India's War Over Water — and Soft DrinksIssue 03-20-17 |
Water shortages and water quality have become critical issues in several regions of India — and are now also becoming political issues. Several years of low rainfall have contributed to low levels of water in many rivers and reserviors. This, when combined with population growth and use of water in industrial settings, has led to battles over water rights between farmers, individuals, municipalities, and business interests.
Caught in the crossfire are Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which require large quantities of water for their beverages. Although residents require purified water for drinking (even in the form of soft drinks), the idea of foreign multionationals making a profit through their use of a scarce and vital natural resource has many citizens and farmers upset. Bowing to political pressure (and political correctness), shopkeepers in several regions have decided to pull Coke and Pepsi products off their shelves. While the companies assert they are complying with all applicable laws and contracts, they have a tough time arguing that their use of water in soft drinks should take precedence over farmers use of water for irrigating rice and wheat fields.