Bottled water companies are drinking California dry. Big-name companies, like Aquafina, Dasani, Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead source their water straight from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record.
Mother Jones released the map below, indicating the locations across the United States where these big-name companies are getting their water from, either through ground water collection or from the municipal water supply. The majority of the water comes from all across California, but also other dry states, like Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.
Since these companies are well-aware the Golden State is very, very dry, why aren’t they reducing their collection? “You have to remember this is a 120-year-old brand,” Arrowhead’s Jane Lazgin told Mother Jones. “Some of these sources have long, long been associated with the brand.” Other brands have also been established in California for more than a century.
California is the only western state without groundwater regulation, which is a bottled water company’s dream. Whatever water the companies find when they drill into the ground, they are legally allowed to use. “This industry has very successfully turned a public resource into a private commodity,” scientist Peter Gleick wrote on his blog. Companies also aren’t required to publicly disclose exactly where their sources are. Gleick, author of Bottles and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water, writes, “I don’t think people have a clue — no one knows” where their bottled water comes from.
As long as the companies keep making a profit, it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop sourcing from the driest areas in the country any time soon. Sales are continuing to boom, and in the next decade might even surpass the sales of carbonated soft drinks, The New York Times reported. In 2012, in the United States alone, bottled water sales revenues were $12 billion.