Following complaints against Nestle during California's 2015 drought, the State Water Board began investigating the company's use of the states water resources. After the two-year assessment was complete, the board found that Nestle may be extracting more than 54 million gallons on average each year than it is legally permitted to obtain.
"While Nestlé may be able to claim a valid basis of right to some water in Strawberry Canyon," the board says in its report, "a significant portion of the water currently diverted by Nestlé appears to be diverted without a valid basis of right."
California has given the company 60 days to submit a compliance plan and 90 days for an investigation and monitoring plan.
Water from the headwaters of Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest has been bottled since the late 1800s — and Nestle had told California regulators that the claim to the water by the original owner of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel had extended through the years to the Swiss multinational.
Water Board officials did not agree, saying that while the hotel's use was riparian — taking place at the water's origin — Nestle couldn't convert that to an "appropriative use."