Business | Environment

Water bottling plant provides usage reports to Morongo Band






A view of the San Gorgonio Moontain in the San Bernardino Mountains of California. Photo by Ivanhny. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A water bottling plant said it reports usage to the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in California but the tribe hasn't disclosed the information to the public.

Nestlé Waters started doing business on the reservation in 2002. The $26 million plant produces Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water and Nestlé Pure Life.

The company reports "all water use to the appropriate local governing bodies," a factory manager said in a letter to The Palm Springs Desert Sun. "In this particular case, that is the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which is recognized as a sovereign nation."

The letter came after the paper published a story that questioned how much water Nestlé uses. The factory manager said the company has drought mitigation plan that's based on a "rigorous monitoring program" of a spring that supplies the water for its products.

Nestlé used to provide annual reports of its water usage -- from a high of 1,366 acre-feet in 2002, when the plant opened, to a low of 595 acre-feet in 2005. The last report in 2009 said the plant used 757 acre-feet, or about 244 million gallons of water.

The spring at issue is located in Millard Canyon, where the tribe holds three licenses for water rights. The state is trying to cancel one of the tribe's licenses but those proceedings aren't expected to affect the Nestlé plant.

The state is in a prolonged drought.

Get the Story:
Nestle's Arrowhead bottling plant responds to aquifer story (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 7/23)
While California sips its scarce water, Nestlé gulps (Al Jazeera 7/22)

Related Stories:
Travis Armstrong: Newspaper unfairly targets Morongo Band (7/21)
Morongo Band won't disclose water usage from bottling plant (7/16)