Nestlé doesn’t have water rights for most of the water it takes out of San Bernardino National Forest, concludes state investigation.
CALIFORNIA — This week, the California State Water Board confirmed allegations made against Nestlé Waters North America – that the multimillion dollar corporation is taking water from the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California to which it has no legal claim. The announcement validates the complaints filed in favor of this investigation by citizens in the San Bernardino region and public advocacy organizations The Story of Stuff Project and Courage Campaign Institute.
The Water Board has directed Nestlé to limit its water take to an annual 8.5 million gallons, what is legally permitted by the company’s water right. Nestlé takes, on average, 62.6 million gallons a year to supply its Arrowhead brand water bottles. To be in compliance with the Board’s conclusion, Nestlé must immediately cease any unauthorized diversions. This includes a series of well complexes in the San Bernardino National Forest from which Nestlé draws the majority of its water.
The investigation substantiates concerns that Nestlé continues to bottle public water taken off public lands in California for private gain without adhering the legal framework established to ensure that water use, in an increasingly drought-ridden state that has been devastated by wildfires in recent months, is reasonable, efficient, and benefits all Californians as well as the state’s natural ecosystems.
In 2015, the Story of Stuff Project, Courage Campaign Institute, and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a lawsuit against the US Forest Service over its inaction on Nestlé’s nearly three decade expired permit allowing Nestlé transport water from the San Bernardino National Forest. Local residents concerned with Nestle’s water draw filed multiple requests for a review of the companies’ rights with the State Water Board, beginning in 2015.
“With this announcement, we reiterate our call to the Forest Service immediately halt Nestlé’s water take until the company fulfills the Water Board’s compliance recommendations,” says Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director of the Courage Campaign Institute.
“As the people of California grieve the loss of life, livelihood, and land that has been devastated by this year’s tragic wildfires, we have a moral imperative to safeguard water. This ruling shows that our precious resources must be managed with consideration for the needs of the environment and future generations,” says Michael O’Heaney Executive Director of the Story of Stuff Project.
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CourageCampaign.org fights for a more progressive California and country. We are an online community powered by more than 1.4 million members.
The Story of Stuff Project, a California-based non-profit organization, facilitates an global online Community of more than 1 million members working to transform the way we make, use and throw away Stuff.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.