While California is currently in the midst of the worst drought it has ever faced, the multi-national Nestle Corporation is pumping tens of millions of gallons of water a year — on a permit that expired in the 1980s.
Why was this allowed to happen? The U.S. Forest Service said their permit system has been too backlogged to notice Nestle was working on an expired permit.
California’s drought is bad — really bad. It’s estimated that the Golden State only has enough water to sustain itself for one more year. But while residents and farmers are living under strict water usage limits, Nestle — the nation’s largest bottled water producer — has been pumping between 50-80 million gallons of water a year from the Sacramento region alone. A drought of epic proportions, and what little water there is is being bottled and shipped elsewhere — and sold at an enormous profit.
The kicker? Their permit to pump water expired in 1988.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared the drought a state of emergency. California residents have been told to cut their water usage by 20 percent or face huge fines. Nestle on the other hand, is only paying 65 cents per 450 gallons they take from the state — a tiny fraction of what they sell it for once bottled.
It gets worse: California doesn’t have any laws limiting the amount of water drawn from groundwater. In the Coachella Valley, it’s estimated that Nestle draws 2OO,OOO,OOO gallons of water a year.
To put that in perspective — California’s entire grain industry only uses 69 million gallons of water a year.