Nestlé And Its Predecessors Have Been Taking This Water Since The End of World War II
Despite drought and a complete lack of authorization, Nestlé and its predecessors have been taking six times as much water in an average year as they have legitimate water rights to from Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest...for over seventy years.
While they do have definitive water rights to about 8.5 million gallons, they claim to have rights to at least 49.5 million gallons, or more, per year and have taken as much as 62.6 million gallons per year, on average. That means they aren’t even trying to justify why they have taken, on average, 54.1 gallons per year more than their legitimate water rights.
Nestlé Pays Less for Public Water Than The Public Does
So let’s break this down: Nestlé is paying only $524 a year...total...for millions of gallons. That means they’re paying $0.000008 per gallon. An average gallon of bottled water costs $9.47 — 2,000 times the cost of public tap water.
The profits from this operation are enormous.
There are families that spend more on water bills each year than Nestlé does for this (public) water — and the amount of water they extract could supply local households with more than 3 million showers each year.
And we all know that bottled water is far more expensive than what we’re paying for from the tap.
Clean water isn’t an infinite resource. During the 2011 to 2014 drought years, Nestlé showed just how much they cared about Californians when they actually increased their water extractions by 19% — enough to supply nearly 2,200 families per year.
We All Need This Water, Now More Than Ever
In 2017, parts of Strawberry Creek went dry for the first time ever. We are facing an environmental crisis: California is again on the precipice of experiencing a drought.
Bottled water is a big source of plastic pollution -- so much so that it has recently been linked to microplastics found in our food system. And we’ve known since 2009, thanks to a publication sponsored in part by Nestlé itself, that by 2030 global freshwater demand will likely exceed availability by 40 percent.
We can’t afford to lose our water resources to the greed of multinational corporations like Nestlé.
We need to protect this water for the public. We can’t afford to lose our water resources to the greed of multinational corporations like Nestlé. And in this case, the correct course of action should be especially clear: Nestlé is extracting millions of gallons of public water for percentages of pennies on the dime, without the permits to do so.
If water is treated as a commodity, it cannot adequately be protected for future generations. That is why Food & Water Watch urges the State Water Resources Control Board to:
(1) Order Nestlé Waters North America to immediately cease all unauthorized diversions of water in excess of its rights to 26 acre-feet per year,
(2) Deny Nestlé any exemption or permit to any fully appropriated streams in California (including the Santa Ana River), and
(3) Order a thorough investigation into “allegations of unreasonable use and injury to public trust resources.”
Take Action: Petition the Forest Service to Stop Nestlé From Taking Public Water!