Giving Compass' Take:
- Cristen Hemingway Jaynes reports that California has ordered BlueTriton to reduce the water it takes from natural springs in the San Bernardino National Forest.
- What role can you play in protecting natural resources, including springs?
- Read about what an equitable water future looks like.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has ordered Arrowhead bottled water’s parent company BlueTriton to significantly reduce the amount of water it takes from natural springs in the San Bernardino National Forest. The company has been drawing water from the Strawberry Creek watershed, which provides protection from wildfires and serves as an important wildlife habitat, for over a century.
Community groups were happy with the ruling, saying BlueTriton never had permission to take the water from public lands.
“We’re incredibly pleased this unlawful removal of the public’s water from public lands will finally end,” said Michael O’Heaney, executive director of nonprofit Story of Stuff Project, as the Los Angeles Times reported.
In 1885, a hotel opened at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, and Arrowhead started selling its bottled spring water out of the hotel’s basement in 1906, reported The Guardian. However, according to community and environmental groups, the company was never permitted to take the national forest springwater.
The water resources control board cease and desist order does not completely prohibit the company from taking the water, just reduces the amount it can take.
“I understand a huge amount of money and business is at stake,” said Laurel Firestone, a member of the water resources control board, as the Associated Press reported. “It also is important for us that no matter how much money is involved that we are going to ensure that the laws of our state are upheld and that they apply to everybody.”
BlueTriton said it would sue to defend its water rights, arguing that it had been drawing from the springs since before the state started regulating water use in 1914, which meant it had seniority, reported The Guardian.
Read the full article about protecting natural springs by Cristen Hemingway Jaynes at EcoWatch.