In 2006 George Bush passed the Great Lakes Compact, a set of agreements that was supposed to safeguard and maintain this area of water that holds 20 percent of the world's freshwater.
The Compact included a loophole that, according to the Michigan Land Use Institute, "undermines the structure and purpose of the Compact by stating that the term “diversion” does not apply to “water produced in the basin and used ‘in or as’ a product and transferred outside of the basin." This sentence opens the door for exports of water as a “product.” This means that if water is produced and labeled as a product, it can go out of the Great Lakes basin without a limitation on the size of the container or quantity. The problem with the loophole is that we’ve created a situation where water can be labeled as a product, transferring its public protection to private control using the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other agreements to suck water out of the Great Lakes Basin."
Basically what the quote is saying is that the loophole allows for Great Lakes water to be labelled a commodity, that our public water supply, Lake Michigan, is being tapped and sold to Nestle for a very low price, flipped for an incredible profit (The Free Press, 2006):
The new Michigan law allows Nestle Corporation to continue its five-year takings of up to 250,000 gallons per day and sell them at a markup well over 240 times its production cost. Nestle's profit from drawing this water could be from $500,000 to $1.8 million per day. A key proviso is that the bottles can be no larger than 5.7 gallons apiece.
I wrote to Nestle, my statement:
I currently live on Lake Michigan. I am interested to know about your practices on our , I would like to know exactly how much water is extracted per day from our lakes, and what the water is used for. Thank you. Tessa
And their reply:
October 5, 2010
Dear Tessa P.,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Nestle Waters regarding if we are receiving water from
All of our spring source locations are from deep underground aquifers. We do not receive any water from Lake Michigan or any other lakes throughout the United States. In the state of Michigan we receive water from Sanctuary Springs inand Evart Springs in .
At Nestle Waters, we are committed to providing you with products that live up to your high standards for taste, quality, nutrition and enjoyment. Your feedback is valuable to us, as it helps us to improve our products and services.
We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you will visit our website www.nestle-watersna.com often for the latest information on our products and promotions.
Consumer Response Representative
Do you think they are telling the truth?