Nestle says it will use less water at California plants

May 18 14:02 2015

The company that packages Arrowhead and Nestle Pure Life drinking water will reduce the amount of water it uses at bottled water plants and other factories in California, it has announced. Nestle will invest in technology to save water at plants that produce products ranging from condensed milk to ice cream and products for pets, the company said in a statement Tuesday. It did not detail how much it will spend.nestle-building

It is working to convert a milk factory in Modesto, Calif., to a “zero water” plant that can extract all the water it needs from milk. A similar plant opened in Mexico last year, and Nestle said it has invested about $7 million in the project in Modesto. Nestle said it also plans investments this year at its bottled water plants in California and projects to reduce their water use by about 8% compared to last year.

“Like everyone else, we have to adapt, and so doing our part is really looking to how we can improve,” said Jane Lazgin, a spokeswoman for Nestle Waters North America. California is in the fourth year of a statewide drought but also has had below-average precipitation for eight year, except for 2011, according to weather records. Statewide, Nestle Waters has said it used about 705 million gallons of water from all sources in 2014. The company’s water use in the state has been growing along with its sales of bottled water.

Between 2011 and 2014, the company’s water use in California increased 19%, according to figures that Nestle provided. Nestle and other bottled water companies have faced growing criticism during the drought as some Californians have voiced concerns about the potential effects of the plants on local water supplies and spring-fed streams. Nestle SA, headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, is the world’s largest food company. Subsidiary Nestle Waters is the world’s biggest bottled water company and also the largest bottled water producer in the United States.

The company runs five bottling plants in California — in Livermore, Los Angeles, Ontario and Sacramento, as well as in Cabazon on the reservation of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Nestle bottles spring water drawn from 11 locations in the state as well as purified water pumped from municipal water supplies and said it has invested in projects in the past five years to cut water use and also reuse water in its plants. “We are focused on how to adapt our bottling and our manufacturing operations, and our supply chain, to make them more resilient and more resistant to drought conditions,” José Lopez, Nestle’s head of operations, said in the company’s statement.