If you are going to write our Commissioners it is not helpful to discuss the wastefulness of bottled water. The County is reviewing two separate applications from Nestle: 1. Special Land Use Permit and 2: 1041 Permit. Both of these ask the applicant to meet certain criteria that pertain to local impacts. So things like wetland impacts, ground water hydrology, impacts to wildlife, jobs and economy, traffic,etc. Railing against Nestle's actions elsewhere or bottled water in general might feel good but it won't get this application denied.
If you want to read all the material that has been prepared on this application the best place to go is the Salida Citizen. Here
is a good place to start.
A couple of key facts to understand that NEK already pointed out. The pumping rate is equivalent to .3CFS at the Nathrop gauge which Nestle is required by law to replace with 100% consumable water from Aurora. The annual pumping is 200 acre feet which is equal to 1%-3% of the annual recharge rate of the aquifer. Despite a lot of noise around here to the contrary no outside consultant has disputed any of Nestle's claims on any of the substance of this proposal.
Bottled water sucks. There is no way around that. But I tend to agree with NEK, the biggest threat to water in this County is not this bottled water proposal, it is Front Range growth. For example when Aurora bought the Rocky Ford ditch a few years ago that allowed them to exchange up to about 15,000 acre feet annually at the Otero Pump Station. That is a net loss for the Upper Arkansas River Valley. In other words on years where they are exchanging their full water right that much less water flows under the F Street Bridge. They can exchange up to 1000cfs off the peak of the Ark. Now, there are agreements in place that forbid them from taking the flow down that much but they have that potential.
Most water right cases in the Upper Arkansas River Valley fly under the radar like the recent acquisition of the Hill Ranch by Pueblo West
(1900 acre feet) and also don't have the perfect storm of Nestle buying water for wasteful bottled water which raises the hair on the back of people's necks. At the end of the day I am much more concerned about what ideas will be floated in the future about taking agricultural water from our valley for municipal use. If the Southern Delivery System ever happens the Upper Ark will probably have the flows we are all used to protected and maybe even enhanced, but every time a ranch goes fallow around here it impacts the local ecology that all that irrigation contributes to.