Courage Campaign activists protested outside of two different Nestlé Waters bottling plants in California yesterday, according to Business Insider.
During the peaceful protests, the Courage Campaign activists attempted to deliver a petition signed by over 500,000 people that urges the company to stop bottling California’s dwindling water supply, and move its operations outside of the state, according to a Courage Campaign press release.
Protesters gathered outside two Nestlé Waters bottling plants in Sacramento and Los Angeles, held up signs, and chanted at Nestlé, urging the company to stop bottling what is left of the city’s water and leave the state.
The petition the two protests tried to deliver contained more than 500,000 signatures from people who want Nestlé to leave drought stricken California and its water in the ground, the press release noted.
California is particularly hard hit from the current four-year drought.
Jay Famiglietti, NASA’s top water scientist (hydrologist) in its Jet Propulsion Lab, said the drought has caused a water shortage so severe that California “has only about a one year of water supply left in its reservoirs,” via the Los Angeles Times.
Despite this, Nestlé has no plans to stop taking water from California reservoirs.
Famiglietti asked Tim Brown, CEO of Nestlé Waters North America during an interview via SCPR, if Nestlé would follow Starbucks and leave California in light of the drought, or cease operations altogether.
“Absolutely Not. In fact, if I could increase it, I would.”
This is despite the fact that Nestlé and other companies use 1.39 liters of water to produce a single liter of water, according to the International Bottled Water Association, via CNBC.
In fact, Brown believes that by using what he calls “zero water” technology, which Brown claims recycles water from milk plants, he can help Nestlé save 25 million gallons of water per year in two U.S. plants.
Nestlé already uses the technology in its Jalisco, Mexico, plant, where Brown claims its use saves Nestlé 68 million gallons of water.
It is no wonder Nestlé refuses to leave, especially considering Nestlé buys 470 gallons of water for $.65, according to Mint Press News. Doing the math, that would be $.0013 and one half pennies Nestlé pays per gallon.
Nestlé then sells for no less than $1 per gallon to consumers at Walmart. Other retailers typically charge between $1.06 to $3.49 or more per gallon.
The Crunch Nestlé Alliance calls that a “corporate welfare giveaway” courtesy of Sacramento City Hall, according to the Mint Press News.
Although California implemented strict water regulations that go so far as to fine residents for overuse and waste, Nestlé remains unaffected by buying water from the Millard Canyon reservation 80 miles east of Los Angeles to circumvent the restrictions.
Reservations are under “no obligation to comply” with state drought laws, according to CNBC.
Nestlé has been bottling water in California under an expired permit for more than 25 years, according to the Desert Sun. The United States Forest Service stated that they would make “it a priority to examine” Nestlé’s actions during the time it operated without a permit.
The USFS has allowed Nestlé to continue to operate until such time the USFS decides whether to reissue the permit or not.
During the time it waits, Nestlé takes water from Strawberry Canyon Springs, in the same way the company takes water from Deer Canyon Springs via a contract Nestlé has with Cucamonga Valley Water District under yet another expired permit, according to Desert Sun. This is in addition to its other California bottling locations.
The USFS has not assessed the environmental impact of Nestlé operations during the 25 years it operated via expired permits.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires environmental assessments during the permit re-issuance phase, according to San Bernardino national Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron via the Desert Sun. The assessments could take anywhere from 18-months-to-two-years to complete.
Residents from Orange County, Long Beach, and surrounding areas protested at Nestlé’s Los Angeles water bottling plant, and residents from San Francisco, Oakland, and surrounding areas protested at Nestlé’s Sacramento water bottling plant, according to Take Part.
According to Courage Campaign’s Strategic Campaign Organizer, Tim Molina, “it’s time Nestlé did the right thing and put people over profits” and stop bottling water in California.
Even though 65 percent of Americans believe Nestlé should “stop using California water to create bottled water,” Nestlé is not the only offender, according to Forbes.
In fact, more than 100 water-bottling plants have permits to continue bottling water, including Walmart plants, despite the recent water regulations and four-year drought.
Molina added via press release that if Nestlé refuses to do “what’s right to protect California’s precious water supply” then Governor Brown and the California Water Resource Control Boards have to stop Nestlé’s “blatant misuse of water” during the drought.
Yesterday’s protests come just two months after activists from the Crunch Nestlé Alliance formed human barricades at the Sacramento bottling plant in an effort to shut Nestlé’s operations down for the day.
Similar to a Nestlé Waters protest in October, 2014, that succeeded in shutting the company down for a day, according to Criticl, the Crunch Nestlé Alliance activists succeeded, according to Fox 40 News.