ou’ve probably heard the news. Recently, Nestlé Waters announced its plan to spend $35 million to build a water bottling plant in Phoenix. At best, citizens are in awe of Nestlé’s gall to build a water bottling plant amid a 21-year-old drought; most are worried about the company’s effect on the city water supply. Representatives at Phoenix Water Services and the Kyl Center for Water Policy, however, seem to be unfazed. So how do we react—with worry, or with excitement for new Phoenix jobs?
Despite our initial fears, things are looking up.
Sarah Porter at the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute says to ABC15 that Nestlé’s plan is “not really as crazy as it seems.” She points out that if the plant were, say, a soda plant or a brewery, nearby citizens would be celebrating. Coincidentally, both of those alternatives use far more water than Nestlé’s plant ever will. But if people want to be concerned about something, Porter says to worry about the way Nestlé’s Pure Life® plastic bottles will clog landfills once they’re disposed of. Of course, reusable water bottles are available to those who want to help protect the environment.
Kathryn Sorensen at Phoenix Water Services says she understands the concern, but the consequences of building another bottling plant are smaller than people think (Phoenix already has three). Nestlé’s plant will use less than 0.01 percent of the city’s supply—or less than one tenth of a percent. Plus, as Sorensen puts it, Phoenix is built to survive tough droughts. “If there’s one thing Phoenix knows, it’s how to manage our water resources wisely,” she says to NBC 12News. Others say it’s the city’s job to prevent the drought from getting worse.
Nestlé’s water bottling plant will create 40 to 50 “well-paying” immediate jobs, according to Christine MacKay, Director of City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development, when she spoke to Fox 10. The plant will also create a domino effect resulting in perhaps hundreds of other positions, including equipment maintenance, water testing, safety assurance, and more. Though the plant could become a major eye sore for those living in west Phoenix, it could positively affect the economy around it.
Of course, it may be frustrating for Phoenix to hear over the years that they should conserve water, only to watch another bottling plant pop up next door. But according to the right people, Nestlé’s plant will only use a drop from the city’s water bucket. From there, it’s about weighing the pros and cons.