Tag Archives: arrowhead

Nestle’s Calistoga Water Bottling lays off 78% of Workers

Recent Industry Layoffs Raise Questions About Economic Sustainability

When Nestle dangles the promise of jobs to economically depressed rural communities, a rarely asked question is “what happens to those jobs if the bottled water market tanks?”

To 78% of Nestle’s Calistoga workforce, it’s suddenly very clear.

The Calistoga Beverage Company (a Nestle company) just announced it was laying off more than three-quarters of its workforce – the result of a staggering bottled water market (from the Weekly Calistogan):

Feeling a ripple effect from high fuel prices and a tight financial market, Calistoga Beverage Company announced the layoff of 78 percent of its workforce.

“We’ve been experiencing a softening in demand of bottled beverages for some time,” said Calistoga Beverage Company’s Director Chris Canning early Wednesday. “As a result we’re taking action to reduce our workforce.”

This announcement comes on the heels of PepsiCo’s announcement it’s laying off 3,300 nationwide and closing 16 plants. Given the battering the bottled water market’s taken at the hands of a growing consumer movement and a bad economy, even the industry itself suggests more layoffs are coming soon:

“As much as we hate to admit it, ours is a disposable income product,” Canning said. “When times get tough people focus more on meeting their basic needs.”

We’re saddened to see so many workers losing their jobs. To the residents of a small rural town which had built its economic base atop a single industry, a blow like this would be staggering. In fact, it’s the same scenario McCloud already experienced when its timber industry faded away.

Coupled with PesiCo’s massive layoffs, Nestle’s layoff forces us to ask the question: In the face of soaring transportation costs (fuel) and significant questions about the viability of the market, how economically sustainable are bottled water jobs?

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California Legislation Proposes Reporting of Bottled Water Data

In the “it’s about time” department comes news that legislation requiring public disclosure of the amount of water bottled in California awaits Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature.

From the SFGate site:

Assembly Bill 2275 is a step in that direction. The legislation requires public disclosure of the source and volume of California’s water that is bottled every year. This information is crucial to help policymakers make responsible decisions about the ways in which our most precious resource should be allocated.

There are more than 100 bottled-water facilities operating in California. While each of these facilities report the amount of water extracted from groundwater sources to the state Department of Public Health, this information is neither compiled nor made available to local and state decision-makers who are responsible for water planning. This bill would allow them to have access to that information. The State Water Board, who is doing a full inventory of its water rights, is making a similar effort.

Later, the opinion piece – written by State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes and Mark Schlosberg (California director of Food & Water Watch) – even makes special mention of our favorite water bottler:

Bottled water facilities near Mount Shasta have divided local communities who are concerned about corporations such as Nestle, which owns Arrowhead Water, abusing their water resources.

Knowing how much waters is being bottled (and where) is the first step in truly defining the impacts water bottling has on our water supply.

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