Nestle Turns Arkansas River Water Into the Arrowhead Brand

July 28 2010, 11:39 AM

Many Chaffee County residents probably wish Nestle was being held to the same standards as Christo and the late Jean Claude, the internationally renowned artists who plan to lay fabric panels along a 42.4 mile stretch of the Arkansas River. While the "Over the River" proposal remains bogged in the arduous federal environmental review process (via The New York Times), Nestle's plan to pump millions of gallons of water from springs next to the Arkansas River in southern Colorado and bottle it up under the Arrowhead Springs label in Denver has received a green light. Nestle has been working with officials---specifically, Chaffee County commissioners---for years on a process, which included fending off critics, negotiation with the city of Aurora over water rights, and constructing a pumping station near Buena Vista, according to The Colorado Independent. Nestle has the rights to pump 65 million gallons of water each year, a relatively small amount. But local environmentalists like John Graham point to many factors, including pollution from the transportation of water, which many in the region receive right from their spigots for a fraction of the cost of an Arrowhead bottle. As for the "Over the River" proposal, a Bureau of Land Management study has revealed the exhibit would bring in significant tourism dollars for cities and towns in the region, including Pueblo, Salida, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, and others, writes the Chieftain.