Record Gazette Staff Writer | original article
The Cabazon Water District has shut off the water supply to the Nestle Waters North America bottling plant in Cabazon.
However a spokesman for the company said it will not affect business at the facility “at all.”
Larry Lawrence, Natural Resource regional manager for Nestle Waters North America, said the bottling plant has already switched to an alternative water source.
“I am a little surprise by all the attention since we negotiated a plan termination date as of three weeks ago,” Lawrence said.
“We were prepared for this. This is not going to cause a shut down of the plant.”
The water supplied by the district is used to operate the plant and not for bottling.
The shut-off took place Wednesday morning.
Cabazon Water District officials said the action, involving a company best known for its production of Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water products, is a result of an impasse involving negotiations with Nestle Water to extend water service outside the boundaries of its district to the bottling plant.
Despite Lawrences’ comments, Calvin Louie, general manager of the Cabazon Water District, said terms of an agreement were set forth and the company was given until June 15 to reach an agreement with the district. Louie said he received a call from Lawrence on the night of June 15 expressing his regret that an agreement could not be reached.
The district has been providing the plant, on average, with 2.4 million gallons of water a month, Louie said.
“We’ve been serving the plant without a (written) agreement since 2001,’’ said Louie.
Although the terms of the agreement were not divulged, officials said it involved “reasonable rates” and some “reimbursement” back to the community on terms or issues the company promised nine years ago when the district began to serve the plant.
The Arrowhead water bottling facility was built in 2003 at a cost of $26 million on the Morongo Indian Reservation.
The venture, developed through a partnership with the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, initially involved the sale of spring water to Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.
Then handled through the Perrier Group of America, the product was distributed throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.
The facility, the largest water bottling plant in the United States, employs an estimated 260 workers.