Coca-Cola to Temporarily Cease Taking Groundwater in Perth Hills After Minister Intervenes
by Emma Wynne
ABC Radio Perth
May 31, 2024

Perth, Australia: WA Water Minister Simone McGurk has announced Coca-Cola will voluntarily cease extracting water for bottling from a bore in the Perth hills, to allow for the aquifer replenishment.

The minister told Nadia Mitsopoulos on ABC Radio Perth the agreement with Coca Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) to temporarily suspend taking groundwater from the bore in Karragullen came after "robust discussions" with the company.

The extraction of WA groundwater, legally and free of charge, by water bottling companies has been a topic of intense debate since the ABC revealed the practice several weeks ago.

"For the time being, Coca-Cola has agreed to suspend taking of water from Karragullen on the basis that we are coming off a particularly dry season," Ms McGurk said.

"Even they acknowledge that it is starting to have an impact on their monitoring of their particular extraction area."

In a statement, a CCEP spokesperson said the company's "independent sustainability review" had showed their operations had had no impact on neighbouring properties, but it was pausing its operations in light of WA's record dry spell.

"Based on current and predicted rainfall, measured water table levels compared to historical fluctuations and our sustainable water management framework, we are voluntarily ceasing water extraction at Karragullen until we see the aquifer replenishment return to an appropriate level," the spokesperson said.

One nearby resident told the ABC he had to start trucking in water for his household supply after his own bore stopped replenishing sufficiently overnight.

Ms McGurk said it was difficult to tell what, if any, impact the CCEP extraction was having in Karragullen, due to the nature of the environment.

"That's the challenge for us," she said.

"It's got fractured rock, so it is quite difficult to tell when one company or user is taking water, what impact it has on other areas of the water nearby and other people extracting.

"But Coca-Cola has been doing its own monitoring, and has started to supply some of that data to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

"And they do admit that they're starting to see an impact because everyone knows this summer was a particularly hot and dry summer."

Minister flags greater monitoring and public disclosure

The minister has also announced plans increase independent monitoring and to make data available to the public online showing how much water is extracted by bottled water operators in local government areas.

"Hopefully by the end of June, we will have some interactive maps where we'll have local government areas where there are bottled water companies extracting water," she said.

"We'll be able to see how many companies are taking water and the total water take being taken out in real time for people.

"They'll be able to see how much water is being taken out by those companies."

The maps will not show each individual companies water take but be aggregated by local government area.

She said there would be independent assessment of the metering data companies provide.

"It will be aggregated and that will give those companies a bit of comfort that they're not sharing all of their own information, but it will be verified and I think that's important.

"The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will be able to verify that information, so we won't be taking it at the company's word, it will be verified before it goes up."

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