Drought-Stricken California Tells Nestlé to Stop Siphoning Water

The drought-stricken state of California has told Nestlé to stop siphoning water from the San Bernadino forest in a drafted cease-and-desist letter from state officials. 

California’s long-running period of drought has forced state officials to tell Nestlé to stop siphoning water from state reserves, which it sells under the ‘Arrowhead’ brand of water. 

The cease-and-desist letter that has been drafted by state officials is still subject to approval from the California Water Resources Control Board. 

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While Nestlé says that the rights for its use of California’s water extend back as far as 1865, the company has also come under fire after an investigation determined it was using far more water than its contract allowed. 

That investigation determined that Nestlé was siphoning more than 58 million gallons of water, when the agreement specified that Nestlé was entitled to 2.3 million gallons. 

Julé Rizzardo, assistant deputy director of the Division of Water Rights has said in a statement that “we have a limited amount of water… and as we face our second dry year in a row, it’s important that we use our authority to protect the municipal water supply and the environment.” 

California Tells Nestlé to Stop Siphoning Water

Figures published by the Story of Stuff Project says that Nestlé has siphoned more than 25-times the amount of water it is legally entitled to, with environmentalists calling for an end to Nestlé’s water-intensive activities.

According to a report from The Guardian, the draft letter represents one of “the latest developments in a protracted battle between the bottled water company and local environmentalists, who for years have accused Nestlé of draining water supplies at the expense of local communities and ecosystems.” 

In terms of geography, state officials are saying that Nestlé is pumping too much water from Strawberry Creek, which feeds into the Santa Ana river basin which is used by 750,000 residents. 

Nestlé has twenty-days to respond to the cease-and-desist letter, if it is approved by the California Water Resources Control Board. If it fails to comply, the company risks a fine of $1,000 per day, up to $10,000 per day, if a drought is declared in the Strawberry Creek area. 

Interestingly, just two-months ago, Nestlé finalised a deal that saw its US and Canadian bottled water brands to a pair of equity firms, One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos, for a total of $4.3 billion.

A company spokesman has said that any suggestion the company has just 7.26 acre-feet of water to draw from for its bottled water operations is wrong. 

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