Water Win for Coca-Cola - Residents Slam Court
Mark Nolan
Daily Telegraph
October 4, 2005

Mangrove Mountain residents have accused the Land and Environment Court of giving up crucial water supplies for corporate profit after they lost their David-and-Goliath battle against Coca-Cola.

Residents are furious the court approved the drinks giant's plans to nearly triple the amount of water it extracts from Peats Ridge Springs.

Commissioner Tim Moore has been accused of ignoring decades of research into ground water and vegetation by residents in favour of computer-generated data produced by paid consultants who do not know the area.

Extraction will be increased from 25 million litres to 66 million litres of ground water per year, with 24-hour-a-day operation except on Sundays.

The only relief residents were able to get from the court was that the increased water extraction was approved on a two-year trial basis.

The approval came despite Coca-Cola admitting there was no way it could predict the full impact of increased extraction on ground water.

Residents led by the Azzopardi family, whose property is next door to the Peats Ridge water-bottling plant, took over the fight against the expansion after Gosford council backed down.

Mangrove Mountains District Community Group secretary Margaret Pontifex said a distinct loss of vegetation in the area proved water supplies were diminishing.

"I used to think the Land and Environment Court was for the community and the environment, but don't you believe it," she said. "It is for big bucks and big business."

Victor and Jane Azzopardi estimated their legal expenses at more than $20,000.

Mrs Azzopardi said her family relied on the water supply to irrigate their vegetable crops.

"It is very disheartening," she said, adding that a further legal challenge was being considered.

Coca-Cola group corporate affairs manager Alec Wagstaff said the company wanted to increase production "almost immediately", pending any other legal challenges.

"It [the court] found comprehensively there was no link between this extraction and the local water supply," Mr Wagstaff added.

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.




Home | About | How to Use this Site | Sitemap | Privacy Policy

India Resource Center (IRC) is a project of Global Resistance -- "Building Global Links for Justice"
URL: http://www.IndiaResource.org Email:IndiaResource (AT) igc.org