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Activists Petition Nestlé to Shut Down Water Bottling Operations in California

Image Credit: Flickr, Ian Abbott

As California enters its fourth year of drought, more than 135,000 people have signed a petition to the California Water Resources Control Board to shut down Nestlé’s water bottling operations in the state.

Created by the California-based Courage Campaign, the petition 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.”

However, Nestlé claims its 2014 water use in California was about equal to the annual average watering needs of two golf courses in the state. In other words: shutting down a bottled water plant would not make much of a difference in the amount of water being used. The company says it is concerned about the drought and is doing its part to conserve water, such as being as "efficient as possible" in its water use.

For example, Nestlé water discharges per ton of product have dropped by 52 percent since 2005, according to the companies recent sustainability report.

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently issued the first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions in the Golden State. NASA scientists have warned California will need around 11 trillion gallons of water — about 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir — to recover from its drought.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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