Nestlé is facing heat in drought-ridden California for exporting water away from the state for its Pure Life and Arrowhead bottled water brands.
A Nestlé plant located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians' reservation "has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California's drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it's right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining," The Desert Sun reported.
The government has little authority over the Nestlé plant because it is located on a reservation.
"It’s exempt from oversight by local water agencies and is able to keep confidential information — such as the amount of groundwater it’s pumping and water levels in its wells — that other plants would be required to disclose. As a result, critics contend, it’s impossible to know just how much of the limited resource the plant is extracting to send elsewhere," Salon explained.
Nestlé said it is conscious of drought conditions and the level of groundwater in the region.
The facility "operates in strict accordance with all federal and state public health regulations, pursuant to our agreement with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians," the company said, per the Desert Sun.
"We proudly conduct our business in an environmentally responsible manner that focuses on water and energy conservation," it continued. "Our sustainable operations are specifically designed and managed to prevent adverse impacts to local area groundwater resources, particularly in light of California's drought conditions over the past three years."
Nestlé emphasizes the importance of water, in general, when defending its bottled water business.
"Water is essential and if people weren't drinking our bottled water, they'd be drinking tap water or soda or beer," said Jane Lazgin, director of corporate communications at Nestlé, per CNBC.
Check out Water Online's Water Scarcity Solution Center.
Image credit: "20130703-125-of-365," Wilson Hui © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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