Residents of rural, drought-stricken southern India say that Coca-Cola's soft drink bottling plant is running their wells dry and contaminating any remaining water. In some areas, residents have no remaining water and must rely on water delivered by a truck each day.
Others say their wells ran dry three years ago, after Coke's bottling plant arrived. Coca-Cola has 52 plants in India in all, and some draw from 800,000 to 1.5 million liters of water from common groundwater resources daily. Other water is supplied to Coca-Cola via water trucks that extract water from neighboring villages.
In one village, residents said they noticed changes in the quantity and quality of their well water just six months after Coke's plant came to town. The water turned brackish ad milky in color, making it unsafe for drinking, cooking and bathing. And farmers say that while their wells once had enough water to run a pump for 18-20 hours, they now run dry after only four hours.
Coca-Cola officials say there is no scientific proof that the groundwater shortage is related to their plants, and some say the company is actually the victim of anti-American sentiments.
In 2005, after a series of large protests, the local government in India revoked Coca-Cola's license and ordered them to shut down one of their plants, worth $25 million.