One bottling company’s vague policies have sparked discourse on the relationship between California’s drought and bottling water in California. How much groundwater are these companies using? Would it affect the drought if these companies no longer bottled? Who oversees groundwater usage rules? Which companies in California use the most water for these purposes? These are questions that have been asked frequently during the eruption of conversation about bottling water and the drought. Let’s take a further look into the conversation…
It started with Palomar Mountain Spring Water, a bottling company based in San Diego County and located on Palomar Mountain. How bottled water companies work is that they buy land located on large reservoirs of groundwater and use the water to bottle and disperse to the community for a fee. These resources do not have limits; “The spring is also not subject to the kind of drought restrictions that are causing residents across San Diego County to let lawns brown and leave toilets unflushed,” says Morgan Cook from the Union Tribune. It is also uncertain how much groundwater is being used by these companies for bottling purposes because they are not required to release information about usage of the springs that they own.
-But wait, shouldn’t that be public information? ‘”The complaints that we don’t really know what they’re doing, the complaint that they’re taking a public resource and commercializing it at a great profit- these are all real problems…,” says Peter Gleick who is the president of a water think tank in Oakland.’ The Union Tribune posted this and other thoughts about this in their article No Drought Rules for Bottled Water, which was released today (6/8/15).
Another issue that the article brought up was the fact that Palomar Springs is just one of many bottling companies that have taken advantage of the fact that bottled water natural resources are unrestricted. Six companies in the San Diego area alone are included in this category, of which draw from resources like the Lakeside springs, Palomar Mountain area, Santee, and private wells. And because these companies have the right to not have to report the amounts of water they use, no one knows which companies are using more than others.
All of this being said, bottled water is not the ultimate source of the California drought. Although these companies may be helping to exacerbate its severity, the drought situation in California derives from many other sources, including natural disasters (forest fires, earthquakes, and storms), climate change, and human impact on the environment.
If you’d like to learn more about the article in the San Diego Union Tribune, check out their link below. If you’d like to learn how you can help the environment save and recycle water, visit filtercon.com for more information.
San Diego Union Tribune, “No Drought Rules for Bottled Water”. 6/8/15. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/jun/08/tp-no-drought-rules-for-bottled-water/2/?#article-copy