Nestlé is making waves in Michigan as it applies to draw 60% more water from a single well it owns without paying any more money.
The Swiss company pays $200 annually for a permit to pump water from its own wells, including its well outside of Evart, Michigan, from which it already pumps 130 million gallons of water each year.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will decide upon Nestlé’s application to increase the amount it takes, but opposition is rising in the meantime, the New York Times reports.
With multiple plants in the U.S. and the current success of bottled water on the market, Nestlé Waters North America is a major part of Nestlé’s business — it created more than $4.5 billion in U.S. and Canada sales during Fiscal Year 2016, according to Nestlé’s annual report.
Nestlé uses nine wells to bottle 4.8 million waters each day at a plant south of Evart, the Times reports.
“Having anybody take away some of the very best water that should be going into the creeks and the Muskegon River and eventually Lake Michigan, that’s a big deal,” Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, told the Times. “That Nestlé does it for free? That’s just crazy.”
Residents and companies in the U.S. do not have to pay for water by volume if they extract it themselves, the Times reports.