Victory for Community Water in India

Dear friends,

A long-fought battle to protect the water supply of Mehdiganj was won last week when Coca-Cola abandoned its newly built, expanded bottling plant near Varanasi, India.  Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Ltd., a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company, had sought to increase its groundwater use by five-fold, in spite of local communities suffering acute water shortages since the plant set up operations in 1999.

ELAW partner Amit Srivastava at the India Resource Center said:

It is absolutely reprehensible for a globally recognized company like Coca-Cola to seek further groundwater allowances from an area that has become acutely water-stressed, and that in large part due to its own mining of groundwater.

ELAW Staff Scientist Mark Chernaik worked with Amit to analyze the company’s water extraction plans for the bottling plant’s expansion.  Mark determined that if a similar proposal were submitted to U.S.  authorities, it would be rejected.

Local farmers depend on open wells, hand pumps, and bore wells,” says Mark. “The area is already at risk of prolonged drought and these community water sources dry up first.  Company plans failed to analyze how extracting 2.5 million cubic liters/day would impact the already fragile water table.

Congratulations to Amit, the Indian Resource Center, and everyone who sought justice for Mehdiganj.

For more information, see:

The Ecologist, August 27, 2014
Coca-Cola forced out of $25 million factory in India

Thank you for your interest!

All the best,

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director