Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water

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Jennifer Swacina

Jennifer Swacina – Board Chair

From my youth, before I knew the term “commodification,” I feared a future where clean water would only be available to those who could afford it. The idea of selling scarce water struck me as the ultimate evil. Over the years, plastic pollution and corporate corruption were added to my dystopian fears, and Nestle/BlueTriton represents all this. So, when I realized a company, known for humanitarian and environmental abuses worldwide, was mining water in my community, I felt I had to speak up.

I grew up in Idaho and traveled extensively before finally landing in Salida, Colorado. I have lived in the desert (Arizona), the tropics (Hawaii), and the arctic (Alaska). So, I have experienced dry streams, ocean plastic, and melting glaciers first hand.

While working as a seasonal park ranger at my first public lands job at a state park in Utah (Dead Horse Point), I began researching the human history of the Colorado River. From a mesa top in canyon country, overlooking the Colorado River, I read about John Wesley Powell, the dams creating Lake Mead and Lake Powell, and the 1922 Colorado River compact. It was there that I learned the Colorado River was so over-appropriated that it no longer flowed to the sea.

From my perspective, using precious water from the Colorado River Basin to allow the sucking and trucking of water for sale in single-use plastic is simply wrong. I strongly believe that we cannot let this quietly continue.

John McGowan – Treasurer

John has been a property owner in Chaffee County for over 20 years. He wants our community
growing into a sustainable and healthy place that supports all life. He has over 30 years of
experience in the financial services industry and owns a business specializing in personal
financial planning and sustainable investing.

John embraces “conscious capitalism” – a belief that business holds a purpose beyond simply
making profit. He believes business can and should improve the existence of all stakeholders,
not just the shareholders. These are the type of businesses that Chaffee County deserves;
businesses that are transparent, well-governed, community-based, and focused on eliminating
their negative externalities, such as single-use plastic pollution.

As John learned about the lack of oversight of Nestle Waters North America (now BlueTriton
Brands) and the lack of accountability for its failure to fulfill important 1041 permit conditions
and promises to the community, he knew he needed to get more involved. He is focused on
educating the public to the risks of a private equity firm operating a commercial water mining
enterprise in the Upper Ark valley, and on seeing Chaffee County’s outdated 1041 permit laws
reformed to account for today’s reality of climate warming and pervasive drought.

Lizzy McArthur- Secretary

Lizzy McArthur (nee Bauer) has been a resident of Salida for the past seven years and recently earned a Master’s in Environmental Management with an emphasis in Global Sustainability from Western Colorado University.

Lizzy currently works as the Community Organizer for the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI) to advocate for the designation of new Wilderness and Special Management Areas in Gunnison County. She is also working in partnership with the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature in Majkhali, India to develop and instruct a new course in Holistic Resiliency offered through Western Colorado University. The course is designed to provide educators and guardians of elementary schoolchildren with the tools to promote the practices of mindfulness and connecting with nature in standard learning activities.

In her spare time, you will most likely find Lizzy hiking or meditating somewhere in the mountains. In the peak summer season, you will often find her on the Arkansas River, whitewater rafting with her husband on their MiniMax, the S.S. Relish. Lizzy is also a Leave No Trace Master Educator and enjoys backpacking in the mountains and teaching others how to enjoy nature with respect.