Writing Comments to the Water Board

The State Water Resources Control Board has made their investigation known, and has told Nestlé their practices must change. There is even a set of deadlines for compliance, and the Board has notified Nestlé it has the authority to ensure compliance.

Our Forest Service, in the hands of Judy Noiron, was sent a request to look into this and protect our water and the people of our community. This is how she responded:

Until the State Water Board issues and order there are no compliance issues for the Forest to address.  The permit Nestle holds from the Forest Service requires them to comply with state law.  We would take action if Nestle were in noncompliance with the permit.  The questions you are asking would be more properly addressed by the State at this stage.  The State has their own enforcement authority related to water rights.  

 Thank you for your interest in the Forest.

Here is the local address:

Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor,

602 South Tippecanoe Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 382-2600 (voice)
(TDD/TTY dial (800) 735-2922)


This is the letter written by the Story of Stuff to Ms. Noiron:

Dear Supervisor Noiron,

I’m writing on behalf of my organization, The Story of Stuff Project, several of our partners, and a group of local stakeholders in San Bernardino to request a  meeting with you to discuss the Forest Service’s plans for managing Nestlé/Arrowhead’s ongoing, unauthorized diversion of water from the San Bernardino National Forest.
As you know, investigators with the state Water Resources Control Board issued a report in late December 2017 finding that Nestlé/Arrowhead has failed to establish a right to the vast majority of the water it is removing from these public lands. The Water Board concluded that “while Nestlé may be able to claim a valid basis of right to some water in Strawberry Canyon, a significant portion of the water currently diverted by Nestlé appears to be diverted without a valid basis of right.” The Water Board went on to state that “Division staff recommends that Nestlé immediately cease unauthorized diversions.”
The Forest Service-issued permit under which Nestlé/Arrowhead operates its pipeline infrastructure requires that the permittee establish that it has a right to the water it removes. Given the findings of the Water Board’s investigation, we believe it is in the best interests of the habitat, surrounding communities and the citizens to whom these resources rightfully belong that the Forest Service immediately require Nestlé to cease its unauthorized diversion of water.
For the past three years, citizens throughout California and the country have expressed deep concern about Nestlé/Arrowhead’s operation in San Bernardino and watched closely as the Forest Service considers the company’s application for a new permit. Our hope is that an in-person meeting will enable us to represent to you the concerns of these hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens and to better understand the Forest Service’s plans for resolving this matter.
I would be happy to discuss this request by phone or in person and to facilitate the planning of a meeting with you and any member of your staff. Our hope is to organize a meeting as soon as possible, at your convenience.
Thank you both for your service and for your consideration of our request.
Michael O’Heaney

Note the tone and content. Use YOUR story about how drought and water shortages have changed your life. Make the comments respectful, but firm. Make your requests obviously within the power of the agency, and equally obviously to the benefit of the entire community.

Here is the national address:

USDA Forest Service
Sidney R. Yates Federal Building
201 14th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Here is the Regional address:

Pacific Southwest Region(Google map)
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
Voice: 707.562.8737
TTY: 707.562.9240
Fax: 707.562.9130


Here is the contact at the State Water Resource Control Board (the best bet we have under the current Administration in Washington D.C.)

Victor Vasquez
Senior Water Resource Control Engineer
Enforcement Unit 3, Division of Water Rights
State Water Resources Control Board

If you write to the Board, remember they are our only allies, so treat them with the respect due an ally!