With Drought Measures Becoming More Strict, Nestle Continues California Water Bottling

The company bottles water on a Native American reservation, which is exempt from drought measures. But should it still do something?

arrowheadNestle is kicking up controversy with its continued water bottling operations despite a drought that is so severe, it has prompted water restrictions.

Nestle owns Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, which is sourced from a spring  Millard Canyon, CA. Nestle Pure Life is another one of its brands, both of which are bottled on a Native American reservation in the state.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency because of water shortages. On Tuesday, water regulators approved fines of $500 for things like watering lawns and washing cars. The measures were put in place after the governor announced he wanted to reduce water usage by 20 percent and that goal hadn’t been achieved. The drought has been going on for three years. Other measures will be considered if water usage still isn’t reduced.

Reservations are considered sovereign states that don’t have to follow state regulations. But knowing the dire situation that the state is in, should Nestle do something?

RT goes into great detail about the situation and the water levels involved. On the one hand, there’s concerned that bottling the water and shipping it away is to the detriment of the neighboring areas at this sensitive time. On the other hand, the operation provides jobs.

It’s notable that the article doesn’t include a statement from Nestle on the situation. Perhaps the company is devising a plan and a statement about what it intends to do. If they aren’t they should.

ABC News has quotes illustrating the concerns about the situation and the frustration about the measures being taken to manage it. If a company is seen as getting away with using water for profit that others can’t use for taking care of their property, backlash will ensue.

On the Arrowhead site, there’s a “Go Green” section that’s focused on recycling. Nestle Pure Life, emphasizing a healthy lifestyle that includes water, also has a “Go Green” page focused on different areas of environmental concern.

Here’s an opportunity to make a strong statement about an eco-condition happening in their backyard that they should pay attention to. They can’t solve the drought certainly. And jobs are important. We definitely don’t have the answer. But there’s something wrong with a company bottling water that’s being sent away when the people in that state are suffering with too little. Is there a way to scale back some bottling? Take a philanthropic step to help the state? Every option should be considered.