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Tell the U.S. Forest Service: Stop Nestlé’s Water Extraction Profiteering

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Tell the U.S. Forest Service:

“Immediately halt Nestlé's water extraction and stop allowing corporate water profiteering in drought-stricken areas."

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    Tell the U.S. Forest Service: Stop Nestlé’s Water Extraction Profiteering

    UPDATE: We’ve been contacted directly by Nestle. The U.S. Forest service has in some ways put Nestle on notice, informing the company “should the drought continue, as we all expect it will, the State or local authorities may make further demands for conservation measures from all water users.” This means we need to keep up the pressure on the Forest Service.

    In the mean time, the Forest Service continues allowing Nestle to operate under the original terms of its 10-year permit issued in 1978, “until the Forest Service renders a decision on Nestle’s [1988 renewal] application.” Those terms allow Nestle to pay almost nothing to transport water through the San Bernardino National Forest: Its annual fee was $220 in 1978, and had increased to $401 in 1993. It’s time for the Forest Service to revoke this stunning misuse of water for private profit.

    This is unbelievable. An investigation by the Desert Sun newspaper has revealed that the Nestlé corporation has been sucking water out of a Southern California national forest for its bottled water with a permit was last reviewed 37 years ago1

    For 27 years, the U.S. Forest Service has failed to re-evaluate Nestle’s 10-year permit issued in 1978, allowing the company to continue operating by default. That means since 1988, Nestlé -- the largest bottled water producer in the world -- has been profiting by extracting water in one of the most drought-stricken areas in the country, while the U.S. Forest Service has been totally asleep at the switch.

    The Forest Service must immediately halt Nestlé’s water withdrawals and stop allowing corporate profiteering in the middle of California’s drought.

    Tell the U.S. Forest Service: Stop Nestlé’s Water Extraction Profiteering.

    As the world’s leading bottled water producer, and owner of the Perrier and San Pellegrino brands, Nestlé already has a dismal track record on water conservation and human rights. In 2013, Nestlé was forced to back down after fighting a decision in Ontario, Canada, that would limit its water taking in times of severe drought. That same year, Nestlé’s CEO famously challenged the human right to water.2

    We don’t know how much water Nestlé has been extracting from California for private profit because in 2009 the company stopped submitting annual reports to some local water districts about the groundwater it extracted for its bottled water.3 And furthermore, no state agency currently monitors the amount of water Nestlé and other private companies have been extracting, or its environmental impact.

    What we do know is that Nestlé is profiting handsomely by extracting water from public lands.4 In Sacramento, for example, Nestlé pays the same rates for water as average residential users, and then turns around and sells this water for literally thousands of times more than it pays.5

    During a time of increasing drought, this lack of oversight and blatant profiteering at the expense of the public interest is simply inexcusable. Tell the U.S. Forest Service it must immediately stop giving Nestlé a pass to take our water.

    Tell the U.S. Forest Service: Stop Nestlé’s Water Extraction Profiteering.

    1. "Bottling Water Without Scrutiny," The Desert Sun, March 8, 2015.

    2. "Organizations Denounce Nestle’s New Human Rights Impact Assessment as a Public Relations Stunt," Food & Water Watch, December 19, 2013.

    3. "Little oversight as Nestle taps Morongo reservation water," The Desert Sun, July 12, 2014.

    4. "Nestlé’s despicable water-crisis profiteering: How it’s making a killing — while California is dying of thirst," Salon, April 7, 2015.

    5. "Nestle Continues Stealing Water During Drought," MintPress News, March 20, 2015.