Hood River’s recently passed ballot measure to prevent a water bottling operation is a first for the United States. If approved the measure will prohibit any type of bottled water production or transportation taking place within the county. An important precedent will be set for other communities faced with a similar issue.
For the past 7 years, Nestle has been trying to acquire the rights to a state owned spring located near Cascade Locks in the Columbia Gorge. The water is also used by a salmon hatchery in the area. The city council passed a resolution to support the bid in the belief that the Nestle operation would encourage economic development and jobs. This comes at a cost though, with drought becoming a more pervasive problem throughout Oregon, as well as the influx of commercial traffic that such an operation would bring about. These sorts of agreements also inevitably mean that companies like Nestle get the resource for free, in this case the local communities’ water.
Hood River presents another example of a community fighting the battle over its rights to water.