Nestlé Boss: Close Plant? I'd Use More Calif. Water

Tim Brown: 'We feel good about what we're doing'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2015 7:20 AM CDT
Nestlé Boss: Close Plant? I'd Use More Calif. Water
This Jan. 21, 2015, photo shows a case of Nestle water bottles.   (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Kelly House)

Starbucks may have succumbed to pressure and moved its bottled water operation out of parched California, but Nestlé will "absolutely not" follow suit. In fact, despite demonstrations and a slew of online petitions (like this, this, and this) aimed at getting Nestlé to stop what it's doing, the company would, in a perfect world, boost the 700 million gallons of water it now uses. "If I could increase it, I would," says Tim Brown, who heads Nestlé Waters North America, in an interview with radio station KPCC. "The fact is, if I stop bottling water tomorrow, people would buy another brand of bottled water. We feel good about what we're doing, delivering healthy hydrating to people throughout the state of California," he said, per the Guardian. (In the same interview, NASA JPL's top water scientist points out that bottling water requires as much as 50% more water than turning on the tap.)

Brown says Nestlé wastes some 30% of the groundwater it draws from the state, but the company this week announced plans to cut that figure by 12% at its Bakersfield and Tulare bottling facilities—two of five in the state—for a savings of 26 million gallons. That isn't nearly enough to help combat "the worst drought we've seen in a long time," says charity Food & Water Watch. "It's irresponsible of the state to allow Nestlé to bottle water that's supposed to be a public resource," a rep says. "We're calling for a moratorium on bottling water for private profit." In an editorial for the San Bernardino County Sun in late April, Brown argued that "bottled water is not a contributing factor to the drought" and noted that the 700 million gallons Nestlé uses "is roughly equal to the annual average watering needs of two California golf courses." (Another big company is similarly under fire.)

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