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Posts Tagged ‘Oxbow Springs’

The privatization of water systems throughout the world has led to higher water prices, worse maintenance for water systems, lower wages for employees, far worse service for citizens throughout the world, and higher corporate profits. In other words, privatization of communal properties redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

This is why it was no surprise that the Swiss corporation Nestle wanted the water at Oxbow Springs in Hood River County Oregon. They wanted the water to bottle via their Arrowhead brand, and they wanted the local water system privatized in its favor. Most folks disagreed.

Activists brought Measure 14-55 before the people to prevent massive bottling of any water source within Hood River County. A yes vote meant Nestle wasn’t going to be able to engage in its water grab.

Though opponents of Nestle’s proposed plant in Cascade Locks in scenic Hood River County were vastly outspent, Measure 14-55 easily passed—roughly 69 percent to 31 percent.

According to Julia DeGraw, an organizer for national watchdog organization Food & Water Watch, which helped lead the opposition to Nestle, voters were very aware of the risks of putting corporate control over the precious resource, despite the purported 50 jobs the plant would provide the job-scarce town.

“When you talk to them about something as crucial as their water, which is necessary for an agricultural economy, right after they have a drought, there is not enough misinformation the opposition can throw at voters to make them buy it,” she said.

As Hood River business owner Michael Barthmus explained, “most people understand that water is a resource and basic human need and not a commodity to be exploited. Shipping water outside of our county seems like poor stewardship, especially during a time of shortage and droughts. Our families, farms and the fish in our rivers should be our top priority.

blue gold

The Guardian newspaper of Great Britain reported ahead of the vote that some residents had said that politicians did not hold full public hearings, accepted trips from Nestlé to California and presented negotiations between Nestlé and the state authorities as a done deal that was now out of ordinary people’s hands. Oregon’s largest corporate propaganda organ, The Oregonian newspaper, failed to report any of these things.

Local Water Alliance is applauding the results as a “landslide victory,” as the group had seen the measure’s implications beyond Nestle “dangerous precedent” proposal. “Protecting our water supply is not about stopping just one project. It’s about setting the precedent that our water and the future of our community are so important and so intertwined that we are not willing to sell them off,” the group’s website states.

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