August 7, 2008

Corporate Accountability International, Food & Water Watch and Council of Canadians Endorse Global Water Crisis Film “FLOW”

Today, several leading United States and Canada-based advocacy groups have joined forces to support the highly anticipated U.S. theatrical release of FLOW ( by Oscilloscope Pictures, a distribution company founded by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. The announcement was timed to coincide with Nestle Company's (VTX: NESN) plan to release its half-year results today and follows headlines detailing recent setbacks for Nestle Waters' original contract with McCloud, California to build a one million square foot bottling facility. The coalition includes several organizations such as Food & Water Watch, Corporate Accountability International and the Council of Canadians.

FLOW investigates the bottled water business - along with pollution, privatization, scarcity and other issues - as facets of a global water crisis that has the filmmaker urging an election year focus.

"It's wonderful that city governments and universities are starting to reject bottled water," said Irena Salina, the director of FLOW. "We hope and trust that Obama and McCain will begin to address this crisis in the political debate. We also applaud the recent actions taken by Attorney General Jerry Brown, McCloud residents and conservationists in the state of California to protect their communities."

Given the fact that Nestle controls 32 percent of the U.S. bottled water market, mostly through subsidiaries such as Poland Springs and Arrowhead, the film illuminates why many people have spent billions unnecessarily purchasing water. Additionally, the film sheds light on the magnitude of corporate interest in community water resources across the country as similar Nestle bottled water plant proposals in Kennebec, Maine and Enumclaw, Washington have failed in recent weeks.

"Tap water is just as safe and healthy as bottled water and is a far more cost-effective choice than water packed in plastic," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "Just one percent of consumers' expenditure on bottled water would pay for their tap water."

Water is a $425 billion a year industry and the bottled water market in North America alone is already $15 billion a year and growing. The 50 billion plastic bottles of water that are sold in the U.S. each year require 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil, and 1.6 billion megajoules of energy to produce.

"Charging more for a 20-ounce bottle of water than oil companies charge for 20 ounces of gas is simply indefensible," said Gigi Kellett, director of Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "Families can save over $100 per month just by using the tap."

The coalition has also been critical of the recently U.S. Senate-approved Great Lakes Compact, an agreement between eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes Basin. The Compact takes steps to protect water resources in the Great Lakes, but contains a troublesome loophole that allows the bottled water industry to avoid restrictions on water diversions, which could in turn open the door to larger diversions and undermine protection of the Lakes.

"The passage of the Great Lakes Compact would be a gift to the bottled water industry and is tantamount to backdoor privatization," warns Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. "The high price tag on bottled water isn't just monetary. Commodification erodes the right to water while exploiting consumers."


Corporate Accountability International is a membership organization that protects people by waging and winning campaigns challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. For 30 years, the organization has forced corporations--like Nestle, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria--to stop abusive actions. Corporate Accountability International, an NGO in Official Relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), played a key role in development of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Think Outside the Bottle campaign is a Corporate Accountability International initiative that challenges the abuses of the bottled water industry and builds support for strong public water systems. Visit


Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink. Food & Water Watch works with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future. Through research, public and policymaker education, media, and lobbying, we advocate policies that guarantee safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner and public, rather than private, control of water resources including oceans, rivers, and groundwater. Visit


The Council of Canadians is Canada's largest citizens' advocacy organization working to safeguard social security, promote economic justice, renew democracy, advocate alternatives to corporate-style free trade, and preserve our environment. In Canada, we fight to protect our universal social programs, safeguard our water and energy resources from corporate control, and promote a peacekeeping role for our armed forces. Internationally, we fight for a more just and equitable trade and economic system. Through the Blue Planet Project, we work to oppose the private take-over of the world's water resources and for the universal right to water. Visit: