Water Awareness Month, eh?

Have you heard? Governor Kate Brown has announced July 2015 is

Will Governor Brown do her part to protect this spring water from Nestlé?

Will Governor Brown do her part to protect this spring water from Nestlé?

“Water Awareness Month.” She even issued a press release about it. According to a July 6 Statesman Journal article, “Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will order all state agencies to review their water usage and implement conservation plans in the face of the state’s growing drought.” She also urges individuals to do what they can to conserve this precious resource.

It is hard to take this proclamation too seriously, though, and here’s why:

In letter responding to nine Oregon State Legislators who expressed concerns over Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (ODFW) role in Nestlé’s water bottling proposal in Oregon, Gov. Brown makes clear that she doesn’t think the Governor’s office has any role to play in the matter. Strange, since ODFW’s initial consideration of the proposal six years ago was at the direction of Governor Kulongoski. Clearly there’s a role for the governor to play in preventing a state agency tasked with protecting fish and wildlife resources from making public water available to a multi-national water bottling company.

Even ODFW is waiting on leadership from Governor Kate Brown; according to a May 13 article in the Oregonian, “In pursuing the deal, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said they are following the orders of former Gov. Ted Kulongoski and will continue to do so in the absence of further direction from the state’s leadership.”
Call the deal a water exchange or call it a water rights swap; no matter how you slice it Governor Brown’s state agency, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – if Brown allows it to proceed – would set a dangerous precedent by voluntarily initiating a complicated process to make public water available to Nestlé. Currently not one of the 33 water bottlers in the state of Oregon procures that water through a public state agency; why should the State allow Nestlé to do so?

The deal has never made sense for Oregon, but now that Cascade Locks has new economic development options, Hood River County is seeking drought emergency status, and public concern is mounting both in the community and across the state, it’s clearer than ever that Nestlé is a raw deal for Oregonians. Nestlé’s water bottling plant has no place in Oregon and state agencies should play no role in opening up the door to a company that continues to pump millions of gallons of water out of California during a historic drought. And, Nestlé’s CEO publicly stated he would pump even more water out of California right now if he could.

Governor Brown understands climate change; it’s one of her main reasons for proclaiming July Water Awareness Month. She knows water scarcity is in our future. No matter how you look at this, the deal will lead to 118 million gallons of water per year being removed from a watershed in a drought-stricken county. The math is simple: if Governor Brown is serious about state agencies conserving water the only thing to do is tell ODFW to stop any and all water transfer applications pertaining to Nestlé’s water bottling proposal.

If you agree that Nestlé is a raw deal for Oregon contact the governor today:

Here is Governor Brown’s number: 503-378-4582, you can send her a message here: http://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/share-your-opinion.aspx, or best yet a letter:

Office of the Governor
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Water Awareness Month, eh?

  1. Great message! I will share it on Twitter and FB! I’m just recovering myself from the recent heat wave and trying to get more involved in this action.
    The more I learn about this issue of water rights (especially after the recent heat wave here in Oregon), the more I am outraged by the prospect of Nestle getting anywhere near the Columbia Gorge! Like many, I wrote a letter in April or May to the ODFW during the public comment period. Then, yesterday, I spent the morning calling several offices including: Sen Ron Wyden (even though I learned that the issue of water rights was not under his jurisdiction, I urged him to get involved and use his influence if he could) The staffer said the Senator was definitely watching this issue closely. For some reason, I didn’t call Congressman Blumenaur, but it was on his FB page where I recently read his post about the issue and many comments from people around the country whose water sources have been tapped by Nestle and being bottled and “sold down the river”. Only one person/case from Michigan had finally gotten rid of Nestle after a 9 year court battle!
    I called Governor Kate Brown’s office and left messages on both phone #’s.
    I was also put in touch with Tracy Fox, the person in charge of handling this issue at the Oregon Water Resources Dept. ph: 503 986-0827 (I think this is correct but I was transferred to her over the phone). I told her I was vehemently opposed to Nestle in Oregon and asked her what could be done to stop this “water rights transfer/swap”. She said to call the Governor’s office and attend the City of Cascade Locks commissioners’ meetings and voice my opposition to them. I called the City of Cascade Locks and spoke to the receptionist. She told me to write a letter to the Mayor of Cascade Locks which I intend to do today and urge everyone to do!
    His name and his address is:
    Major Tom Cramblett
    P.O. Box 308
    Cascade Locks, Oregon 97014
    I think the most important thing we can do is get this information out to as many people as possible!
    Thanks to all you and every person involved in protecting our precious water resources here in Oregon!!

  2. Connie Crabtree

    This is not a good deal for Oregon. Nestlé doesn’t have a good record anywhere. Why would we give them access to Our water? Not going to give jobs to people in Cascade Locks by bringing in a foreign company who has screwed over every place they have moved into. Pretty much a no brainer. Don’t fail us,

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