Nestlé Waters North America Statement Regarding U.S. Forest Service Arrowhead Permit

To Press Releases listJun 27, 2018

Nestlé Waters North America appreciates the time and effort the U.S. Forest Service dedicated to this decision regarding the permit renewal process at Arrowhead Springs. We will carefully review the specifics of the decision, and will continue to comply with all permit requirements. Our cooperation throughout this process includes conducting and providing the USFS with 70 separate environmental studies and reports.

Californians are passionate about water and so are we. We take our responsibility as a California water steward seriously and Arrowhead's successful operations for more than a century point to our commitment to long-term sustainability.


Does NWNA agree with the USFS’s decision to renew the permit without further environmental review, pursuant to NEPA?

We are pleased that, following extensive studies and review of information and public comment, the USFS has determined that our continued operations would not have a significant effect on the environment. Water from the Arrowhead Springs has been sustainably bottled for more than 122 years, and our ability to supply this spring water to our customers for more than a century is a testament to our commitment to long-term sustainability. 

In 2017, approximately three-quarters of the mountain spring water Arrowhead sourced in California was distributed in California. We will continue to work with local communities and other California partners to ensure the state has a strong water future. 

How do you respond to critics who say this decision does not reflect public will? Especially since the USFS said they received many comments objecting to NWNA’s withdrawals in Strawberry Canyon?

We value the positive relationships we’ve built with the residents and community leaders where we’ve operated for many decades. Water is an emotional issue, and we appreciate that people everywhere feel passionately about it. We also respect the volume of comments received by the USFS during its process and the manner in which the USFS has responded to these comments in crafting its decision.

We are focused on ways that we can be good partners with the residents and leadership in the communities where we live and work. And we will continue to be strong caretakers of the water and our surrounding environment, as well as to be strong contributors to the local economy.

Is the company opposed to the Forest Service proposal of an “adaptive management plan” that could limit the amount of water used under some circumstances? 

Last year, we voluntarily proposed an Adaptive Management Plan to the USFS. This plan provides transparent, science-based methods for managing water collection at Arrowhead Springs and adjusting our operations when conditions meet interim triggers. We look forward to reviewing the Adaptive Management Plan suggested by the USFS.

What steps are you taking to conserve water in California?

We are committed to doing our part to innovate and conserve to ensure California has a strong water future, whether or not the state is in a drought. We have partnered with the Cucamonga Valley Water District in Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County to support a groundwater treatment project which is expected to restore approximately 250 million gallons of additional clean drinking water each year to the local water supply. 

We have also implemented the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard in all five of our California bottled water factories as part of our leadership in water conservation to ensure water use is sustainable for the long term. The AWS certification is a rigorous global standard developed by NGOs, leading development organizations, and industry leaders to ensure long-term, sustainable water use. Taken together, aligning with the AWS Standard at our five California factories has generated a combined savings of more than 50 million gallons of water in the past year.

As part of our ongoing commitment to California, Nestlé also helped launch an unprecedented coalition that brings NGOs like The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund together with corporations like Nestlé to develop and support innovative conservation and restoration projects, called the California Water Action Collaborative. We look forward to continuing to work together with Californians to do our part to protect the state’s water future.

Why does NWNA continue to bottle water in California?

As consumers continue to seek healthier beverage options, demand for bottled water has grown. In fact, bottled water is the No. 1 beverage product in the U.S. by volume for a second year in a row, growing to 13.7 billion gallons in 2017 – a 7 percent increase over the previous year.  We adjust our operations to minimize our carbon footprint wherever possible. One way we do that is by bottling water locally as much as we can – in fact, last year, approximately three-quarters of the bottled water NWNA sourced in California was sold within California. 

How do you respond to critics who say that your bottles are contributing to the vast amounts of plastic waste in our environment?

We are working to increase our use of recycled plastic (rPET) across all our domestic bottled water brands. For example, all single-serve sizes of our Arrowhead® Brand Mountain Spring Water and Nestlé Pure Life bottles produced in California are made using 50 percent recycled plastic. NWNA also recently announced the introduction of a 700-mL bottle made from 100% recycled plastic in its Nestle Pure Life Brand as a next step in the company’s goal to continually increase the use of recycled materials.  

CarbonLITE estimates that, since 2012, the 86 million pounds of recycled plastic associated with NWNA have saved 69,660 tons of carbon emissions versus the use of virgin plastic. This is the equivalent of 39,000 round trip flights from New York to Los Angeles or taking 13,349 cars off the road for a year.

In addition to our investment in recycled plastic, Nestlé Waters and Danone have joined forces with Origin Materials, a startup based in Sacramento, California, to form the NaturALL Bottle Alliance. Together, the three partners aim to develop and launch at commercial scale a PET plastic bottle made from bio-based material, i.e. 100% sustainable and renewable resources. The project uses biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust, so it does not divert resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption.