Nestlé, a company no stranger to protests after its baby formula controversies of the '70s and '80s, is riling the waters in the Columbia Gorge with its plan to turn the spring waters of Cascade Locks into more than 100 million gallons a year worth of bottles of Arrowhead and Pure Life water.
The plan would swap spring water that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is using for one of its fish hatcheries for well water. Nestlé would get the spring water, the fish the well water, and the town would get some jobs and taxes from the new facility.
Opponents object to the commodification of water resources, increasing the already large amount of enviro-damaging bottled water sales, the dangers to fish and wildlife and say Nestlé and the state haven't studied the long-term impacts on Cascade Locks' water supply or on Herman Creek, which is fed by the spring.
Nestlé is paying for a study to see if well water is bad for the fish.
Nestlé's buying up of water supplies has caused controversies in other states, and many campaigns have arisen demonstrating that tap water is often safer, tastes better and less environmentally damaging than tap water. Nestlé has threatened to sue over some of those campaigns.
Nestlé's application is is open for public comment through Sept. 30. Direct comments to: Water Resources Department; Attn: Transfer Section; 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A; Salem, OR 97301-1266. Reference transfer number 11109.