Bottled water plant planned for desert. Wait, what?!? Column

Article By: EJ Montini, The Arizona Republic

636002969678633339-montini01Nestle’s new plant would violate principles of conservation we should hold dear. We’re in the middle of a desert. We’re in the middle of a drought. We’re welcoming a water bottling plant. Wait…what? Yes.

This is not a mirage.

According to an article by The Arizona Republic’s Brandon Loomis, Nestle Waters is planning to transform a west Phoenix warehouse into a manufacturing plant that will fill 100s of millions of half-liter bottles w/roughly 35 million gallons of processed city water in the 1st year. Not only that, but they plan to sell our water back to us.

Thirsting for some common sense here? I know what you’re thinking. The logic of this is a bit … parched. You’re thirsting for evidence of common sense. Believe me, I share your concern. Already I’m fearful that the metaphoric well will run dry before the end of this column & I’ll succumb to the kind of allegorical dehydration that can lead to severe writer’s cramp.

Nestle claims a lot of benefits. Nestle is expected to spend $35 million on the project & eventually employ 40 to 50 people. According to city officials this siphoning on our most precious natural resource is a way to flood the city w/tax revenue. Or something like that. Community & Economic Development director Christine Mackie told Loomis,

“As a country we have really gotten away from manufacturing & what you’ll see over the next decade is Phoenix really taking a stance on manufacturing & bringing manufacturing back.”

OK, but water? We’re going to let a company in our arid community pump water into their plant, funnel it into plastic bottles & sell it back to us? The city’s Water Services Director, Kathryn Sorensen, said,

“We have a great buffer for drought & shortage.”

But Lake Mead is at record lows. Tell that to the Colorado River. Water experts grow cotton-mouthed when talking about the impending shortages. In addition to this, reports say that Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States, created by Hoover Dam & providing water to California, Nevada &, yes, Arizona is at a record low, close to a point of cutting water allocations. Bc of all this we are asked to preserve. How can we take conservation seriously?

To replace grass w/desert landscaping & drip irrigation systems. To replace “high-volume” toilets w/more efficient “dual flush” models. To keep showers under 5 minutes. To only do laundry when the loads are full. To shut off the water when brushing our teeth. It goes on & on, in ways small & large. And bc we love this desert paradise & want to preserve it we take these suggestions seriously. But how can we take them seriously?

We’re in the middle of a desert. We’re in the middle of a drought. And we’re welcoming a water bottling plant.

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