Water For Profit

The fight for water continues as protestors have been going against Constellation Brands, as they are undergoing a $1.5 billion plan to open up a facility and use the resources in the area to manufacture products meant for an American market.

As apples and oranges as this things are, it reminds me of the issue of Standing Rock. There seems to be a commonality between marginalizing people to further exploit resources in the name of corporate profit. Let us recall a subject that used to get much media attention- the Datoka Acess Pipeline. The main dispute with this was the lack of concern and consideration for Native American reservations and their sacred land. The treatment of the protesters was handled just as harshly as they were arrested, pepper sprayed, trampled, and even dealt with canines. In American history especially there is a history of exploitation and oppression of Indigenous peoples for their labor and resources. Corporations are often put before the needs and concerns of the people.

This continues to Mexicali, a city in Mexico’s state of Baja California. It’s right on the border of the United States and Mexico. For these protestors, they are looking to fight the Constellation Brands corporation as it threatens their water supply. NPR writes, “The company has set up offices in the city, and is working with the local government to build a $1.5 billion brewery that will use local water to make beer for American consumers. While not a drop of the beer would go to the Mexican market, Constellation Brands says the brewery will create 750 permanent jobs in Mexicali.” For some people, these jobs aren’t enough for them to be on board with this plan. Especially as “The National Water Commission (Conagua) has reported that 37.5 percent of Mexico’s aquifers are overexploited, with Mexicali’s suffering most. This has led local farmers to stop producing on large sections of land.” If you ask me, the numbers don’t lie. With such a blatant lack of water and struggle to get such a simple resource, it begs to question why the company even sought to set up shop in Mexicali in the first place. For the most obvious reason, the close proximity to the border is a plus. However, when none of the actual consumption is aimed at Mexico, it further disarms Constellation Brands’s argument. There is such a history of companies out-sourcing, profiting hugely on the cheap labor, and then going back overseas to sell their products. Although there are ways to make products ethically and with consideration but this often takes away from the profits a company may be able to gain. So let us ponder this then, will corporate privatization and profiting ever decrease their exploitation of marginalized people?

You could read more about these in NPR’s article, As Big Beer Moves In, Activists in Mexicali Fight To Keep Their Water.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Yep, here’s another battle for water is life. Your classmate Ariana also wrote a similar blog post about this. The other aspect to consider related to this is that the northern part of Mexico is extremely dry, a desert. Water is precious there, and you can see how overuse and privatization will lead to environmental and social problems. This especially affects Indigenous folks in northern Mexico.

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