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Nestlé Has Been Overdrawing Water In Drought-Stricken California, State Says

The company’s Arrowhead brand is under investigation
water bottles
scanrail / istockphoto.com

Parties in California have accused Nestlé of overdrawing much more water than it has the right to use. Government documents show both individuals and groups have lodged a total of eight complaints with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) between April 2015 and September 2017. Allegations include diversion of water without a valid basis of right, unreasonable use of water, injury to public trust resources, and incorrect or missing reporting.

The brand under investigation is Nestlé’s Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, which is extracted from the Strawberry Creek watershed in the San Bernardino National Forest east of Los Angeles. Multiple complaints against the company emphasize the potential impacts of its operation during drought.

According to the Independent, Nestlé’s materials tout its history in California and its commitment to “sourcing water exclusively from carefully selected mountain springs,” which “ensures that every drop is as crystal clear as the water revered by Native Americans for its healing powers.”

After analyzing decades worth of data, officials found the company exceeds its yearly allowance of water claimed each year. While there is no formal course of action, the SWRCB recommends that Nestlé immediately cease any unauthorized diversions in order to comply with original allowances and maintain consumer trust.

In a statement to The Daily Meal, a spokesperson for Nestlé Waters North America said: "The report released by the SWRCB validates Nestlé Waters’ chain of title and reaffirms that we hold valid, pre-1914 surface water rights and groundwater rights to a significant amount of the water in Strawberry Canyon. We will continue to operate lawfully under these existing rights and will work to provide the information requested by the SWRCB to validate additional rights under review and finalize their review process."

The company says it'll have a chance to present additional facts to the staff and board of SWRCB, which could "change the conclusions and recommendations of the report."

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