Your Bottled Water Might Come From Parched California
Loose regulations, high demand keep bottlers in business
By Shelley Hazen, Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2014 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – The $22 billion bottled water business is rife with odd logic: It takes 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water, for example, and much of the nation's supply is being drawn from a state parched by drought, the Atlantic reports. Why, then, do we get so much of our bottled water from California? More than 100 bottled-water facilities operate in the state, taking advantage of a lack of groundwater regulations. "In other words, if you're a water company and you drill down and find water in California, it's all yours," writes Julia Lurie. Plus, state and local water-planning officials aren't privy to the details. "We have not been given any restrictions on tap water use for producing our bottled water," Essentia founder Ken Uptain tells CNBC. (About 55% of bottled is from groundwater and the rest is simply treated tap water.)

Three years into the drought, homeowners are being fined for water use and resources are dwindling—but water companies such as Dasani, Aquafina, and Cystal Geyser keep on bottling in California. Consumers demand it: Americans drink 29.2 gallons of bottled water each year on average, translating to 10 billion gallons and $12 billion in sales in 2012 alone. A backlash appears to be growing, however: "This industry has very successfully turned a public resource into a private commodity," says author Peter Gleick. And a Fordham professor puts it this way: "Bottled water is a massive profit industry for corporations that have limited responsibility to the local communities from which they draw water." (In related news, "BPA-free" doesn't necessarily mean your water bottle is safe.)

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Texas1
Aug 13, 2014 7:35 PM CDT
There is a bottled water sold that claims it is. From the mountain springs around Keller Texas. I lived in Keller. There are no mountains or springs around Keller. Also I use to do service work for a major national bottled water company. Claimed the water was from the springs of East Texas. In three years of going there. I never saw any water being unloaded. Just a water pipe coming from the city.
Hammy696969
Aug 13, 2014 3:36 PM CDT
Just goes to illustrate how stupid those liberal Californians are. In the midst of a horrific drought, they are exporting water !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Glen_Beck_is_a_Weenie
Aug 13, 2014 4:40 AM CDT
In addition to bottled water being a waste of money for the consumer it is also bad for the environment as this article states. As a hydrogeologist from the east coast I was shocked years ago when I learned that the Primary "Safe Drinking Water Standards" from the EPA or state environmental agencies, whichever is MORE stringent, that places MCL's (maximum contaminant levels) of various contaminants such as VOCs [volatile organic compounds], SVOCs [semi-volatile organic compounds], inorganic chemicals [mostly metals], radionuclides, disinfectants and disinfected byproducts [DBPs] such as trihalomethanes [THMs], and micro and crypto - organisms, that are allowed in "tap" water up to their respective MCL are often lower than the contaminant MCLs that are allowed in bottled water. In other words, bottled water is allowed to have some contaminants in their water that has a higher concentration compared to good old tap-water! Also, many bottled water sources are not from "the pristine settings" often pictured on the bottle. I know for a fact that one municipal drinking water well that is from a bedrock wellfield supplying piped tap water to its municipal residents and businesses also is used to fill up plastic bottles for its "pristine" drinking water consumer product, and this well has had numerous problems with MTBE from a groundwater contaminant plume originating from a gas station about 60-yards upgradient of the well!! [I designed the typical packed tower aeration stripper and two GAC [Ganular Activated Carbon] units to remove the MTBE and unwanted particulates, with UV lights for final stage disinfection. And there are plenty more wells that supply tap water as well as bottled water from the same source! In other words, some bottled water is the SAME water that comes out of your tap, the only difference is that tap water is tested more frequently, and has lower MCLs!. Doesn't make sense to me, but once I found that out I never bought bottled water again unless it was an emergency; I just use a Brita filter with a stainless steel water bottle.... Thus endeth our science lesson for the day....