San Bernardino residents are fed-up with international corporation Nestle stealing their water and selling it back to them. So they took to the streets this week to protest.Activists Say 'No' to @Nestle Stealing Their #Water Click To Tweet
Activists gathered along Highway 18 in the San Bernardino National Forest with homemade signs reading “Boycott Nestle” and “Nestle Water Thief.”
“Nestle receives million of gallons of water, that rightfully belong to the citizens of California, at nothing,” activist and organizer Glen Thompson said. “That’s why we’re here, to let the public know that this Swiss corporation is not welcome on our mountain.”
Nestle and The Expired (Yet Irrelevant) Permit
Nestle has pumped water from the San Bernardino National Forest for over a century. But their permit to-do-so expired nearly 30 years ago. Don’t worry, after public outcry in March of 2016, the Forest Service extended Nestle’s permit another 5 years. So it’s cool, the theft is legitimate.
Thompson went on to explain that local residence have to pay an insanely inflated rate for access to the same water supply; especially compared to what Nestle pays.
“We pay an exorbitant amount of money for the water rights to have just enough to deal with our personal use,” he said.
Profiting of What Belongs to the People
Nestle only pays a measly $624 each year to pump tens of thousands of gallons from areas like the Arrowhead spring. Nestle is stealing water from the people of San Bernardino and selling it around the word. Generating profits that likely total in the billions. It’s tempting to wonder what kind of kick-backs an audit of the Forest Service and their members might reveal.
This isn’t the first time activists took to the streets to express outrage. Three local environmental groups challenged Nestle back in 2015; suing the federal government in an effort to shut down Nestle’s pipeline in the forest. As climate change increases weather extremes, fresh water becomes more precious than ever. Especially in drought-prone areas like California.
Residents hope the water-activism will progress into a larger movement since the forest is public land. And water is everyone’s business.
“We respect individuals’ rights to express their views and welcome open dialogue with members in the communities in which we operate,” Nestle Waters North America said in a statement. Well if recent events are any indicator, this “open dialogue with members in the community” isn’t ending anytime soon.
— THV11 (@THV11) April 3, 2017
Mountain residents and U of Redlands students protest Nestle's withdrawal of bottled water from San Bernardino Mts. pic.twitter.com/5x41q5AXZl
— Jim Steinberg (@JamesDSteinberg) April 2, 2017