Why Bottled Water Comes From California, Which Can't Spare Much

The Atlantic:

Why Bottled Water Comes From California, Which Can’t Spare Much

Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record. The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.

The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water—the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home—and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)
But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.

The map above shows the sources of water for four big-name companies that bottle in California. Aquafina and Dasani “sources” are the facilities where tap water is treated and bottled, whereas Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead “sources” refer to the springs themselves.
In the grand scheme of things, the amount of water used for bottling in California is only a tiny fraction of the amount of water used for food and beverage production—plenty of other bottled drinks use California’s water, and a whopping 80 percent of the state’s water supply goes toward agriculture. But still, the question remains: Why are Americans across the country drinking bottled water from drought-ridden California?

I’ve often teased friends and co-workers that they are just paying for someone else’s tap water (and even spring water isn’t necessarily better than tap).
I work in Albany, NY which has excellent municipal water – where I live, a couple towns away, not so much which is why I have a Britta pitcher.

Anybody here a bottled water drinker, and why? You’re just adding billions of plastic bottles that have to be manufactured.

One big plus for bottled water; the article states it requires 1.6 liters of water to make 1 liter of Coca-Cola (and I assume other sodas).

I have pondered this as I drunk Nestle “Resource” water, which is spring water from a source in northern California. That state is so huge that the only way to relieve the central and southern drought may be to construct massive aqueducts running southward from the north. But, that takes money and California has spent itself into the poorhouse.

In my case, I live on an under-capacity, non-trustworthy water source. For consumption, I rely primarily on commercially purified water in my own re-used 5-gallon jugs. I am heavy into recycling, not as a secular green, but simply as a conservative Catholic.

Interesting posting; I live in NY as well; have a well for my water, but drink bottled water, which for some reason I assumed came from Maine or Pa. But it goes to show you learn something new everyday! :slight_smile:

Brita filters. The way to go. You can get personal water bottles with filters at Best Buy and other sources online.
If you want to watch something really interesting about the plastic industry, there is a documentary called “BAG IT”. It has some eye-popping info about plastic bags and plastic water bottles in particular. Gross.
One of the things they point out is that even though some people make a big deal of recycling plastic bottles, most of the water bottles can only be recycled twice. Not indefinitely. And the caps are not recyclable (or at least at the time of the making of this film) and kill wildlife at an alarming rate because they mistake it for food. .
Check it out.

Its surprising to me that the average citizens in CA must deal with water restrictions, but its OK for huge companies to continue using massive amounts to sell all over the country…??LOL Maybe if CA regulated how much water large industry can use daily, it would ease the problems of regular citizens?

I think the whole ‘bottle water’ fad is about to go bust anyway, its long overdue…I remember when someone would be laughed at for buying or seen drinking a bottle of water, they were seen as snobby people for whom, tap water was not good enough, then it became more and more popular to buy bottled water, but recently its going the other way, seen as wasteful , along with the plastic bottles becoming a problem. Id say this ‘fad’ will be gone within 3-5 yrs.

Its a shame we cant find a good use for the all the empty plastic bottles, surely there is some use for all these…? I can only think of one, but take some effort on a person…I used to collect old plastic soda and water bottles, rinse them out, and donate them to local animal shelters, apparently these are perfect toys for the dogs and cats to play with while at the shelters, they can be easily thrown out and replaced once used up too. I did this for years, giving large garbage bags of empty plastic bottles to 2 local shelters…maybe if we could do this on a larger scale.?

:frighten: WHY?! So we can set if FREE man … DUDE, spare the water!

How would YOU like to be pushed into a bottle for the rest o’ yer life?

Or made to cleanse the insides and outsides of dirty people all the time (in this overcrowded fascist state).

:eek: - WHOA! Just flashed back to great emotional diatribes of the California '70s.

"Somebody STOP me. - Jim Carrey, “The Mask”

Bottling water in northern California has nothing to do with southern California’s problems. Different aquifers, some of which as are as far as 800 miles away. An 800 mile radius from Los Angeles reaches to parts of Oregon, Idaho. Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and the entire state of Arizona. Are those states to blame, too? No, and rightly so. Neither should it be blamed on northern California.


For persons unfamiliar with California, these massive aqueducts were built decades ago. They devastated the regions which were deprived of water, but which allowed southern California to flourish. Los Angeles would be a small fraction of its current size if it were required to depend on its local water sources.

You can’t alter the hydrology of a region without unpleasant side effects. What LA did to the Owens Valley and Mono Lake, the Soviets did to the Aral Sea. A somewhat different scenario, but similar principle, is what the US Army Corps of Engineers did the the Mississippi River by straitjacketing it with levees.

As for the misuse of water in California, bottled water is a bit player. Granted, exporting water from California is ironic.

To quote the old commercial, “It’s not nice to foll Mother Nature.”
People, especially in cities, don’t realise that they are living in environments just as artificial as a moon colony. NY City has good water because aqueducts bring it from the Catskills. As a member of the Upstate Liberation Army it might find it amusing to see those aqueducts . . . disrupted for a week or month*.

SoCal is a natural semi-desert but for all the projects you mentioned, now it is an agricultural powerhouse. Not to mention Utah & Arizona.

I can’t find it right now but back in the 1860s someone did a map of the American West based on hydrology, thinking (hoping?) it could serve as a guide for future settlement. That didn’t work out what with the 19-20th century mindset of conquering Nature with the highest accomplishment being to make the deserts bloom.
Well, we’re paying for the past now.

  • to all Federal agencies, that was a joke. There is no Upstate Liberation Army, or if there is, I have no knowledge of it.

I drink botteled water even though I have a well on the property. The previous owner changed the oil in his vehicles and just poured the used oil out on the ground. Breaking God knows how many laws in the process. So the water comes out with motor oil in it. When on the patio you can see the rainbow colored oil in it. This still happens even after 10 years.

BTW, I used to shop at Albertsons and they sold paper cartons of water with French writing all over the boxes. But read the fine print and the water really came from Chicago and it’s ‘source’ was LAKE MICHIGAN!

I remember reading an article a while back about how in Africa they are using plastic bottles to make houses. You can read more about it here:


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