The California State Water Resources Control Board on Friday sent a cease and desist letter to Nestlé, demanding the water bottling company stop “alleged unauthorized diversions and threatened unauthorized diversions from Strawberry Creek in San Bernardino County.”
The water Nestlé pulls from the San Bernardino National Forest, located in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, and is sold as the Arrowhead brand of bottled water, the Desert Sun reported. The Santa Ana River, where the water comes from, provides water for roughly 750,000 residents in the area, as well as wildlife.
Over the last few years, state and local officials accused Nestlé of illegally diverting water from local communities for bottling purposes. Although the company has water rights that date back to the mid-1800s, a state investigation discovered Nestlé is exceeding their water allocations. According to The Guardian, in 2020, Nestlé drew 58 million gallons of water, far surpassing the 2.3 million gallons the company is legally allotted per year.