California water used as bottling source amid drought

Is bottled water drying up or flowing freely amid California drought?
CC BY 2.0 Rocky Lubbers

As residents suffer mandatory water cuts, water flows freely through a big loophole for beverage bottling facilities.

CBS Sacramento recently broke the news that Walmart sells Sacramento tap water in spite of the severe state of drought in California.

Walmart sells bottled Sacramento tap water at great profit amid California droughtCBS Sacramento/Screen capture

The new team shows the label of Walmart's Great Value brand water, indicating the municipal water supplier as the source of the water in the bottle. Never mind asking why consumers want to pay over 658 times as much for water that is guaranteed safe to drink from the tap. Residents in California are asking why bottlers and retailers like Walmart are allowed to make outrageous profits without any restriction of the same water subject to California's mandatory water cuts, announced last month and aiming to force water use down by at least 25%.

The Guardian adds to the investigation:

"Crystal Geyser, a bottled water company headquartered in San Francisco, announced it is opening a new plant near Mount Shasta, which feeds water into the Sacramento River. The company does not need to obtain a permit to draw the water and there is not a requirement to conduct an environmental impact report."

We've given Walmart kudos for initiatives such as solar power generation installations and fuel efficiency efforts. Call it greenwashing, brand-name protection, or just plain doing the right thing, Walmart is certain to respond to this situation by re-evaluating the impact of their bottled water source.

We suggest CBS Sacramento follow the chain even further upstream: where is the plastic for the bottling coming from? And where is the water used in manufacturing and processing that plastic coming from? Especially when times get tough, we need to look at the decisions we tacitly make in our everyday lifestyle choices. We bet consumers in California will be thinking twice about how their precious water resources are regulated.

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