Nestle wins approval to tap Colorado ground water
The world’s largest beverage company has won approval from officials in Colorado to extract and bottle spring water from the mountains of south central Colorado.
Nestle Waters North America may draw 65 million gallons of water a year from a spring in Chaffee County to sell under its Arrowhead brand, county commissioners decided Wednesday.
The proposal elicited fierce opposition from many residents, who feared the company would deplete the local aquifer and that its trucks hauling the water to Denver would snarl traffic on mountain roads. Others supported the project, saying it could spur economic development in the rural area.
In a concession, Nestle agreed to draw water from one, not two, springs and to place conservation easements on its land and allow access on its property to anglers, county development director Don Reimer said. Commissioners also required that the company restrict its truck traffic during the busy summer months.
The conflict is the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle against the bottled water industry, which has enjoyed strong growth over the last decade because of popularity among consumers who eschew tap water and soft drinks. As companies such as Nestle, which operates 50 spring sites across the country, seek to acquire new water sources, communities have increasingly resisted.
-- DeeDee Correll
Photo: The Arkansas River flows through Salida, Colo. Nestle plans to draw spring water from aquifers along the river. Credit: Andy Cross / Denver Post