Nestle Pays A Whopping $524 For 27 Million Gallons Of California’s Most Precious Resource

Average water bills in California vary from city to city, but a safe guesstimate has a typical family of four spending around $100 per month to keep the taps and spigots flowing. Those spigots aren’t producing much lately, as things like lawn and landscape watering have come under serious restrictions.

For roughly what that one family pays to cook, drink, and bathe for less than six months, Nestle extracts 27 million gallons of crystal clear water from the Arrowhead Spring, denying precious ground water replenishment and natural irrigation to the forest around it and the valley below.

At that rate, Nestle is paying roughly two cents per gallon for water they routinely sell for as much as $2 per bottle. The profits from the spring, which is on public land in a national forest, goes directly to Nestle, with not a dime going to investigate the risks to that fragile ecosystem or any kind of public reimbursement for the theft of our natural resource.

How Nestle continues to pull this off boggles the mind. The loophole they exploit is a permit system in which an expired permit will continue to be honored until a new permit can be issued. The National Forest Service says there are roughly 320 expired permits out there, and that there is nothing special about Nestle’s. They simply “haven’t gotten around” to issuing a new one.

That sounds reasonable until you hear that the permit expired nearly 30 years ago in 1988, and that Nestle gets away with it by sending the permit fee every year at the same price they’ve paid since the permit expired – thus the $524.

If you believe that for 30 years, a decade of which has seen drought unprecedented in modern times, that a multi-national corporation worth billions taking a chunk of resources that large has simply gone unnoticed, I have a bridge with no water running under it for sale… cheap.

Above and beyond the water taken to bottle from Arrowhead, Nestle has also managed to drain away another 76 million gallons from Deer Canyon under similar sketchy conditions.

Nestle’s continued presence in California for the purpose of stealing cheap mountain spring water for massive profit is the epitome of being a part of the problem, not the solution. As Californians let their lawns go brown and their cars go dirty, because those things are not important in the big picture, Nestle continues to be that villain from the old west that just doesn’t care who knows he’s in town.

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