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April 23, 2021 – Today, California’s State Water Resources Control Board issued an updated Report of Investigation and draft Cease & Desist Order finding that Nestle Waters North America, now Blue Triton Brands, has failed to prove a valid right for the vast majority of water it removes from the San Bernardino National Forest for bottling. The report concludes the company may have a right to up to 7.26 acre feet of water annually, down from an initial estimate of 26 acre feet in its preliminary report of investigation, released in December 2017; in 2020, Nestle reported that it removed 180 acre feet, or roughly 58 million gallons, of water. 

READ THE WATER BOARD REPORT HERE

“Its time for Nestlé’s new owners to do the right thing and cease their operations in this National Forest, which belongs to all Americans. The company should accept the draft Cease & Desist Order and cede any remaining rights it may hold to the Forest Service to revitalize Strawberry Creek,” said Michael O’Heaney, Story of Stuff Project Executive Director. 

“I am pleased with the California water board’s Cease and Desist order. My hope is that the Strawberry Creek ecosystem can be restored in America’s San Bernardino National Forest,” said Amanda Frye, of Redlands, CA, whose research into Nestle’s shaky claim to a water right spurred the Water Board’s investigation. 

Nestle Waters North America, the owner of the Arrowhead bottled water brand, was recently acquired by One Rock Capital Partners and Metropolous & Co. in a $4 billion deal and is now operating as Blue Triton Brands.

O’Heaney continued: “Dean Metropoulos, Blue Triton’s interim CEO, has an opportunity to live up to his recent commitments to environmental sustainability and community well-being by ending the Arrowhead operations in the San Bernardino National Forest. What better way to turn the page on Nestlé’s well-earned negative reputation than by conceding this is the end of the proverbial pipeline.”

According to the Water Board, over the period from 1947 to 2015, Nestlé’s reported extractions from the springs in the SBNF have averaged 192 acre-feet, or 62.6 million gallons, per year. Over the three years since the Water Board’s initial Report of Investigation was released in December 2017, Nestle has removed 532 acre feet of water from the Forest, 25 times as much as the Water Board now says they may have a right to.

About This Campaign

For decades, Nestlé Waters — the world’s largest water bottler — has bought up access to public water across North America to turn our most precious public resource into a private commodity.

Nestlé Waters North America, has recently been acquired by two private equity firms, One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos & Co, in a $4.3 billion dollar deal that has rebranded the company as ‘Blue Triton Brands’. We’re shining a spotlight on six of the corporation’s bottling operations that have generated fierce backlash resulting from the impact on the surrounding communities and their ecosystems, and urging them to return the waters back to public stewardship. Visit our campaign page to learn more.

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WATCH STORY OF STUFF FILM ON NESTLÉ’S WATER GRAB: This Land is Our Land