On April 24 an administrative law judge upheld a decision by the state government of Michigan to allow Nestlé Corporation to withdraw up to 400 gallons of water per minute, an increase from 250 gallons per minute. Nestlé Corporation is fortunately not able to take advantage of this decision yet because it lacks the necessary pumping capacity.
Osceola Township in Osceola County in northern Michigan had denied Nestlé’s request for a permit to build a booster-pump building and in December of last year the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the permit.
Water is taken from three wells, including a well near the headwaters of Twin and Chippewa Creeks. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation found that in seven culverts the water level had dropped between five and 12 inches and that the water temperatures were higher than normal. The existing draw of 250 gallons per minute is not sustainable.
Nestlé pays $200 per well a year for a permit and does not otherwise pay for the water although it pays local property taxes. Nestlé has a large bottling plant near the wells and sells bottled water under the brand name “Ice Mountain.”