Say No to Water Privatization: Stop Nestle From Taking Over the Columbia River Gorge

Target: Oregon Water Resources Department Director Phillip C. Ward

Goal: To stop the construction of a proposed Nestle water bottling facility in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Nestle is currently working on a plan to privatize water in Oregon.  The company would like to construct a water bottling facility in the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon in the scenic Columbia River Gorge which would privatize pristine water from the Mt. Hood National Forest and sell it at an enormous price increase.  This facility would interfere with habitat for threatened fish and allow a private corporation to profit off of an important public resource that provides forty percent of Oregonians with drinking water.  Nestle has proven to be an irresponsible neighbor to small communities like Cascade Locks, and will not guarantee that any jobs created would be given to locals.

Water for Nestle’s facility would be taken from Oxbow Springs in the Mt. Hood National Forest and replaced with well water from the city of Cascade Locks.  They would pump over 160 million gallons of water annually to be bottled in wasteful plastic and sold at the astronomical price increase of 1500 percent.  This water exchange could threaten salmon and steel head species in the Columbia River and would set a bad precedent for water management in the state. Although the plant boasts job creation, Nestle refuses to commit any jobs that would be created to local residents, and the presence of a water plant in this scenic town could reduce its beauty and drive down revenue from tourism.  During tourist season residents of Cascade Locks could see a water truck coming through every eight minutes.  This, in addition to construction required for the plant will negatively impact the tourist economy for the gorge.

By signing the below petition, you are asking the Oregon Water Resources Department to deny Nestle’s application to privatize public water in the Columbia River Gorge.


Dear Phillip Ward,

I urge you to deny the necessary permits that would allow Nestle access to public water resources at Oxbow Springs and in Cascade Locks.  A water bottling facility would do little to stimulate the economy of Cascade Locks, while damaging local tourism and threatening salmon and steel head in the Columbia River.

The construction of a bottling plant would bring a high volume of truck traffic through Cascade Locks, increasing pollution and noise and necessitating that public money be spent to improve roads.  Although the plant would bring 20-50 jobs, Nestle refuses to guarantee that those jobs are awarded to local residents, and their record has proven they are not a responsible neighbor to small towns who’s resources they wish to exploit.

Oregonians value the Columbia River Gorge for its scenic beauty, and take pride in the high quality of water that comes from Mt. Hood.  This water provides forty percent of Oregonians with drinking water, and it should not be utilized for the private profit of a multinational corporation.  Construction of this plant would go against the values that Oregonians hold dear.

Please deny Nestle’s permits to privatize public water.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. This petition is very misleading. There is no privatization of water. The proposed water bottling plant will have no water rights. It will simply be a municipal customer of the City, just like any other business or residence. The amount of water used is equivalent to irrigating a 9 hole par 3 golf course. The applicant for the project is the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who will be able to increase it’s production of endangered cutthroat trout because of this project. The traffic impacts are inconsequential. Currently 7.5 million vehicles travel on I-84 annually past Cascade Locks. The $50 million investment DOUBLES the assessed value of Cascade Locks. The proposed site is within the urban growth boundary. The National Scenic Area Act encourages economic growth within urban areas. We need the 50 plus jobs! This project will give us a chance to get our High School and Middle Schools reopened. Please contact me if you want more information or a tour of the project site and Oxbow Springs.


    • Ooh, but they r grabbing way 2 much water & threatening even OUR survival. I’d hate 2 go 2 the tap 1 day 2 find no more water. Nestlé MUST b stopped b4 we ALL pay w/ our lives

    • Eloise Bates says:

      Yeah sure, just like the oil companies in Texas with their FRACKING. And now the town is dry. And if this is such a great idea why weren’t we told about months ago? Instead you are trying to sneak it on under our noses.
      50 jobs. You mean 50 jobs to build the plant and then a crew of 10 to run it thereafter don’t you?

    • You should do some research and see what the bottled water companys are trying to do. Every city that gives in, gives them that much more control. What happens when you no longer are able to go to your tap and turn it on because it is regulated and controled by these companys. Dont be niave, be aware.

    • Chuck, I’m very sorry, but even though the water ‘rights’ may stay with the city, once we’ve contracted to sell Nestle any amount of water, we’ve essentially given them the right to it. No matter how the contract is written, if anything goes wrong, they will sue the city until they either win or bankrupt us, continuing to pump all the while. Your paltry $20K is a drop in the bucket compared to the money they have available to spend on lawyers who argue that their right to build market share supercedes the town’s right of control.

      Perhaps you didn’t catch the story about my dad when I spoke during the town hall. He used to be grain buyer at world headquarters for Nabisco, so he knows a thing or two about the business of a large multi-national food corporation. He basically told me we are fools if we think that’s enough money to protect ourselves from someone like Nestle.

      The water they plan to extract from Oxbow Spring is nearly all of the available water during low flow periods. My ecology studies taught me that could bring on changes to the ecosystem beyond our control. Not to mention the drought the city continues to pretend isn’t happening.

      The number of trucks on I-84 is mostly irrelevant. What about the trucks that will be passing through town every 7.5 minutes, never seeing a weigh station? What about when they contract to buy water from other communities in the area? There will be even more trucks, and they will be loaded with even more water than will go into the bottles because of the waste inherent to the process. This will cause more damage to city streets that we will be stuck with the bill for.

      Please do some research beyond what Nestle tells you. Too many other communities have been destroyed when Nestle came to town. Anyone who thinks they’re going to all of a sudden become the good guy just for Cascade Locks is fooling themselves.

  2. This is an excerpt from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website. If you read this it says there would be an exchange of rights. Meaning that Nestle would need water rights. Privatizing water is a bad idea. If they were to be a customer they would have to buy their water from the city to bottle it. Giving them rights gives them free water to sell for a profit. On top of that there is no guarantee that Nestle will hire all 50 jobs from the local community. Don’t give Nestle water rights. If they want to buy water as a customer then let them do that and the money can go to the city to help the community. I’m against Nestle potentially damaging the Columbia River. Revise and try again Nestle. No water rights for you!

    “Economic Development in the Gorge:
    In January 2009, ODFW was approached by a consortium including Nestle, City of Cascade Locks and the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department regarding the possibility of allowing Nestle to use spring water from Oxbow Springs at Oxbow Hatchery to supply a
    proposed bottled water plant in Cascade Locks. ODFW agreed to review the proposal and continues to cooperate in this process.
    It is estimated this project would create 50 onsite plant jobs, 20-50 spin-off jobs (e.g. trucking will be contracted out and is not part of the plant jobs),
    and a $50 million capital investment. The wage rate reportedly would also substantially raise the standard of living in this community.
    To site this facility, a water-rights exchange would need to take place between the City of Cascade Locks and ODFW. When completed, our goal is that this exchange will benefit both ODFW and the City of Cascade Locks. ODFW continues to evaluate the proposal to assure any actions taken to assist in this economic development project would not impact the continued operation of Oxbow Hatchery or have negative impacts to fish and wildlife resources. ODFW is not responsible for paying any of the fees or costs of the proposed water exchange. If the partners move forward with the project, any infrastructure needed to affect the transfer will be provided at no cost to ODFW.”

  3. The transfer application pending with Water Resources is only to exchange water gallon for gallon between the Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife and the City of Cascade Locks. The City would then sell the water to Nestlé or any other user of spring water as a municipal customer of the public utility. There will be no expansion of water rights and Nestlé will not own water rights in Cascade Locks. ODF&W is the applicant for the exchange of .5 cfs of spring water for .5 cfs of City well water. The exchange benefits ODF&W by providing an alternative and reliable source of water for hatchery operations. The exchange benefits the City by providing spring water that can be sold to any municipal customer, providing jobs and much needed economic benefits to Cascade Locks. Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

    Chuck Daughtry
    General Manager
    Port of Cascade Locks

    • Susan Freeman says:

      As a property owner in Cascade Locks, I am appalled at the misinformation that is circulating about this project. Thank you Chuck, for keeping at and posting the checks and balances that are needed to keep people and organizations like this, on right side of the information.

      Susan Freeman

      • Sorry but you misinformed concerning the impact of bottled water. Water is the new gold rush for who controls it. Just one more resource to exploit.

  4. Ashley Holmgren says:

    I would like to know what the likely hood of Oxbow Springs not drying up is? People buy bottled water at an alarming rate and I don’t see how (even though Oregon rains a lot) our water supply can keep up with the demand of a such a huge company like Nestle. I enjoy traveling to this area and seeing its natural beauty and I am very concerned. Fish in Oregon have had a rough life because of how humans have changed nature, so I’m also very concerned about this as well. Many Oregonians love to fish, so if this did effect fish-life it would also effect all the fisherman as well.

  5. Michele Wilde says:

    Take a look at what Nestle has already done to Lake Michigan. Much of this water is sent to China for pennies in return. It is horrifying. This must be stopped at all costs! There is plenty of information about this on the internet and You Tube. Get informed!!

  6. Michele Wilde says:

    Mr. Daughtry: Thanks for giving us information. Please be careful not to be deceived by Nestle. They are attempting to get water rights for sure. I appreciate your information on the contract as it exists now, but really look deep into this. Nestle is hustling. Keep track of their previous dealings with other areas of the country. You may be shocked. Stay on top of this! Thank you.

  7. Cheri Waller says:

    Before you decide to go with Nestle, you need to do your homework. You should check out all information available on the web about Nestle, including the communities that they have harmed in the past, and the fact that the CEO of Nestle has a YouTube video out (it used to proudly be promotted on the Nestle Website) where he states that he firmly believes that they (Nestle) have an entrapenurial right to own ALL the water in the world and have whoever can afford it pay for water. And those that can’t pay for their water, well, they are out of luck. It is their goal to eventually own all the water in the world (this is in the video). Please go beyond the basic contract you have seen. If you decide to go with Nestle, hire the best attorney you can (a nationally acclaimed one who has handled many multimillian dollar companies) and cover every nook and crany of the contract for all loopholes. And do thorough research on the CEO and leadership of Nestle. If you are solely bringing in the company for jobs, get it into the contract that Nestle will hire specifically 50 people from your local area and give them tenure and full range benefits. And, have it in the contract that local people will have managerial and leadership positions at the plant. You seriously should treat this like you would in hiring an employee. Check their references: personally check with other towns and ask them how they have been treated by Nestle. Contact the towns on your own, do not rely on what Nestle sends you.

  8. Watch this video. It is a chilling summary of the attitude of the corporate world towards the rest of us. First he brags about how many people Nestle employees or benefits (4.5 million?) and then he shows a modern factory that has very few people working in it.

    These guys live in a bubble composed of equal parts arrogance and hubris, convinced that (to paraphrase a old statement) what is good for nestle is good for the world. What nonsense.

    Now, if he could convince us that he believes that the highest and best purpose of any successful business is the provide long-term, well paid jobs to the maximum number of people, and agrees to act in concert with that belief with bonded and guaranteed agreements coupled with a contract where Nestle becomes a real water customer, then it might be worth considering this operation. But otherwise- no, hell no!

  9. Brenda Harper says:

    Sorry Nestle corporation. You don’t get to buy the world’s natural resources and sell them to profit a few.

  10. I guarantee you, if we allow Nestle this opportunity, they won’t stop here. They will want more. They will never be satisfied. Like a daemon feasting on a sacrificial goat. Their bylaws require this. The stockholders demand this. Profit, not protection, it their objective. Stop them now. Before its too late. Stop them now.

  11. “their record has proven they are not a responsible neighbor to small towns ***WHOSE*** resources they wish to exploit”

    I love the cause behind the petition and will be signing it, but 2nd-grade grammar mistakes like this don’t exactly encourage authorities to take the petition seriously. Please fix this.

  12. Don’t Buy Bottled Water Period! If you do you are selling out our world’s fresh water supply. You can do it better, cheaper and have cleaner water too without the chemicals in bottled water!

  13. Tami Stewart says:


    • Its a nice idea but too many people are uninformed. Then the council and governor will eventually be in Nestle’s pocket. So what does it matter if the have more oversight than the previous deal?

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