Our Water, Our Future

Film transcript - Our Water, Our Future

They came in slowly, they came in behind the scenes. They came in and affected my government, my electeds. I hear the words coming out of their mouths, and I know its Nestle talking. And that bothers me a lot.

People didn’t speak up because the city has led everyone to believe that it’s a done deal and there’s nothing they can do about it. Which we now know is not true.

Nestle is too big for our town. They’re here to take our water, to privatise it and sell it back to us. And that’s just not right. They’re telling us things that they don’t know. They’re telling us they know that the water is not gonna run dry. And they don’t know that. Nobody knows.

They’re not listening to the people. Or looking out for the interest of the people in the community. They’re just gonna continue to bottle until there’s nothing left to bottle where they are and they’ll move on to another place.

Well what I love about living in Cascade Locks, and the Columbia River gorge ,is it is truly spectacular. It’s a treasure here.

In Oregon, there’s always been what seems an abundance of water but it’s really been changing. People really noticed last summer because the drought, but for those of us who’ve been looking at the mountain and looking at rainfall, we know it’s been happening for years, that there’s been a change of the weather pattern.

Fresh clean water is, its the new gold. It is the most precious thing on the planet. And there are water grabs happening everywhere. And Nestle right now is getting closer to doing a water deal in Cascade Locks.

The bread and butter of the county is the agriculture, and I wanna make sure that we have enough water to sustain the existing orchards and farms in our county. That would be a disaster, I think, for our local economy.

The truck traffic would be going through our downtown at approximately one every four minutes. These are large 20,000 pound trucks. They are going to have to go right through our downtown. It’ll affect our tourism. It’ll affect our merchants. It’s going to affect our roads. That’s a lot of truck traffic.

Living in this town, talking to the Native Americans, what’s at stake for them, their culture, their economy, their spiritual practices, are really rooted in water.

In a bigger way, all the water is sacred to the native people. This particular spring though, those are healing waters, so in that way, you know, this is sacred. We’re supposed to protect it.

A transfer of water rights, there’s no way around it. It violates our treaty. To sell that water, to sell Oxbo Spring, is intrinsically a violation of our spiritual practices.

When I heard that any large company was going to come and bottle our water, I had a visceral response to this. It was almost like a calling. You need to do something. Now.

All of a sudden, there was just like this tidal change, where people started realising and Pamela’s the one who got us all together. We were all against Nestle but we didn’t have any plan against Nestle.

We had our first meeting, um, you know less than a year ago and it was all Cascade Locks citizens, and myself from Hood River, and everyone started talking and the first meeting was so joyous because people were, I think, thrilled to see they weren’t alone. And so we, ah, became the local water alliance.

I am the campaign director for the local water alliance, and we have sponsored a ballot measure, for our county, for Hood River county, to essentially prohibit large scale commercial bottling, um, in not only Cascade Locks but also in our entire county.

I think the ballot measure itself is a wonderful thing. There’s two parts of it: one is that you cannot bottle more than a 1,000 gallons a day, in Hood River county, and the other part is that you are not allowed to export whatever water you do bottle out of Hood River county.

The yes vote for this ballot measure to protect our water, that would also be a yes vote to save the indigenous people of this river right here. That’s what that vote would do.

In a year’s time, we went from nothing to people that got organised and became a coalition of groups saying no we need to protect our water and so its really the citizens because none of us are professional anything, we’re all just citizens that have jobs and have lives and have families. Coming together to say no we need to protect our natural resources.

We’re motivated from our love, from our hearts, so it’s a different kind of a sacrifice then, when you’re working with, you know, what you love and protecting what you love.

I hope that with this campaign we can hopefully get people to really be more thoughtful about their own habits and to essentially not drink bottled water, you know, from these cheap plastic bottles. To be more thoughtful in their habits and drink more tap.

If a company like this comes to your town, you need to start talking to your neighbours, you need to start talking to your friends, you need to start going to the city council meetings, you need to start getting people aware of what this really means for your town. What the implications are. Look at the long term situation.

I won’t say if, I’ll say when, our ballot initiative passes. It would make it illegal for Nestle or any other large scale water bottling company to do set up shop.