Tribe leader: Nestle Bottled Water Plant a Good Partner

Tribe leader: Nestle Bottled Water Plant a Good Partner

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Friday, September 12, 2014 - 9:00am

CONTENT: Article

Ian James, The Desert Sun 12:16 a.m. PDT September 12, 2014

The chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians said Thursday that the Nestle bottled water factory in Cabazon is using water sustainably and responsibly, and that it provides important economic benefits for the area.

Tribal Chairman Robert Martin defended a policy of not releasing water usage data in the Cabazon area, saying that as in many parts of California, local water users – including the tribe and others – haven't been required to report such information.

"Most groundwater use in California isn't subject to any reporting, and I think we fall in that. We're not going to be held to a double standard where other authorities don't have to report and now you're asking us to report. We're not going to do that," Martin said in a meeting with The Desert Sun, held in response to a July 14 article that explored questions about how much water the Nestle plant is using.

Martin pointed out that the tribe has submitted reports on a portion of its water usage to the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District, where reporting is required because the groundwater supply has been adjudicated.

There are no such requirements in the Cabazon area, where the factory bottles Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water as well as purified water sold under the brand Nestle Pure Life. And some people in the area have questioned the potential impacts on the desert water supply, especially during the drought.

"We report our groundwater in neighboring managed basins, where it's fair and we're not at a disadvantage, and there's not a double standard," Martin said. "We're not opposed to reporting."

Martin attended the meeting with other representatives of the Morongo tribe and a manager from Nestle Waters North America Inc.

The bottling plant is operated by Nestle Waters, which leases the property from the tribe, and it has been drawing water from a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. The factory is one of five used by Nestle Waters in California, three of which are in Southern California.

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CATEGORY: Environment