The Evart Water Taking hinges upon what is reasonable use. There was considerable debate prior to initiation of these water takings from PW-101 that 150 gallons a minute was not sustainable.
Today after more than a dozen years Nestle is seeking to increase the 250 gallons a minute they are presently taking to 400 gallons a minute.
The DEQ says that the permit increase to 250 a minute from 150 a minute occurred in 2015 without public comment and no effort on the part of the DEQ to inform the people of Michigan and in particular Evart.
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation believes the water takings in Evart by and for Nestle have in fact produced environmental damage on both Twin and Chippewa Creeks. MCWC also feels that these Nestle water takings have in fact reduced and changed the species inventories on both creeks.
We call for a moratorium beginning immediately to provide for a period of rejuvenation for both creeks. We also call for a species inventory to be conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department to document the present conditions on both creeks. This species inventory needs to be conducted in the summer, hopefully in 2017.
Without a species inventory it will be difficult to plan and perform the water takings mitigation efforts clearly required to return these streams to their prior vitality. The water takings by Nestle were always dependent upon no environmental harm being done by them. After more than 4 billion gallons of spring water taken for Nestle in Evart, that is clearly not the case.
Further, Nestle is not the only bottled water company in the world, just the largest. The people of the State of Michigan need to determine whether to permit water takings and how to permit them without creating environmental harm. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is against water takings for commercial resale until such time as the laws of Michigan insure that water takings do no environmental harm rather than allow environmental harm to occur and provide for compensation and restoration efforts, as is presently the case. WE are also opposed to the diversion of public trust waters outside the Great Lakes Basin and its conversion to a commodity sold at great profit to an international corporation. Nestle will pay next to nothing for this water while the people of Detroit and Flint face shut-offs for inability to pay their high water bills, and Flint is dependent on water brought in from elsewhere.
Our present system permits environmental harm to occur and then provides for damages and mitigation. The ruination of a first class brook trout stream like Chippewa Creek is difficult to mitigate and difficult to prove. Nestle will no doubt say their 4 billion gallons had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that there are no more brook trout in Chippewa Creek. The real question is whether the State of Michigan will listen to Nestle or care about the loss of brook trout in a small stream, diversion from an aquifer in Osceola County, and reduced flow into the Muskegon River and the Great Lakes. And will the State of Michigan listen to the will of the people to protect our waters for all living things?