BlueTriton Brands (formerly Nestlé) Spring Water Extractions in San Bernardino National Forest
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), Division of Water Rights (Division) received several water rights complaints and an online petition against Nestlé Waters North America (Nestlé) starting in April 2015. The complaint allegations included diversion of water without a valid basis of right, unreasonable use of water, injury to public trust resources, and incorrect or missing reporting, all regarding Nestlé’s diversion of water from springs at the headwaters of Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) for bottling under the Arrowhead label. Many of the complainants emphasized their concerns about the impacts of Nestlé’s diversions during California’s recent historic drought.
Division staff conducted an extensive water rights complaint investigation, which included an evaluation of the spring water sources in the SBNF, Nestlé’s historical water rights claims, and a visit to the spring sites, which are located in remote rugged mountain terrain. Division staff issued the 2017 Report of Investigation (ROI) on December 17, 2017 and solicited comments on the 2017 ROI from the public until February 9th, 2018. Commenters provided significant new information and investigatory leads which required additional investigation. The additional investigation resulted in substantive changes to some of Division staff’s 2017 findings and determinations. On April 23, 2021, Division staff issued Nestlé a revised ROI and Draft Cease and Desist Order. BlueTriton Brands (BTB) notified the State Water Board on April 27, 2021 that an investor group had acquired Nestlé on March 31, 2021 and that Nestlé had changed its name on April 12, 2021 to “BlueTriton Brands, Inc.”
UPDATE 3/30/2022! Information regarding administrative hearing added.
The Administrative Hearings Office (AHO) is an independent unit of the State Water Resources Control Board created in 2019 to conduct neutral, fair, and efficient hearings on water rights matters.
BTB requested a hearing after the Division issued a Draft Cease and Desist Order on April 23, 2021. The AHO accepted BTB’s hearing request and initiated the hearing on January 10, 2022
Report of Investigation and Draft Cease and Desist Order
The 2021 Report of Investigation was issued on April 23, 2021 accompanied by a Draft Cease and Desist Order to address alleged violations identified from the revised investigation.
Documents related to the 2021 Report of Investigation are available here:
- 2021 Report of Investigation and Draft Cease and Desist Order transmittal letter
- 2021 Report of Investigation
- Attachments to the 2021 Report of Investigation
- Draft Cease and Desist Order
- Response to Comments on 2017 Report of Investigation
Documents related to the previous 2017 Report of Investigation are available here: