And Not a Drop to Drink: The Conspiracy to Control Our Water
So is all this just smart business, mixed into the usual stew of corruption and greed? Or is it something more? A conspiracy?
Some folks in Stanwood, Michigan, think it’s the latter. Nestlé built a giant bottling plant in their town. But they aren’t making chocolate milk. What they’re doing is draining huge amounts of water from Lake Michigan. It’s sold throughout the country under the “Ice Mountain” label. Without doubt, Nestlé provides jobs for some locals. But take a closer look at this plant, and you’ll find some disturbing facts. For one thing, the giant pumps sucking water out of Lake Michigan are nowhere near the lake itself. That would be too obvious. The pumps are cleverly located some 12 miles from plant itself, Nestled cozily in a private game preserve. There they do their work 24/7, voraciously siphoning off the groundwater that feeds Lake Michigan. Not surprisingly, Nestle Corporation rejected numerous requests for an interview.
The fee for taking this precious natural resource? One hundred dollars annually. And there’s something else: Many experts believe the Great Lakes could actually be drained dry if water mining continues unchecked. Truthout.org reports these alarming facts:
"That the water levels in the upper lakes are falling is certain. Data from the Army Corps of Engineers website indicates that Lake Superior has almost reached its record low, set in 1926. Roger Gauthier, a project manager at the Great Lakes Commission, an intergovernmental body representing eight states and two Canadian provinces, said water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron had dropped three feet since 1999 and were about seven inches above the record low set in 1964. The persistence of low water in Lakes Huron and Michigan has been out of keeping with the larger cycles of high and low water in the basin."
Some of the locals and Native American tribes banded together to stop the Stanwood plant. But as one of the activists ruefully admitted, “Nestlé is an unstoppable juggernaut.” Just like the Great Lakes as a whole, pristine Mecosta County, Michigan, is beginning to pay the price. In 2007, the natural springs that sustained families for generations ran dry. The names are relics of a gentler past. Panther Spring and Horse Camp Springs. And both are now Sahara dry. A well on the Nordic Center side of the ski park went dry. People complain that their Christmas trees are dry. Even though 2007 was a low rainfall year, these springs and streams had never run out of water before.
The evidence is indisputable—they’re stealing the Great Lakes. Remember what Nestlé pays to the State of Michigan for the rights to suck up these huge amounts of water: $100 dollars a year. But it gets even more ominous. According to Dave Dempsey, author of the book Great Lakes for Sale, a loophole in the law entitles anyone who owns water to export as much as he wants—as long as it’s in bottles.
And in other parts of the country, different dangers are lurking.