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Why is Nestle Waters Pursuing Chaffee County Project First?

Nestle Waters of North America’s hotly contested water extraction project in Chaffee County (CO) bears all the indications of being the first of many, and in fact, Nestle’s operative admits Nestle will soon be looking for additional spring sites around the state.

This perceptive letter in the SalidaCitizen.com site asks the simple question: Why us?

Why did Nestle come to Chaffee County first? I think it was not just for the water. I think Nestle wanted a small rural community with very limited resources to address their first 1041 permit application in the state.

Nestle’s stated intentions are to satisfy their market in the Rocky Mountain region. Bruce Lauerman, at the Board of Commissioners meeting in Buena Vista last Tuesday April 21, spoke of looking for additional spring sites throughout the state, with the help of the State’s Engineer’s Office. By setting a precedent with this first application approval, it will make it more difficult to deny the next permit in the next county.

I feel this is just the beginning of NWNA’s extended efforts to develop industrial water extraction projects statewide. This project has been presented as small and benign. NWNA is a subsidiary of the Nestle Corporation, a foreign company.

Swiss owned, it has been engaged in monopolization of water resources globally. I am concerned about the long term implications of Nestle engaging in “Buy and Dry” land purchases and/or other spring site developments, when it is yet to be established if the State of Colorado has capacity to support industrial extraction of water for profit.

This is the first project of its kind in Colorado, and a responsible approach would be to place a moratorium on projects of this kind until the issue can be studied, and determined if this type of enterprise is appropriate for our state. In this case, the concept is being hurried, without asking or answering important questions.