At the last Oregon Water Resources Commission on Friday, January 27, the agenda was full of administrative issues including a rule change regarding the way people who submit public comments will be notified that their comment has been received. Food & Water Watch and its coalition partners were at the meeting to ensure that everyone who commented on the Department of Water Resources water transfer applications pertaining to the Nestle water bottling proposal be properly notified of the Water Resources Department’s decision on those transfer applications. In the end we were assured that those who submitted comments would be appropriately notified.
What wasn’t in the agenda was the Nestle water bottling issue, yet, Dave Palais, Nestlé’s Natural Resources Manager, broached the subject asking for the Water Resources Commission’s approval of a water exchange that would lead to a proposed Nestlé water bottling plant in the Gorge. Palais went on record urging the commission to support the water exchange, while also highlighting that the Cascade Locks bottling plant would be good for the entire state of Oregon. This unexpected pronouncement by a representative of Nestle at a public meeting caused some confusion among the Water Resources Commission members since Palais’ testimony was out of context and caught the commission off guard.