our water and the future of our community are so important and so intertwined that we are not willing to sell them off.
"[W]e are running out of water and I think this has to become our first priority" -- Nestle Chairman, Peter Brabeck Financial Times, 7/14/2014