Just 120 miles from Flint, Michigan, a city reeling from an ongoing two-year water crisis, Nestle is set to acquire 100 million gallons of drinking water — for just US$200.
In Evart, Michigan the water-guzzling behemoth is in the process of negotiating a permit with the state to increase pumping operations to 210 million gallons of water per year. The groundwater to be pumped is used by residents for drinking and bathing, and is valued at over US$200 billion — but Nestle will only have to pay US$200.
These negotiations come as Flint, a city with a public health crisis due to lead-contaminated drinking water, and which still has no clean drinking water, continues to wait for help.
"Psychologically, it's devastating to our citizens," Francis Gilcreast, president of the NAACP's Flint branch, told the Detroit News Monday. "For our government to have done this and then turned its back on our citizens — there is no way that three years into this we should still be suffering with this."
Nestle already pumps a little over 100 million gallons of water each year from Evart. But under the new proposed agreement, Nestle would suddenly be pumping 400 gallons of water per minute out of Evart, which righteously has many residents of the town infuriated.
“Why on earth would the state of Michigan, given our lack of money to address water matters of our own, like Flint, even consider giving more water for little or no cost to a foreign corporation with annual profits in the billions?” one local resident told The Guardian.
Elsewhere in the state, Nestle operates a water bottling plant. The Stanwood, Michigan facility is in the midst of a US$36 million expansion.