Protesters demand Nestle halt water bottling in drought-hit California

(REUTERS) - About a hundred protesters gathered outside a Nestle water-bottling plant in Los Angeles on Wednesday (May 20) to demand the company halt bottling water in California, which is in the fourth year of a serious drought that has prompted the state's first-ever mandatory cuts in water use.

Holding signs reading "Nestle: Leave California's precious water in the ground" and "Nestle, stop stealing our water", the vocal group of protesters chanted "take our petition".

Laura Leavitt, with protest organizers Courage Campaign, said Nestle's bottled water was being exported out of state and called Nestle's practices irresponsible.

In a letter to the Courage Campaign released to reporters, Nestle President and CEO Tim Brown said the company was working to improve its production efficiency to use less water and anticipated saving 144 million gallons of water per year as a result of new technologies.