For the past eight years, the Story of Stuff Community has vigorously supported a campaign to end the removal of water for bottling from southern California’s drought-parched San Bernardino National Forest by Nestle Waters and its successor, BlueTriton Brands.
Now, California’s Water Board is on the verge of approving a Cease & Desist Order against BlueTriton that would end its water theft once and for all, returning tens of millions of gallons of water annually to public control.
We're on the verge of a big win. You can help get this historic order over the line by adding your name to this letter to the Water Board. We're gathering thousands of signatures in advance of their meeting. Then, we’ll submit the letter by the public comment deadline, bringing thousands of voices into the boardroom in support of public water.
Winning this campaign would send a powerful signal that water is a life-giving, shared treasure, not a commodity to be traded and sold by private interests.
Watch our 2015 short documentary and learn more about this campaign:
Dear Members of the California State Water Resources Control Board,
We, the undersigned, urge you to adopt in its entirety the proposed Cease & Desist Order issued by the Division of Water Rights Permitting & Enforcement Branch under Water Code section 1831 to BlueTriton Brands, Inc. (successor by name change to Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.).
We believe that the draft Cease & Desist Order is well supported by the evidence and follows a rigorous and fair hearing of BlueTriton Brand’s appeal by the Board’s Administrative Hearings Office.
What is now exceedingly clear from the Water Board’s own staff investigation, as well as evidence uncovered and introduced by concerned citizens, is that BlueTriton Brands and its predecessors have been taking water to which they have no valid right for nearly a century.
The result has been a misrepresentation to the people of California and the United States that has been egregious in both its scope and in its harm to our shared resources.
Despite BlueTriton Brands’ claims to the contrary, the Water Board is well within its authority to regulate the BlueTriton Brands diversions in the San Bernardino National Forest; neither BlueTriton nor its predecessor companies perfected any pre-1914 water right, as they have claimed for decades; and the arguments they continue to make about their right to this water are aimed at sowing confusion and forcing a delay of the inevitable: namely, the loss of unfettered access to a valuable natural resource to which BlueTriton, without a basis in reality, feels entitled.
Simply put, one cannot sell what it does not own. And BlueTriton does not own, nor does it hold a right to, the water in Strawberry Creek. For that reason, we urge you to take the important step of adopting the draft Cease & Desist Order in its entirety.
Further, we ask that you request that the Division of Water Rights Permitting & Enforcement Branch issue a new Report of Investigation and draft Cease & Desist Order to:
(1) Establish that Springs 10, 11, and 12 (The Cienaga Springs) are within the Water Board’s jurisdiction and that BlueTriton Brands has no pre-1914 right to the water from the Cienega Complex because it has no pre-1914 right to any water in Strawberry Canyon;
(2) Ensure that both the public trust and reasonable use issues that were not a subject of the original Report of Investigations and draft Cease & Desist Order have the hearing they deserve; and
(3) Pursue the maximum fines and penalties allowable by the law against BlueTriton Brands and its predecessors for their unlawful diversion of water.
We deeply appreciate and honor the public service of those charged by the people of California with preserving our state’s water resources and would like to extend our appreciation to both you and the Board’s staff for your diligent work.