Corporate Greed Forces First City In California To Run Out Of Water


Most intelligent human beings on Earth pay heed to statements or events that indicate impending danger, a serious problem, or other unpleasant situation; particularly if a warning originated from several credible sources. It is really an epic shame that most Americans are not remotely the “most intelligent human beings” on Earth, because their stupidity prohibited them from heeding the decades-long warning from hundreds, if not thousands, of credible sources (climate scientists) that the wanton use of fossil fuels drives anthropogenic climate change. What is stunning is that despite the mountain of scientific research and empirical data, real extreme weather events, and devastating drought conditions, there are still climate change deniers and their Republican heroes who oppose steps to reduce the effects of climate change all in the name of corporate greed. For several California cities, that corporate greed is finally paying dividends, and not the good kind, leaving them without water.

For the past year meteorological experts, NASA, and hydrologists have been warning that the exceptionally severe mega-drought plaguing California would dry up the state’s water supply within two years. One California town began running out of water in May and is now bone dry and many more are following suit. In an area with the most fertile soil in America’s most productive agricultural region, the city of East Portersville is without water, and over 500 wells supplying the life-sustaining necessity for residents and farmers have completely dried up. Residents now have to drive to the local fire station, hand-pump water into barrels, and take it back home to drink, bathe, and flush the toilet; this in an area near what was at one time the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes.

The county announced that it may be several years and cost $20 million before a new groundwater management program, which includes a hookup to other water systems, goes into effect. It will certainly be far too little too late because the other water systems will dry up long before any new program can be completed. In fact, dozens of communities report they are “on the verge of running out of water,” and many say their water supply will be exhausted within 60 days; if they are lucky. There are also 14 communities on California’s “critical list” that have started trucking in water and expect that what precious little they have will not last much longer. Across California, all 154 of its reservoirs are below 50% of their historic average and that estimate is being extremely generous according to images of the state’s lakes and reservoirs.

To make matters worse, as if that is possible, what little water the state has available is being poisoned by the oil industry due to fracking; particularly in the Central Valley where East Porterville is located. This past July state regulators shut down eleven fracking wastewater injection wells because they were suspected of being responsible for contaminating water wells and shrinking aquifers with toxins and carcinogens; particularly in highly productive agricultural areas. After the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) ordered a report to assess potential damage to groundwater supplies, they revealed that the oil industry did poison the dwindling water supply for agriculture and human consumption with no regard for the health and well-being of the people; or financial devastation to agriculture. Agriculture, by the way, that is responsible for providing food for a large portion of America and the world’s population, and as their water supply dries up, food costs are going to rise exponentially.

Adding to the loss of water due to oil industry greed and pollution, is the corporate greed driving Nestlé’s extraction and bottling of Californians’ water; water they sell back to parched consumers and the state to distribute to Californians in poorer rural regions. It is tantamount to water-theft because unlike farmers, individual Californians, and every municipality in the state, Nestle is exempt from complying with state water-saving efforts or regulations because they are pumping water on Native American reservations. Nestlé’s disregard for Californians’ water needs was expressed by the former CEO and current Chairman who exhibited the mindset driving corporate greed.

According to Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, water is not a basic human right, and that if human beings get thirsty they have to pay Nestlé for bottled water. It takes the term corporate greed to a new level to, on the one hand, pump California’s water supply dry, bottle it, and then sell it back to thirsty Californians. Nestlé has a history of going into rural areas and extracting groundwater to sell in bottles “completely destroying the water supply without any compensation.” In one rural area of California suffering from the drought, Corporate Watch documented that Nestle “actually makes rural areas foot the bill” for taking the water and selling it back to consumers; most likely in the California towns where the wells are drying up.

Although California’s “exceptionally severe” drought is only in its fourth year of at least a decade long duration, it was predicted more than three decades ago. Climate scientists have been warning for thirty years that if fossil fuel emissions were not curtailed, ocean temperatures would rise, weather patterns would change, and one of the worst effects would be devastating droughts. Still, the oil industry and corporate greed funded successful attacks on environmental and climate scientists’ warnings they claimed were “liberal hoaxes” and “attacks on the oil and gas industry.” The result has been no action to reduce carbon emissions driving anthropogenic climate change responsible for California and the Southwestern U.S. droughts.

Republicans are as responsible for California’s drought as the oil industry and corporate greed because not only do they still deny climate change is driving the drought conditions they are campaigning to roll back environmental regulations; particularly those reducing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. They are also adamant that America needs to help the Koch brothers, American oil exporters, and a Canadian company increase its profits, and climate change’s damage, by building the KeystoneXL pipeline. It is a rupture-prone pipeline that will traverse America’s agricultural heartland, over critical aquifers, and through areas suffering droughts in the Southwest en route to the Gulf Coast.

California may not be the first state to suffer from the effects of global climate change, but the effects on agriculture will be felt across the nation as food prices increase; and they will increase. However, for the California cities watching their wells dry up and no prospect for even an average rainfall, food is not their primary concern; water to bathe, drink, and cook with is. While they are forced to use hand pumps and use containers to carry their water like tribal people in poverty-stricken third-world villages, one hope they reflect on why they consistently voted for Republicans whose devotion to satisfying corporate greed is why they have no water.

39 Replies to “Corporate Greed Forces First City In California To Run Out Of Water”

  1. I’m in Michigan, and Hoekstra, when he ran for Senate, was all for drilling in Lake Michigan. He lost. But we have tracking, and we have people bottling our precious water. When will we wake up? The GOP is all about profits NOW. They don’t care what happens later. For all their rhetoric about ‘burdening our kids and grandkids,’ they care nothing about them. Our grandkids will be paying more for water than we have ever paid for gas, that is if they can find any. Can you imagine going back to outhouses because we have no water for toilets? We must vote in competent,c wring Democrats before it is too late. And STOP the tar sands crap from entering our country, by train or by pipeline. We don’t need it. Let Canada figure out how to refine it and ship it, on their own soil. We will be fine down here, and maybe, live a few more decades without dying from dehydration. Or maybe the GOP ideal is having women walk five miles with a four gallon jug on their heads?

  2. This is in a word,catastrophic. California supplies billions of dollars in food yearly. It supplies products that use water in the processing. California is a huge part of our economy in so many ways.

    Nestle is our problem across the US. Stop using their products. Shut them down. Nestles is NOT a basic human need.

    Get the Buycott app for your smart phone, buy nothing from frackers and Nestle

  3. Well East Porterville, they say all politics are local. So what did you expect to happen when all your reps are republicans led by Kevin McCarthy the Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives.

    But since he isn’t a scientist he wont tell you why you have no water. So I guess you have ask exactly what did $215,400 in bribes from oil and gas buy?

  4. California is too little and too late in addressing the water problems. To add to that in the area where I live – east of Modesto – countless acres of grazing land has been converted to nut orchards. Since this acreage does not have access to surface water huge wells have been installed to water the orchards. There are no restrictions and no monitoring of this underground water use. And yet on the outskirts of the small city we live in shallow wells are going dry and we have a serious problem.

  5. Oh, I’m sure they’ll think up some lie blaming those dirty hippy liberals for the lack of water.

    Being a Republican means dying before ever admitting you made a mistake.

  6. Nestle tried their damndest to get their greedy hands on the water of the McCloud river – a gorgeous pristine river near my old home town of McCloud. They even bribed the City Manager to push it. They would answer none of the locals concerns or questions about limits on how much they planned to take. It was pretty clear that they wanted to take unlimited amounts to the point of drying it up. The town stood up against them, although there were protestors for Nestle as well. They stopped them cold & repeated efforts failed so they finally gave up & left. That’s when they moved on to the Native Reservations who foolishly believed their lies.

    PS – The City Manager was fired. Good work all around.

  7. Seeing the depth of corporate greed I’m almost led to believe that the Soviets had the right idea. Forget breaking up the banks, have them bounced out of town on Bane’s kangaroo court from the Dark Knight. It’s too good for the likes of Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

  8. That’s why LIBERAL California needs to pass props 1(saves water) and 2 (creates a rainy day fund) to help save what’s left of what the republicans have done to this beautiful state.

  9. California is Americas produce department.

    California ranks first in the United States for agricultural cash receipts followed by Iowa, Texas, Nebraska and Illinois.

    California grows over 200 different crops, some grown nowhere else in the nation. Crops include grapes, almonds, strawberries, oranges and walnuts.
    California produces almost all of the country’s almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. It leads in the production of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries. Only Florida produces more oranges.
    The most important vegetable crops grown in the state are lettuce and tomatoes. Again, California leads the way. Broccoli and carrots rank second followed by asparagus, cauliflower, celery, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Only Texas grows more cotton than California.

  10. I know that area. My Mother lived in Weed for many years. McCloud is beautiful and wonderful. I am so glad that Nestle had to turn tail.
    I have lived in Oregon for the past 14 years. Nestle has tried to corrupt and steal water from our beautiful and pristine Columbia Gorge for years. It ain’t over yet, I hope we can run this “profits over People” company out of our state, and out of our country.
    I have boycotted Nestle for over 20 years. I read the label of everything I buy and I know Nestle and it’s corporates, and I will not give them a dime. They are murderous, at best. They have killed thousands of real babies (not zygotes) in third world countries because of their greed.
    When Gerber got caught selling brown sugar water as infant apple juice, it was a scandal, but who bought Gerber? You guessed it, Nestle. Gerber is doing better than ever, in reality, that deceptive fraud should have been their demise.
    Nestle must be stopped.

  11. Joey!
    Me too! They are probably the MOST corrupt of all!
    They really have no conscience, at all!
    Thank you for the link for all to see. I hope it makes many others boycott this “profits over people” corporation.

  12. My bad! It was Beech-Nut that was selling the sugar water as apple juice!
    But, guess what? Nestle owned Beech-Nut at the time. So, in order to legitimize themselves in the baby food world, Nestle bought Gerber.
    Nestle is PURE EVIL and only knows profits over people.

  13. Nestle is the type of ruthless megacorporation I would normally expect to read about in a cyberpunk novel. And the developing situation in CA looks like the beginnings of a dystopian sci-fi novel.

  14. Unphuckingbelievable! Why are these CEOs not buried somwhere in the desert? Why don´t we have liberal gun crazies? I know liberal and gun crazy is an oxymoron, but where is a good loony when you need one?

  15. The author does not say how “republicans” are to blame for drought. Only that they are deniers and therefore are responsible. Also, the author gives the impression that Nestle goes into these small towns and pumps the water out from under them. There is no factual proof offered, just conjecture.

    AT NOT POINT does the Author any solutions, it’s just a litany of finger pointing, and “blame” which is the clinical, medical and psychological definition of DYSFUNCTION.

    When we see an author or citizen or official or yes, even a President “blaming” others, than we always have to realize that the person is not operating with rational and healthy thought patterns, but by dysfunctional thought patterns, and often behaviors that need to be corrected.

    This Author would have to undergo some sort of treatment or therapy to get out of this pattern. For instance, can she/he/it go say one day without blaming someone else for her/his/it’s issues or problems?
    I tweet at @Pron…

  16. Evidently you haven’t been paying attention to what is going on. I suggest you stop kochsucking and turn off fox

  17. So basically no one is ever to blame. makes sense

    I suggest you look up Nestles, then understand what an aquifer is. I know you can do it. DOnt come back until you have been educated

  18. Oh my….just looked up all their products, had no idea they had their hands in so much…..I’m a current comsumer! Will find alternatives. :(

  19. Does all of your investigating cut off after 140 characters too? You’re sooooo informed, are you the Mayor of Murrieta, CA? (you’re promoting yourself, you’re out “here” with all of this info, and still, you are clueless?) I think you prove the author’s point.

  20. WTF? Water is not a basic human right??

    I checked the UNDHR for this, and it’s not there. However, Life, liberty and POH is.

    Water is life, therefore water is a basic human right.

    However, a right to earn a profit and steal from people does not exist. Nestle has a long history of corruption, including forcing formulas on young nursing moms in Africa (until their milk dries up) without appropriate instruction or access to clean drinking water with which to make it. Babies are dying because of their greed.

    And so should the CEO. He’s too stupid to live.

  21. The fastest, most economical and environmentally friendly way for California to solve its water problems is and will forever be desalinization. The report stating twenty years for new wells and connections can be achieved in just a few if they get off their asses and do it. The technology is readily available. If Saudi Arabia can do it for their entire country, California can do it for the state. The resources and the need is definitely there, but is the political will? The residents approved modest tax increases for education and other societal necessities, including shoring up the budget, how many would not support life sustaining water?

  22. I recall being taught in high school, even waaaay back in the 70s, that water would become the most valuable resource.
    And the Dirty 30s *should* have taught us about land use.

  23. So many people on this comment list want to blame Nestle or (R). What about all the people that let this happen? What about all those buying products grown in California? What about the MAJORITY that elected those (R)? The people need to fight this stuff and they almost never do.

  24. I notice that most of the comments on this article are regarding Nestle. What about the fact that Gov. Brown accepted $250,000 from big oil to allow fracking in California? What’s even more upsetting is that his opponent is a member of the Tea Party.

    Fracking in California is about as smart as drying a poodle in a microwave. Consider what fracking has caused in Oklahoma: numerous earthquakes, not to mention what the toxic waste is and will cause. It was reported that 4 billion gallons of toxins from fracking were dumped into California’s drinking water supply.

    Well, it just goes to show what our politicians are worth nationwide. I’ve asked Congress over and over again why the criminals of the 1% haven’t been arrested and tried for treason and sedition and the best they’ve come up with are reproachful statements from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with the approval of their few supporters.

    Guess what! It’s our fault. Speak up or dehydrate and EARTHQUAKE!

  25. Good lord….the US doesn’t have top worry about outside enemies taking the country down. We as Americans are allowing a handful of criminals in the US, to do it for us. lol

  26. For many decades, California has hoarded and mismanaged water supplies it appropriated from neighboring states. Bloated with false security born of an artificially inflated water supply in the past, the state has failed to manage its water resources until this crisis point was reached. Now we will see all the “emergency” restrictions and increased costs passed on to the public, instead of having had a water resources management plan all along. This kind of “shut the barn door after the horse has run out” thinking is responsible for most of California’s problems. The immigration issue will similarly bite the state in the behind one day soon. Drunk with power, the California state government fiddles while their state burns. Phony climate change hysteria has nothing to do with it. I’ve watched news reports and video of wildfires and drought damage in California since I was a little kid in the late 1950s. Stop blaming the bogeyman and grow up and act like adults for a change.

  27. ” I’ve watched news reports and video of wildfires and drought damage in California since I was a little kid in the late 1950s.”

    Mr. Cadiddlehopper fails to remember that for decades, the primary concern was mudslides, caused by too much rainfall. But we haven’t had a mudslide in at least ten years. Why not? Very little rainfall.

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