Supporting Water: World Water Day and Beyond Statement from Nestlé Waters North America - March 19, 2009

To Press Releases listMar 19, 2009

Nestlé Waters North America believes people have a right to a safe, reliable supply of water. We are the steward of more than a century-old legacy of managing and sustaining spring sources across the U.S. and Canada, and of making that water available to millions of people. We support and applaud the efforts of World Water Day to increase awareness about water-related challenges and highlight the importance of water protection and conservation.

What We Do
An estimated 70% of all water available in the world today is used for agriculture. Helping farmers understand and learn how to use water efficiently is critical to protecting water for the future. Through its “Sustainable Agriculture Initiative,” our parent company, Nestlé SA, works with approximately 400,000 farmers around the world to provide this valuable education.

Our company also supports organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to bring clean drinking water to those in need. Nestlé committed $1.5 million Swiss francs over three years to support the Red Cross’ Global Water and Sanitation Initiative to bring safe water supply, community training and hygiene promotion to villages in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the U.S., we are fortunate that most public water is safe to drink, but that’s not always the case. During natural disasters, or when municipal water systems are compromised due to contamination or leaks, bottled water plays a vital role in providing essential hydration. In 2008, Nestlé Waters North America provided more than 29 million bottles of potable drinking water to relief agencies and citizens affected by hurricanes, floods, boil alerts, and other crises.

We also believe that sustainable water management is essential for consumers as well as corporations. Since 1992, we have sponsored Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), an award-winning, global water education program and publisher. To date, Project WET has educated more than 25 million students and trained 200,000 teachers in water resource management, hydration and health, and environmental stewardship.

Where We Source Our Products
Nestlé Waters’ spring water brands come from groundwater sources that are more isolated from risks faced by municipal suppliers using surface water. When we bottle public water, we only purchase what has been identified as available supply, and we apply additional specialized filtration steps that most public systems cannot afford and that can extract elements even at-home filters cannot remove. Quality reports for all of our brands are on our Web site or available by calling the toll-free number on our bottle labels.

While we sometimes purchase water for our bottled water products from public supplies, we more often buy or lease private property, obtain appropriate water rights, and secure all required permits for spring sources. We advocate for government policies that are fair for all water users and that promote water safety and sustainability. Communities have a process for making decisions about whether our company can operate in their towns, and broad public input is always a critical part of that process. We must abide by local rules, laws and regulations to withdraw water and operate a bottling plant.

Water Conservation Practices
We agree that safe and reliable public water systems, and the tap water they provide, are part of a critical infrastructure needed by people around the world. Bottled water is a small, albeit obvious, user of water. Bottled water represents just 0.02% of the total ground water used in the U.S. each year – drastically less than agriculture and other industries. And Nestlé Waters uses even less than that – just 0.0003% of total ground water available in the U.S. annually.

Because water is our livelihood, we recognize the need to manage our water use sustainably. We have made significant investments in these springs and bottling facilities, and we have a vested interest in ensuring that water sources are viable for generations to come.

We carefully select our spring sources based on their long-term sustainability, and we only harvest the water that can be replenished by nature. Our 11 on-staff hydrogeologists constantly monitor our spring sources to measure environmental conditions, and our reports are available to regulators and the community.

Nestlé Waters also manages more than 14,000 acres around its spring sources, providing watershed protection, wildlife habitat and open space benefits to local communities.

A Healthful Option
Bottled water also provides a healthful choice in hydration, particularly when consumers are on-the-go. Water is one of the few packaged beverages with no calories and sugar. When 70% of what Americans drink comes out of a bottle or can, people would undoubtedly drink more sugared, caloric beverages if bottled water weren’t available. Americans already consume nearly twice the amount of calories from beverages as they did a generation ago. Childhood obesity has increased 370% in the last 30 years. Today, 30% of Americans are obese, and many of the excess calories are coming from sweetened beverages.

Drinking more water, whether from a bottle or a tap, is a good thing. We are proud to provide a healthful and important beverage option, sourced from responsibly managed sources and produced with the environment in mind.

We salute the efforts of all of those involved in World Water Day. To learn more about our water management and policy support, please visit Nestle-WatersNA.com