Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project, sent a letter today to Governor Fernando Pimental of the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil urging him to halt all plans to sell a state-run water park. The region is famous for its mineral waters, which is reputed as the most pristine source of water in the country. Barlow wrote the letter at the behest of local activists expressing fears that the sale of the public park to a private company would lead to exploitation of their much coveted water sources by bottled water companies.
In 2014, the City of Cambuquira in Minas Gerais became a Blue Community in recognition of the local government’s commitment to defending the human right to water and protecting water as part of the commons. The Brazilian city became the first Latin American Blue Community joining 18 Canadian municipalities and a growing list of cities in Europe, which currently includes Berne and St.Gallen in Switzerland and Paris, France.
Nestlé Waters once owned a bottling plant near Cambuquira, but the community has been successful since then in stopping Nestlé from acquiring rights to extract water. They became a Blue Community in 2014 to voice their stance against the commodification of local water sources. Residents are now concerned that the privatization of public lands will grant bottled water companies like Nestlé easy access to their water.