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Environmentalists concerned over Nestle Water's Phoenix bottling facility

Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-07 17:51:07-04

Nestle Water’s new facility in south Phoenix is expected to create dozens of jobs, but it is stirring up some controversy along the way.
The Nestle Water bottling plant off of 43rd Avenue and Buckeye plans on bottling 35 million gallons of treated tap water from the City of Phoenix. The plastic and water consumption has environmentalists wondering if it's worth the jobs the plant would create.
When it hits full capacity, the Nestle bottling facility will employ around 40 people, but to Sandy Bahr with the Sierra Club, this is the type of industry Arizona should be staying away from.
“We need to be focused on a sustainable economy and a sustainable economy in the Sonoran Desert is one that needs to be focused on less intensive water use,” said Bahr.
According to Alix Dunn with Nestlé Waters, this facility is about being more sustainable. Issuing a statement saying in part:
“Arizona ranks in the top five states for annual bottled water consumption. Bottling water locally decreases the carbon emission footprint of shipping water. In addition, we are able to contribute to Arizona's economy by basing our bottling facilities in the state.” 
The City of Phoenix plans on supplying nestle with the 35-million gallons from the Salt and Verde Rivers, a supply that the City currently only uses half of.
Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, says there are businesses already here in the Valley, like soda and data storage companies, which use more water than the Nestle facility will and there is no policy on how they can use the water they pay for.
“If we want to start worrying about how much water different businesses use than I think we shouldn't be selective, we should be much more methodical about it,” said Porter.
Nestle will be paying the same rate for water that other businesses and residents pay. 
Production for Nestle’s ReadyRefresh brand will start in the next few months while bottling for the Pure Life brand will begin in 2019.