In 2005, the then-CEO of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, said that water as a public right is “extreme” for a 2005 documentary called “We Feed the World.”
“Water is, of course, the most important raw material we have today in the world. It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter. The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution. The other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value. Personally, I believe it’s better to give a foodstuff a value so that we’re all aware it has its price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water, and there are many different possibilities there.”
Nestlé has its own long history of siphoning water resources from communities, even those experiencing droughts, then selling it right back to them at an inflated price.
Mayor Leoncio Martínez of Zaragoza, Mexico, says there is a severe shortage of water affecting the community. This article from the Guardian details the dire situation:
“WE HAVE NO WATER FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION,” Mayor Leoncio Martínez Sánchez of the municipality of Zaragoza, wrote in single-sentence letter to Coahuila state governor Rubén Moreira.
Zaragoza is currently suffering through water shortages so severe “there’s barely a drop of water when you open the tap”, Martínez told the Guardian.
The cause? A brewery run by Constellation Brands in nearby Nava that makes beer such as Corona and Modelo. The brewery then exports its beer to the U.S.
Martínez says the deep wells supplying the brewery are located approximately 20 kilometres from the municipal seat and have caused water supply problems in Zaragoza since being drilled a decade ago.
“[The government] gave them this land and these wells on a silver platter,” he said.
This is a widespread issue also affecting all of Mexicali and its surrounding regions. Community members and groups such as Mexicali Resiste have been calling on consumers to help defend local water sources and boycott Constellation Brands products.
Needless to say, I won’t be buying anything from Constellation Brands for the time being. Water is a human right, and corporate interests should never be prioritized over human rights. #BoycottConstellationBrands.