Stay thirsty



Last December at a Sacramento concert, a fan hurled a bottle of water at teenage pop star Justin Bieber and tagged him square in the head. Around this time, Nestlé Waters North America also surprised locals by unexpectedly—that is, without public or environmental review—opening a bottling plant in south Sacramento (see “Tapped out and boxed up” by Cosmo Garvin; SN&R Bites; October 22, 2009). The Swiss company expects to draw off 82 million gallons of American River water annually.

Last Thursday, the flow of things changed: Officials, private interests and local advocates gathered at City Hall, where a committee recommended that Sacramento enact use permits for large water consumers in the future.

This decision won’t impact Nestlé, however, as the large bottling operation is in line with the city of Sacramento’s business objectives. In support of the project, the city says Nestlé “is consistent with the goal of the city’s general plan to provide opportunities for expansion and development of business.” In official documents, the city also says the bottling facility has “no potential effect on the environment.”

But with water becoming an increasingly valuable commodity, it’s uncertain as to whether this view will change.

In response to the Nestlé facility taking root in his district, City Councilman Kevin McCarty has proposed an amendment to city code that would require more oversight of bottling operations in Sacramento—including environmental review of such projects. McCarty also has proposed tiered water rates, with commercial bottlers such as Nestlé paying more. And the Law and Legislation Committee, which agreed last week to approve the establishment of a working group to assess the need for permits for large water users, reaffirmed McCarty’s stance.

Meanwhile, a July report from the Natural Resources Defense Council said California, especially Sacramento County, is one of 14 states expected to have high or severe water shortages by 2050. (Hugh Biggar)

Every gift begins with K.J.

You probably aren’t invited, but this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to buying Mayor Kevin Johnson and fiancée Michelle Rhee a gift for their September 4 nuptials. He is the mayor; show some love.

SN&R also isn’t on the guest list, but we did uncover Johnson and Rhee’s wedding registry at Macy’s (, just in case anyone wants to send a token of appreciation to City Hall.

Just don’t buy cookware. The mayor’s already receiving a 12-inch Calphalon Simply Nonstick pan and a matching 11-inch square griddle. Do I smell Sunday morning pancakes? Mmm.

The least-expensive item on the mayor’s registry is the Hotel Collection MicroCotton washcloth, on sale for $6.99. The priciest? That’s the Tumi Alpha FXT expandable wheeled upright luggage, at $995.00 for one piece. Long-distance marriages are tough, though, so this gift will surely get regular use.

Other options that the lucky couple are registered for: two chip-and-dip sets, a crockpot and a signature bread knife. Although you were snubbed for the wedding, who knows: Maybe some day you’ll be invited over for dinner. (Nick Miller)