California water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to be sent to Nestlé accusing them of taking millions of gallons of water from San Bernardino National Forest’s Strawberry Creek.
According to The Guardian, Nestlé has maintained that its rights to California spring water date back to 1865. But a 2017 investigation found that Nestlé was taking far more than its share. Last year the company drew out about 58m gallons, far surpassing the 2.3m gallons a year it could validly claim. Nestlé has sucked up, on average, 25 times as much water as it may have a right to.
The draft cease-and-desist order, which still requires approval from the California Water Resources Control Board, is a product of years of organizing by grassroots campaigns, reports EcoWatch.
“These are people who just want to make money, but they’ve already dried up the upper Strawberry Creek and they’ve done a lot of damage. They’re a foreign corporation taking our natural resources, which makes it even worse,” says Amanda Frye, an activist who has been protesting Nestlé’s pumping from Strawberry Creek for years.
Nestlé is based in Switzerland but had sold its North American water brands (like Arrowhead) to One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos.
With California still suffering the ramifications of wildfires and drought, Nestlé’s water usage impacts local communities and the area’s ecosystem. Environmental groups and activists have fought to stop the company for years.