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Multinationals Exploit Groundwater Sources, and People Suffer

tinue to pump. What happens to the town of McCloud, the people in it?"

The contract is heavily loaded against the community, it is felt Not only that. The McCloud residents are also sought to be shortchanged by Nestle. At a shelf price of $10.32 per gallon, 1,600 acre-feet would gross $5,380,451,712. If Nestl nets one-fifth of what that water sells for, it would make over $1 billion a year. But it will pay the community a despicably measly 000087 cents per gallon for the water it takes from McCloud's springs.

Interestingly while Nestl maintains the rights to the water, the legal responsibility for the springs remains with the town. "This would leave the people of McCloud holding the legal bag for any environmental violations resulting from Nestl's operations and any resulting lawsuits," the Watershed Council's website says.

After the contract was signed in October 2003, residents quickly formed two organizations, the McCloud Watershed Council and Concerned McCloud Citizens, which took Nestl and the McCloud Community Services District to court because their contract never included an environmental impact report and so violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In March 2005, the Siskiyou County Court ruled in favor of the community groups and the contract was voided. But Nestl appealed and was victorious in the appellate court, and this round of legal battles ended just last month when the state Supreme Court decided not to hear the case. But the battle continues. On its part Nestl seems to have its infiltration of rural towns down to a science, it is charged. The best places are the ones where they can play the jobs card.

Nestl's PR rep, Lisa Yarbrough explained, "The McCloud community has suffered through the decline in the local timber industry. The local mill, once the primary community employer, has completely terminated its operations. This proposed water bottling project
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