(RTTNews) – The U.S. Forest Service has granted Swiss food giant Nestlé a three-year permit to continue to draw water from the San Bernardino National Forest.
Nestlé Waters North America, which sells bottled water under Arrowhead brand, will be allowed to keep taking water from the Strawberry Creek watershed, however, the use could be restricted if the state’s drought condition worsens.
Nestlé has 60 days to decide whether to accept the terms of the offer.
Nestlé says it took an average of 62.6 million gallons of water from the San Bernardino spring each year from 1947 to 2015, but a two-year investigation by California’s State Water Board found that it lacked legal permits for much of that water.
In 2015, the Forest Service was sued by environmental and public interest groups, who accused Nestlé of being allowed to operate its Strawberry Creek pipeline on a permit that expired 30 years ago.
According to the Desert Sun newspaper, Nestlé had been operating under a permit issued to the Arrowhead Puritas Waters Inc. in 1988. Arrowhead Puritas was acquired by Nestlé in 1992.