Press Release: New Short Film Released on World Water Day Exposes Nestlé’s Attempt to Privatize Water in Drought-Stricken Oregon

In the wake of the Flint, Michigan public water crisis,
the Hood River County citizen-initiative highlights the need to protect community access to safe drinking water


CONTACT: Michael O’Heaney | 510.684.6417 |
Aurora Del Val | 971.678.4748 |
Julia DeGraw | 971.266.4528 |

PORTLAND – The Story of Stuff Project, Food & Water Watch, and the Local Water Alliance today released a short documentary film about Nestlé Waters’ efforts to secure the right to bottle water taken from a public source in Cascade Locks, Oregon. The film is being released on World Water Day, March 22nd, an annual United Nations event aimed at focusing attention on the need to sustainably manage freshwater resources.

The seven-minute film, Our Water, Our Future, profiles efforts by Hood River County, Oregon residents to reject Nestlé’s water grab, including their ongoing drive to pass a county ballot measure to stop the proposal. Residents say that Nestlé’s project will strain the local ecosystem during a multiyear drought, threaten the stability of the local agricultural economy, and violate Native American water rights protected by treaty.

Watch the film that tells the story of a local community’s fight against a global water giant:

Citizens of Hood River County founded the Local Water Alliance in 2015 and filed a ballot measure that would amend Hood River County’s Charter to prohibit large scale commercial water bottling in Hood River County. Citizens will vote on the ballot measure on May 17th of this year. Nestlé is expected to vigorously fight against the initiative.

“The Water Protection Ballot Measure is the first of its kind, and leads the way in showing communities across the nation that we all have the power to protect our water from multinational water bottlers,” said Aurora del Val, Director of the Local Water Alliance. “In an era of growing water shortages and droughts, trucking water out of our communities in millions of plastic bottles just doesn’t make sense. Water for our families, farms and local environment should be our top priority, and the Water Protection Measure gives citizens a voice in deciding the best uses for our community water.” 

The conflict in Hood River County over water is the most recent in a series of fights between Nestlé Watersthe world’s largest water bottlerand local municipalities.

In Mecosta County, Michigan, residents have been locked in a decade-long legal battle with Nestlé to protect public access to water. In Fryeburg, Maine, citizens have faced multiple legal challenges from Nestlé Waters in response to the town’s rejection of a Nestlé facility.  

More recently, Nestlé came under fire last year for bottling millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest in California under a permit that expired 28 years ago. Californians were outraged to learn Nestlé doesn’t pay for the water. It only pays $524 a year for the permitless than than the average California homeowners’ annual water bill. The Story of Stuff Project has a lawsuit pending against the Forest Service demanding it turn off the spigot on Nestlé’s operation until a proper environmental review has been conducted

“Nestlé has a long history of bullying communities to gain access to water. We won’t let the people and environment of Cascade Locks be the next victim of their corporate strongarming,” said Michael O’Heaney, Executive Director for the Story of Stuff Project, which along with several other national organizations, including Food & Water Watch, is supporting the local activist efforts.  

“The public water crisis in Flint, Michigan is a bellwether for the rest of the country on what can happen when precious public water resources are privatized. When water management decisions are based on generating profit instead of protecting public and environmental health, the average citizen and the ecosystem pay the greatest price,” said Julia DeGraw, Northwest Organizer for Food & Water Watch.

Find out more about Hood River County residents’ campaign against Nestlé at For information on the benefits of publicly owned water systems, read Food and Water Watch’s recent, comprehensive report The State of Public Water in the United States.

To interview Local Hood River County residents, please contact Aurora Del Val at 971.678.4748 or

To obtain images to accompany an article, please contact Michael O’Heaney | 510.684.6417 |


The Story of Stuff Project is a non-profit organization that facilitates an global online Community of more than 1 million members working to transform the way we make, use and throw away Stuff:

Food and Water Watch is a national non-profit organization that champions healthy food and clean water for all:

Local Water Alliance is made of up of Hood River County residents working to protect their local water supply from bottled water operations: