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Little Oversight as Nestle Taps Morongo Reservation Water

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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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Found this article on The Desert Sun's (Palm Springs, CA news) website and found it interesting enough to post and discuss, here.


Among the windmills and creosote bushes of San Gorgonio Pass, a nondescript beige building stands flanked by water tanks. A sign at the entrance displays the logo of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water, with water flowing from a snowy mountain. Semi-trucks rumble in and out through the gates, carrying load after load of bottled water.

The plant, located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians' reservation, has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California's drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it's right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining.


Apparently, the plant is on the Morongo Indian Reservation. The Morongo Tribe leases the plant to Nestle (aka Nestle Waters North America), who bottles the water under two different brands, Arrowhead Spring Water and Nestle Pure Life.


Over the years, the Morongo tribe has clashed with one local water district over the bottling operation, and has tried to fend off a long-running attempt by state officials to revoke a license for a portion of the water rights. Those disputes, however, don't seem to have put a dent in an operation that brings the Morongo undisclosed amounts of income through an agreement with the largest bottled water company in the United States.


I am not one to support the involvement of government in private business issues, however, this particular subject is concerning. The drought in southern California is only worsening and there seems to be no end in sight. Nestle, up until 2009, used to submit reports to the local water district that illustrated how much ground water they were using from the spring in Millard Canyon. Neither Nestle, nor the Morongo Tribe, have submitted those reports since then. The Desert Sun, according to their article, has made repeated attempts to tour the plant but the Morongo Tribe has not granted their request.

It's important to note Nestle, according to it's website, says it has 29 bottled water facilities in the US and Canada, with annual revenues that totaled $4 billion in 2012! The plant in question, which is one of the largest of its type in the US, is certainly contributing to that revenue. The bottled water industry is not the only source of income for the tribe, they also run the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.

At least they are thinking about the environment, somewhat anyway. The factory is partially powered by wind turbines that tower above the I-10 freeway, one with an Arrowhead logo on the huge spinning blades. I remember seeing this feature last year during our trip to Palm Springs. At least now I know what I was looking at!

Due to the circumstances, I am not sure if there is a "fix" for this issue. I really don't want to see our government get involved with tribal matters, but it irks me that both Nestle and the Morongo have not submitted any documentation to the local water districts since '09. They could be pumping an insane amount out and bottling it for profit and, in the mean time, literally pumping Cabazon's aquifer dry.



If water weren't being pumped and diverted from Millard Canyon for the bottling plant, that water would boost groundwater levels in the canyon and would gradually spread downhill into the Cabazon basin, Davis said, likening the aquifers to "separate bathtubs." The next aquifer downhill is the Coachella Valley aquifer, on the other side of a similar geological barrier.

"In a wet period, the Cabazon basin is basically going to fill up and it's going to flow over that underground weir," Davis said. "The water that overflows is going to end up in the Coachella basin."

Cabazon's aquifer, however, has been far from overflowing in recent years. The Cabazon Water District says the aquifer is in decline, with more water being pumped out than is flowing back in.


I know that this plant is not the cause of, or the only issue related to the severe drought in SoCal, but this is very concerning. The fact that a Swiss company is profiting from bottled water, sourced from an area that is experiencing a severe drought is upsetting. To me, it is extremely sensitive issue both from an environmental and economic view point.

I fell IN LOVE with the desert when I was there. I felt good, loved the dry, arid air and the people were some of the nicest I've ever met. Truth be told, I thought I would love to live there someday. However, the severe drought (and border crisis) will probably stop me from ever doing that.

Link to the article from The Desert Sun: LINK




posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 10:57 PM
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Someone had a thread on Nestle saying that businesses should control the water. Makes sense, they will have us all bottle fed. Control the water control the world.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:02 PM
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The bottled water industry likely has as much financial interest in keeping efficient desalinization technologies suppressed as big oil does in suppressing cheap energy.
There is no shortage of water on this planet. We just have to figure our way around all that pesky salt.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:08 PM
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a reply to: lovebeck

By any chance did you see one of my posts today re Nestle and the ground water they've been stealing for years and sell back to us? Weird coincidence.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:09 PM
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a reply to: lovebeck
Water Rights!
Big Business...for lawyers.
I think they'll keep obfuscating the crucial issues...and keep these issues/cases in the courts - ForEver...
One state (farmer, rancher, county, etc...) is awarded the right to do whatever they wish/choose with the water that has been running under/through/over their land/s since the beginning... Dry up the lands downstream... Then, advertise - "come visit our beautiful lakes, streams, waterparks" - to those that used to live in the lands watered by these sources.
I would love to purchase some land upstream of one/some of these underground springs - tap into the stream before it arrives at the Water Plants...and watch them scream bloody murder.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:20 PM
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a reply to: lovebeck

Good Stuff.
Keep it going.

S&F



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:21 PM
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a reply to: FlySolo

That IS weird. But, great minds think alike!


No, I honestly didn't see your post. I actually went to The Desert Sun site just to check out the weather temps/humidity and the article caught my eye. Where I am, it is just kinda gross outside tonight and that's what got me thinking about Palm Springs' weather.

It's strange how we can go on the WWW for one thing and end up reading and learning about something entirely different!



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:30 PM
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originally posted by: WanDash
a reply to: lovebeck
Water Rights!
Big Business...for lawyers.
I think they'll keep obfuscating the crucial issues...and keep these issues/cases in the courts - ForEver...
One state (farmer, rancher, county, etc...) is awarded the right to do whatever they wish/choose with the water that has been running under/through/over their land/s since the beginning... Dry up the lands downstream... Then, advertise - "come visit our beautiful lakes, streams, waterparks" - to those that used to live in the lands watered by these sources.
I would love to purchase some land upstream of one/some of these underground springs - tap into the stream before it arrives at the Water Plants...and watch them scream bloody murder.


We have a natural spring behind our house. It's pretty far from the house so we don't have any standing water in the yard, but over the years the area where the spring is has turned into a mini pond! If I could figure out how to put a tap, or whatever its called on it, I'd totally do it and still share it with the birds and other critters, too. Of course I'd have it tested, etc., but it's crystal clear and there is never a bad odor coming from where the little pond is, so I have to assume it's pretty good water!



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:43 PM
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a reply to: lovebeck
I've been involved with (worked with) multiple people looking to capitalize on the "fresh water" market...
Don't know what to suggest.
Gotta measure the flow, the quality...
Might want to consider the effects on downstream lands... (up to you, of course)
Also - might want to verify that you own the minerals beneath your land... (or - determine how deep your ownership rights go)
One of the men I knew working on such a project (on his family's land)...died before getting the deal/s he wanted/needed...leaving those that had been working with him...high and dry.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: WanDash

It would be more for just personal use...I doubt its enough to bottle and sell, lol. Lord knows theres enough of that going on already!



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