Nestlé Steals Your Water, Sells It Back To You

Sacramento, CA (TFC) – Nestlé Waters North America has come under some heavy scrutiny, and has outraged citizens protesting at their bottling plant in Sacramento California and a proposed site in Oregon. A recent investigation cites that there is no entity regulating the amount of water being drawn from The San Bernardino National Forest.  The investigation also reveals that the permits Nestlé had once held to draw water from the forest expired in 1988.

This chart shows the exponential rate at which bottled water sales have taken off since the introduction of the industry just under 40 years ago.

Bottled water consumption per person, per year in gallons through 2012.


Clearly, this is a thriving industry, and Nestlé is one of its leaders. Nestlé Waters has made no bones about bottling water in massive quantities to squeeze another zero or 2 into their profit margins. In 2013, Nestlé Waters CEO Tim Brown had this to say about the increase in sales and the Drink Up Initiative launched 2013:

“We at Nestlé Waters North America wholeheartedly embrace the concept that you are what you drink, and when you drink water, you Drink Up… That’s why we’re joining forces with the Partnership for a Healthier America and those supporting the effort, including first lady Michelle Obama, to help guide everyone to think of water as their first and most frequent beverage choice. Getting into the habit of drinking water is one of the easiest things people of all ages can do on their path to adopt lifelong healthy habits.”

Obviously smitten, Brown’s business model is doing well, and backed by the First Lady, in the campaign to get people to drink healthier. I wonder if Michelle Obama is okay with the fact that the water she was helping you push is not even permitted? If you look at some of the studies on bottled water, as opposed to tap water, you’ll find that tap water is more regulated than bottled water. According to the FDA, bottled water is regulated as food under the FFDCA. From

Recent regulatory activity on bottled water includes adoption of allowable levels of certain disinfectants and disinfection byproducts in the quality standard for bottled water and publication of a feasibility study on the appropriate methods for providing consumers with information on the contents of bottled water.

Disinfection byproducts include:

  1. Halonitromethane – Nitromethane can be found mostly in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and explosives.
  2. Iodoacetic acid – a derivative of acetic acid.
  3. Nitrosamines – Carcinogenic, used in the manufacture of cosmetics, pesticides, and rubber products.

Healthy water can be had for much cheaper than bottled water. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems essentially turn your tap into safe drinking water without the plastic waste. Also, has anyone at Nestlé Waters given 2 thoughts about plastic waste?

File:Plastic wastes.jpg

From Ban The Bottle: Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.

Nestlé Waters bottles Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestlé Pure Life, Ozarka, and Poland Spring. “Where does the water comes from?” and, “how much water is being drawn?” These are the questions being asked by citizens so parched by the California drought that many wonder, “how is it even possible for this corporation to happen?” California golf courses must restrict their water use. California citizens are being urged by Gov. Jerry Brown to use 20% less water.  However, corporations are allowed to use as much as they want, and can sell it back to us… And we are buying it!

Activists protesting Nestlé stealing water

Oregonians are protesting a proposed Nestlé bottling plant at the Columbia River Gorge in Portland. At the same time citizens in Sacramento, CA are protesting the bottling of water for sale, in a state that is so drought stricken, the people are using their dish water on their flowers, and just letting their lawns die. As is customary of large corporations under scrutiny, my request for comment on the current situation went completely unanswered. Suffice it to say this corporation likely doesn’t want negative media attention, pointing out it’s practice as blatantly harmful to our environment, or using Monsanto chemicals to treat the water they overprice.

In short, bottled water is no safer than straight tap water.  There are easier, cheaper methods to have truly filtered water in your own home. If you are out and about, carry a refillable container rather than take a bottle for single use, and then waste. It is up to us to show this company that they cannot get away with bottling water they had no permit to draw in the first place. I personally will not be buying another bottle!

By James Job