Activists are petitioning the California Water Resources Control Board to shut down Nestlé’s water bottling operations in the state.
More than 135,000 people have signed a petition, created by the California-based Courage Campaign, which comes as Gov. Jerry Brown this week issued the first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions with California in its fourth year of drought.
A Nestlé spokesperson says the company’s 2014 water use in California was about equal to the annual average watering needs of two golf courses in the state. “Shutting down a bottled water plant would appreciatively not make a big difference in the amount of water being used,” says spokesperson Jane Lazgin says, who adds the company is concerned about the drought and is doing its part to conserve the natural resource. “Our plans are to be as efficient as possible in our water use and to provide people with a healthy product that they want.”
The activist group says Nestlé extracts water from California specifically for its Arrowhead and Pure Life brands, and bottles its product from at least a dozen natural springs. It says one such bottling plant is located on a Native American reservation “in one of California’s most drought-stricken areas that is exempt from oversight by local water agencies.”
Lazgin says the company does have natural springs across the state and says the facility on tribal lands is subject to oversight by the tribe.