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Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc.

709 N.W.2d 174 (Mich. Ct. App. 2005)

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Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Michigan

709 N.W.2d 174 (Mich. Ct. App. 2005)

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Facts

Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (defendant), purchased groundwater rights to a property in Michigan, planning to build a water bottling plant. Nestle dug four wells on site and began pumping groundwater at a high rate, 400 gallons per minute. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) (plaintiff), representing local riparian right holders, brought suit, claiming that the pumping unreasonably harmed the local residents’ riparian rights to the Dead Stream, including recreational uses such as boating, swimming, and fishing. MCWC presented evidence that the stream traditionally was used for recreational as opposed to commercial purposes. Further, MCWC presented evidence that even a small decrease in the water flow to the stream would have a substantial effect by decreasing water levels, thus harming the aesthetic value of the stream and the riparian owners’ ability to navigate the stream. Further, the decreased water level would raise the water temperature, thereby increasing plant life and decreasing available fish. The trial court found in favor of MCWC and issued an injunction. Nestle appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smolenski, J.)

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