# Gotta love Salon, eh?

The water is disappearing in San Felipe Ecatepec, an Indigenous town three miles outside of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, in southern Mexico.

“In the past four years, our wells have started drying up,” says Juan Urbano, who just finished a three-year term this February as the president of the Communal Territory of San Felipe Ecatepec. “People sometimes walk two hours a day to get water. Others have to buy their water.”

Where is all the water going?

In between San Felipe and San Cristobal lies a Coca-Cola bottling plant, operated by the Mexican company FEMSA. The plant consumed over 1.08 million liters of water per day in 2016.

San Cristobal alone is some 200,000 people. Average usage of water in Mexico is 35 gallons a day, call that 100 litres among friends.

San Cristobal uses 7.3 billion litres a year, the Coke plant 370 million or summat, or 5%.

Sure, the Coke plant will ave an influence at the margin bu it’s not the problem, is it?

## 14 thoughts on “Gotta love Salon, eh?”

If their were a SJW index, this article would come close to scoring 1.00.

I love this assertion:

‘The 1,500 protestors denounced Coca-Cola’s water consumption and health impacts.’

‘and health impacts’ Ha ha ha ha.

2. Jeepers. It’s as though some journalists – those who are not particularly numerate – think a persuasive argument is to fling big numbers around, omit the relativities, and so cause their readers to check their wits at the first paragraph.

(The Coca-Cola plant consumption is more like 394 million liters – but still, only 5%.)

3. John Fembup, and 35 gallons is a bloody sight more than 100 litres – dunno about US gallons, but even so …

4. 3.7 litres to the US gallon, isn’t it? 4.5l to the far superior UK gallon 😉

5. Mathematica:

UnitConvert[“gallon”, “litre”] // N
3.78541 L

UnitConvert[“imperial gallon”, “litre”] // N
4.54609 L

UnitConvert[Quantity[35, “gallon”], “litre”] // N
132.489 L

I suppose a 25% underestimate isn’t too bad.

6. I really don’t think that is the right counter-argument. Unfortunately, because I need more information to defend my reasoning, I tried to read the article and was distracted by this gem:

“We have been asking the government to install a deep well in the community for 12 years,” says Urbano. “We’ve gone to the municipal, state and federal governments, but they’ve done nothing.”

Now I can’t stop wondering why they don’t just dig their own well?

The reason I don’t like this particular defense of Coke; I expect that local water use will primarily be recycled locally in the usual manner while we have to know how much of the Coke is exported to begin to define a water balance. If all of the water used in making the Coke is exported, I expect that missing water will be noticed.

7. I expect that local water use will primarily be recycled locally in the usual manner

But only in exceptional circumstances does ‘the usual manner’ result in that water being immediately available locally.

8. Actually, apols. I don’t know what happens in the USA. You are different in so many minor but utterly critical ways.

Exceptional – ISS.

9. The specific water molecules aren’t available for immediate reuse. We don’t really care about specific water molecules. What we care about are how many water molecules are in the area in total. Exporting 5% of the total water supply could indeed be a major problem.

Note: I am not saying the Coke Bottler is a problem. Instead I am noting that, based on the information provided by both Salon and Timmy, there isn’t enough data to make or defend either claim.

10. That 100 litres/person/day sounds high.

“People sometimes walk two hours a day to get water.”
If you’re doing that, you’re not going to use that water for showering so I would think the consumption rates will be MUCH lower.

On the other side of the equation, I rather doubt Coke – or one of its bottling partners – is going to invest in building a factory where there is a limited water supply. They would have done their sums VERY carefully before choosing that site.