Republic: Nestle Waters to open Phoenix bottling plant

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Arizona Republic reported that the world's largest water bottler intends to open a bottling plant in Phoenix. Nestle Waters will revamp a west warehouse to treat city water and sell Pure Life brand bottles, city and company officials said.

Water experts at Arizona State University have mixed feelings about the bottling plant.

Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute director Sarah Porter attended Wednesday's state briefing on the need for all Arizonans to share the pain of a Colorado River shortage. That afternoon she learned of the Nestle plan.

"It's inconsistent with that message," she said, "to be thinking we have plenty of extra water so we're going to permit a water-bottling company. It's not consistent with the spirit of, 'Let's share in the shortage.'"

It also challenges city residents to consider why they should rip out their lawns and save water for the future, if they don't want their water savings sold in bottles.

But, Porter said, if it's manufacturing that Phoenix wants, it's going to take water to make just about anything.

"What difference does it make if they bottle water or Dr Pepper or they're a data center?" she said. "But if we have a limited amount of water — which we do — we should look at the benefits rather than first-come, first-served."

The plant, on 43rd Avenue south of Buckeye Road, was built in 2013 but never occupied. Nestle will invest $35 million in it and employ dozens by next year, the company says, as area demand for bottled water has grown following a nationwide upward trend.

READ: What drought? Nestle plans $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix