Local Water Alliance supporters showed up in force in Hood River to urge voters to vote YES on the Hood River Water Protection Measure (14-55). Ballots are in the mail supporters are encouraging voters to fill out their ballots and turn them in ASAP.
Hood River County, OR – Today, volunteers with the Local Water Alliance held a rally in downtown Hood River and gave away free glasses of water to people on the street and in passing cars to mark the arrival of ballots that will decide whether Hood River County becomes one of the first in the nation to prohibit industrial-scale bottled water operations.
Measure 14-55, the Hood River County Water Protection Measure, was proposed by a coalition of residents, farmers and Native Americans and heads to voters less than a year after Hood River County was under an emergency drought declaration.
Nestlé has proposed a water bottling plant in Cascade Locks which would use over 238 million gallons of publicly-owned water a year, and creating more than approximately 1.6 billion plastic water bottles each year. Measure 14-55 would legally block the Nestlé plant, which would be the largest such plant in Oregon, but backers of the measure say it’s about much more than just the Nestlé project.
“We have seen great support for Measure 14-55 all over the County, because people realize that we cannot afford to set the precedent that we’re willing to give away hundreds of millions of gallons of water a year when only last year we were under emergency drought declaration,” says volunteer Campaign Director Aurora del Val with the Local Water Alliance. “If we open the door to one bottled water plant then others are sure to follow and this does not make sense when farmers are getting their water supplies cut off because of drought.”
“We’re encouraging everyone in Hood River County to fill in their ballot and vote to protect the water supply we need to support our families, farms and fishery,” says organizer Molly Kissinger. “While bottled water corporations are trying to claim this measure would hurt Cascade Locks, some of our most active volunteers are people from Cascade Locks, working to keep their limited water supply from being handed over to one of the largest corporations in the world.”
Hood River County, OR – The Local Water Alliance announced today that over 100 local businesses and farms have officially endorsed the Water Protection Measure 14-55, which would prohibit bottled water operations in Hood River County.
The long list of businesses, farms and farmers highlights the importance of protecting Hood River County’s water supply from water bottling efforts by Nestlé and other water bottlers. A Nestlé-backed political action committee calling itself “Coalition for a Strong Gorge Economy” recently filed with State Elections, listing a Salem political lobbyist as its main group contact.
Measure 14-55 backers say their impressive list of local farm and business endorsers highlights that a broad spectrum of voters understands that trucking out hundreds of millions of gallons of water a year would set a precedent that would put the County’s economy at risk.
“Our orchards and farms will not survive without a reliable water supply,” says ballot measure 14-55 Chief Petitioner Moria Reynolds of Casa Verde Farms. “Last year’s irrigation water restriction was a wake up call to local farmers that water is a valuable resource here in Oregon, and with future climate predictions, this is not the time to start selling our water for cheap.”
“Business after business that we talked to recognized that we cannot set the precedent of allowing Nestlé or any other industrial-scale water bottler into our County. This is not just about Nestlé because if we let Nestlé in, then many other water bottlers will soon follow their lead,” says Aurora del Val, who lives in Cascade Locks and is the Campaign Director for the Local Water Alliance.
Mike Kitts, who owns the construction company Mike Kitts Homes and also Mike’s Ice Cream in Hood River, directly addressed Nestlé’s claim that a bottled water plant would provide local jobs. “Bottled water plants are highly automated and only provide a small number of low-paying jobs while threatening our water supply that is critical for thousands of existing jobs.”