Water Rights, or Wrongs

You may think of chocolate when you think of the Nestle brand, but the backbone of the Nestle Company is such a sensitive topic in California that I am now boycotting them completely. What changed my shopping habit was my seeing the documentary FLOW (FOR LOVE OF WATER) about 8 years ago.

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The Nestle business model was exposed to claim water rights in rivers and streams above the village of poor towns in India, Egypt, Peru, etc., their natural source of water. Nestle then siphoned off enough water to shut off the water supply to villages and thus forced them to buy from Nestle the local water that ran to them freely from up-stream. Delivered in trucks or bottles, water created a financial crisis. It was so frustrating to see the local government being bought off against the benefit of their own people.

Because, water is essential to life, not only does everything we eat need water to grow and become something eatible but more importantly we cannot live more than a few days without drinking water. As innocent as those villagers may sound to you, one of those innocent villages is Los Angeles, and in fact, all over California (Chrystal Geyser, Arrow Head Water) and they’re buying in Oregon is in the works. Hey~it’s good business. Or is it good business being bad?

Nestle is not the only ones being sited in the lawsuit, but they are the first to respond in a 79 page brief filed last Friday in San Bernardino, California.

Nestle Waters North America (MWNA) filed a “friend of the court” brief last Friday that argues against the three California environmental groups that filled a lawsuit against Nestle last October demanding the agency shut down the San Bernardino water pipeline, which is tapped into the aquaflor under the desert.

Nestle claims that history is on it’s side, siting a document dating back to 1882 (the Forest Service was established in 1905) and that it’s water rights have not been challenged since 1931. They are claiming historical water rights, they have the most senior water rights in California, which became a state in 1850 with Nestles’ water use beginning in 1865.

Their claim against the suit filed by three environmental agencies states that The Forest Service has to cancel water rights for them to be expired or invalid, their most recent lease was filed in 1978 good for 5 years, expiring in 1988.

President of the Tri-County Conservation League, Greg Ballmer, has requested that the Forest Service investigate Nestle’s historical claims, because his initial search has not brought up the early rights that they are claiming, which brings the validity of Nestle’s claim to the water into question, according to The Desert Sun newspaper. Dessert Sun

Nestle is using legal assurances of the widespread impact for business  well beyond the company (1200 California Employees) and may have found a way to protect it’s water rights behind the heated debate between state versus federal laws.

They also run water out of a desert spring in Milliard Canyon in Cabazon on a reservation of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Nestle is already making its case with ads on social media, newspapers and billboards in Southern California, with photos of the San Bernardino National Forest mountains and a slogan: ‘Respecting nature is in our nature’.

This will be a legal battle pitting the community environmentalists against the largest food company in the world.

This is an example of how we have reached a tipping point.

The future of California is being determined by a failed judicial system, will they let the study of the impact Nestle’s water extraction has on the environment be paid for by the Friend Of The Court, the multi-national company, Nestle, that has proven it’s only concerns are the share holders monetary gain?

The residents and farmers have had water bans for years, we have pulled back our water use by over 30% while Nestle continued to sell our own precious water back to us? In spite of a historical draught and not having renewed it’s lease in decades?

Let’s see if Lady Justice can see through her blind fold and not let the scales be weighed down by payola while the rest of us only flush after number 2. By The Way, this water game is tricky, after being fined if lower water use was not obtained (half of my neighborhood have replaced lawns with succulents and wood chips or pebbles), the Department of Water and Power announced that they will have to increase rates to make up for the lack of water use.

OH and my bill reflected that I had more water coming out of my home than going in….my sewerage fees indicated that I had over a hundred gallons more water leaving my home than the water coming in.  That’s a whole lot of number 1~

Maybe I should check for chocolate fingerprints on my faucets.

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