As tension over the drought increases in California, residents are mounting protests against bottled water companies. This follows revelations that Nestlé and other big companies are depleting mountain streams and watersheds…and making a big profit.

An investigation by the San Bernardino Desert Sun revealed that lax governmental oversight by a number of agencies – including the California State Water Resources Board and the U.S. Forest Service – is partly to blame. Nestlé has been taking water from some of the state’s driest areas on permits that expired “as long as 27 years ago.”

Andrew Gumbel (@AndrewGumbel) writes for The Guardian:


“While California is facing record drought conditions, it is unconscionable that Nestlé would continue to bottle the state’s precious water, export it and sell it for profit,” says the petition, which is sponsored by the political activist organisation the Courage Campaign.

Nestlé’s official response is that the environmental impact of their bottled water enterprise is minimal, and that bottled water “accounts for a tiny fraction” of the state’s overall use. Some reject that claim.

“Nestlé has repeatedly ignored requests from local residents to halt its operations,” said Erin Diaz of the nonprofit Corporate Accountability International, which is running a “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign. “It’s clear that Nestlé has no intention of voluntarily halting its dangerous water bottling practices. It’s time for state water regulators to step in.”




Related Links:

As “rainy” season nears end, California faces 4th year of drought

Drought watch: a rogue’s gallery of water guzzlers

Q&A: UC’s Doug Parker on the California drought