Nestlé is planning to reduce water usage in its bottling plants in California, amid protests against its operations in the drought-hit US state.

The company is investing in a inique technology at five water bottling plants and four food or petcare products manufacturing facilities to reduce water usage in a phased approach.

It will optimise the processes, reuse the water, deploy various methods to extract water from raw materials and then recycle it, as part of its strategy to reduce water usage.

Nestlé operations head José Lopez said: "Technology we have already deployed successfully elsewhere in the world to help address the challenges of water scarcity will improve our water use efficiency, relieving pressure on California’s water resources."

"Technology we have already deployed successfully elsewhere in the world to help address the challenges of water scarcity will improve our water use efficiency."

As part of the initiative, approximately $7m has been invested in the company’s Modesto facility, which will not use any local freshwater resources for its operations.

This project is expected to save nearly 63 million gallons of water annually, equivalent to 71% of absolute withdrawals last year.

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As a result of planned investments in water conservation measures, Nestlé Waters’ bottling plants in California are expected to save 55 million gallons of water annually.

California currently uses nearly 13 trillion gallons of water every year, of which Nestlé’s nine plants use less than one billion gallons.

Earlier this year, an online petition called on ceasing Nestle‘s water bottling operations in the state after a media investigation found that the company is illegally drawing water from springs in southern California.

In March, a Nestlé Waters North America bottling plant in Sacramento was closed for a day due to protests from local people.

Image: Nestlé Waters’ bottling plant in Cabazon, California. Photo: courtesy of Nestle.