Cascade Locks, Oregon is heaven on earth—a small town nestled in the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge. But when Nestlé came to town with a proposal to bottle their water, citizens launched an all-out effort to protect their most precious resource – and won.
How Cascade Locks beat Nestlé
In 2016, dedicated community members in the small town of Cascade Locks championed a successful ballot measure to ban commercial water bottling in their county. We partnered with Local Water Alliance to tell the David and Goliath story of small town organizing that took on a multinational corporation and won. Watch Our Water, Our Future to learn more.
This community responded to the threat of losing their cherished local spring to the water bottling giant Nestlé with a hard and dedicated fight. Hood River County voters approved a ban on commercial water bottling, blocking a $50 million bottling plant Nestlé hoped to build in the Columbia River Gorge. Sixty-nine percent of county voted to approve a measure that restricts the production and transportation of bottled water to less than 1,000 gallons a day from any Hood River County water source, effectively blocking Nestlé’s plans to build a plant in Cascade Locks that would bottle more than 100 million gallons of water a year.
Despite the clear message sent by this community and Nestlé’s claim to respect the democratic process, the company continued to look for loopholes and to push forward with plans to open the plant. In late 2017, Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, stepped up to defend the voices and the votes of this community. In a letter, the governor directed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to stop an exchange of water rights that would have been crucial for the plant to move forward, ending Nestlé’s plans for good. The citizens of Cascade Locks stood up to one of the largest corporations on earth – and won!
Watch “Our Water, Our Future,” our short documentary about the fight in Cascade Locks: