“Water is a basic human right. It is necessary for the survival of a planet. When you start commodifying the necessities of life in such a way as to make it more difficult for people to gain access to those necessities, you have the basis for serious political instability.”- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
Companies like Nestlé and PepsiCo have made huge profits out of bottled water, and small towns like Fryeburg, Maine, have been hurt in the process.
These giant water companies come in to small towns and take the towns’ water, even though it does not belong to them, and the town does not get anything in return. Instead, they are left with lakes and rivers polluted with empty, plastic water bottles.
Fryeburg tried to tax Nestle, but Nestlé said if they had to pay the town a tax, they wouldn’t survive.
Ground water in Maine is controlled by absolute dominion, which means “he who has the biggest pump, gets to take the most water,” and in Maine that is Nestlé. Even worse, Nestlé came into Fryeburg and did not tell anyone their plans, and the only way someone would know is if they asked
Nestlé moved the town’s water supply, which came from springs, to a deeper well and took the spring water to sell in their water bottles. In February of 2004, the town went without clean water for a day and a half, but Nestlé never stopped pumping water.
One town resident said, “They had plenty of water while the nursing home had to have the fire department bring in trucks of water.”
The towns try to take the companies to court, but keep losing either because they don’t have the resources or the courts think companies should come first and people should come second.
According to Tapped, a documentary about the commodification and environmental horror of bottle water, 40 percent of all bottled water is just filtered tap water, although most bottled water companies claim they only use fresh spring water. They also pump it, bottle it, and ship, and then sell it back to the public for 1900 times the cost of tap water.