Letter to the Editor: Stop Buying Water from Nestle


California had been in a drought emergency for 6 years until Governor Jerry Brown lifted the label in April 2017. Even though the distinction changed, the Californian government and citizens are continuing to do whatever they can to help save water. 

However, not everyone in California is participating in such efforts. Nestle, the owner of Arrowhead Spring Water, is not helping California with this problem. Nestle bottles water in the San Bernardino mountains and sells it across the country for profit. In 2015, Nestle extracted 62.6 million gallons of water despite the fact that its permit only allowed it to extract 8.5 million gallons every year. Think of every person in California as a gallon of water. Nestle extracted nearly all of California just in 2015. Even the set limit of of 8.5 million gallons of water is massive.

Nestle has been bottling water in the San Bernardino National Forest since the late 1800s. But in 1988, the company’s permit expired. This did not stop Nestle from continuing bottling water. It still perceives the expired permit as a legitimate legal document ensuring its right to the water. Not only has Nestle disregarded the expired permit, but the forest service had also disregarded this situation, allowing Nestle to continue bottling water without any consequences. After some investigations, Nestle had come out saying that when they receive a new permit, they will comply with all regulations. When will that new permit be given to this big-name company? How long do we have to wait until we see our water being regulated?

Californians are limiting their water usage, so why don’t Nestle and other large bottle water companies have to? In 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a three bill legislative act called the Sustainable Groundwater Act.  The act works towards balancing groundwater levels and stopping the runoff from high and medium priority basins. This is the first time in the history of California that an act like this has been passed. The California government is creating these acts to limit the water usage from big companies and help decrease the drought.

However, the Californian government is not the only actor that helps diminish these big company flaws. There are many ways that you can help stop Nestle and other big companies from taking California’s water.

First, stop buying bottled water bottle from big corporations such as Nestle and use reusable water bottles. Second, know where your water is coming from. If it is coming from a natural spring in California, try to stay clear of it, as it is probably increasing the drought. Finally, share this letter and help educate the rest of your community about the drought in California and how we can help. This is an underlying issue that many people do not know about.

Please remember: even though we could be saving a lot of water in our own homes, large companies may not be trying as hard.

-Sarah Traenkle ‘19