California warned Nestle about water drawn from San Bernardino National Forest
Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board notified Nestle Waters North America that an investigation concluded it doesn’t have the proper rights to about three-quarters of the water it withdraws for bottling in San Bernardino National Forest. The report stated,
A significant portion of the water currently diverted by Nestle appears to be diverted without a valid basis of right.
Nestle owns several water bottling companies such as Arrowhead and gets some of its water from San Bernardino National Forest. The company was urged to reduce its water withdrawals unless it can show it has valid water rights to its current sources or to additional groundwater. The company was also given 60 days to submit an interim compliance plan. However, Nestle stated that it was pleased that the report reaffirms that it holds valid rights to “a significant amount” of water.
Apparently, Nestle took around 32 million gallons of water from wells and water collection tunnels in the forest in 2016. However, a water board investigation concluded that it had the right to withdraw only 26 acre-feet per year, or about 8.5 million gallons. Opponents of the water withdrawal at the forest have argued that Nestle lacked proper permits and that the water usage could harm the local environment and wildlife. It appears that this dispute between the state agency and company will continue until the matter is resolved.