Nestle, which bottles said water under the Arrowhead brand, is permitted to extract 2.3 million gallons per year of the water, but a new report claims the company has been capitalizing on about 58 million gallons per year.
The letter informs the Switzerland-based food conglomerate of this theft as well as other unauthorized water diversion mechanisms that are maximizing profits for the company while leaving Californians high-and-dry with their own water supply.
Should the cease-and-desist receive approval from the California Water Resources Control Board, BlueTriton, which recently purchased Nestle’s North American water arm for $4.3 billion, would have 20 days to appeal the draft order and request a hearing.
“We have a limited amount of water,” says Julé Rizzardo, California’s assistant deputy director for the Division of Water Rights.
“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.”
Local activist Amanda Frye has been fighting Nestle’s encroachment in Southern California for years. She says that if something can finally be done to stop Nestle from raping and pillaging the local forests, they might have the chance to “heal.”
“The forests that Nestle is draining, they’re our forests, supported by every U.S. taxpayer,” Frye is quoted as saying.
Will greedy corporations ever be held responsible for their thievery of natural resources?
Nestle has an extensive history of criminal behavior. Its chocolate division, for instance, is being sued by a human rights group that says child slaves are used to traffic cocoa across national borders.
Profit would seem to be the only thing that matters to Nestle, just like it is for pretty much all other multinational corporations. Consequently, inconsequential things like human rights and the environment are mere casualties in the game of greed.
Drought is certainly another factor in California’s ongoing water woes, and one that need not be overlooked. At the same time, allowing corporations like Nestle to steal what little of it is available is not doing the state any favors.
Mismanagement of the state’s water resources is another factor that Republicans, in particular, seem to focus on because it shifts attention away from greedy corporations like Nestle that pay no regard to the environment.
At the end of the day, it is a mix of factors that has created widespread water problems in California, and Nestle’s unchecked behavior represents just one nefarious piece of that.
Much of California is a desert, after all, and corporations like Nestle that rob the state’s mountains of water from snowpack and other sources leave that much less water available to Californians who live down in the valleys.
The Public Policy Institute of California says that historically, mountain snowpack has provided “free” seasonal storage for the state’s irrigation needs. Roughly one-third of the state’s annual water supply is stored as snow in the vast Sierra headwaters.
“Large reservoirs across the state capture melting snow and release it during our dry summers,” the group says.
“Experts have recently begun referring to a new type of drought – ‘snow drought’ – to define years when reduced overall precipitation coincides with unusually warm winters. The winter of 2015 was a good example, with the all-time lowest snowpack in recorded history.”
The snow drought trend has only continued ever since, with 2019 being an exception. Prior to that, California suffered through 376 straight weeks of drought, which is part of the reason why it is now going after the likes of Nestle.
More related news can be found at WaterWars.news.
Sources for this article include: