Should Bottled Water Industry Be Banned in California?

Swiss food giant Nestlé might be forced to shut down its water bottling plants after Eddie Kurtz, the executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign has petitioned the California Water Resources Control Board regarding Nestlé’s water consumption. The company (as well as many others) is using the bottled water industry to bottle for profit water that they pipe from public lands, pump from the desert and draw from municipal water supplies.

While citizens are asked to watch and reduce their own water consumption, the company’s 5 bottled water plants and 4 food factories in the state collectively consume about 1 billion gallons of water each year, which amounts to 0.008% of the 13 trillion gallons of annual water use in the state. However, a shutdown of operations in California will not fix the drought, as Nestlé explained on their website.

Bottled Water Industry and Water Use

Despite the bottled water industry’s size, the amount of water used is relatively tiny compared to tap water volumes. According to the UCLA Institute for Environment and Sustainability, at almost 80%, agriculture is the largest user of water in the state, followed by urban residential use at 13%. Have you ever wondered what the water footprint of products we purchase is? High water use can also be less obvious. For example:

  • 1 pound of beef – 1,799 gallons
  • 1 pound of chicken – 468 gallons
  • 1 ounce of chocolate bar – 200 gallons
  • 1 pound of potatoes – 119 gallons
  • 1 egg – 53 gallons
  • 1 apple – 18 gallons
  • 1 slice of bread – 11 gallons

Bottled water is a very efficient water user, as 100% of it is intended for human consumption. Conversely, only about 2% of tap water is used for human consumption, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Drinking bottled water is a healthy choice, reducing the overall beverage environmental footprint and keeping people away from unhealthy soft drink consumption. Also, bottled water is comprehensively regulated by the FDA, which has regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water at least as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water.

How Is Bottled Water Made?

Many bottled water companies use public water sources for their purified bottled water products, thus supporting a strong public water system, which is important for providing people with safe drinking water. Many people believe that purified bottled water is just plain tap water in a bottle, but, once the water enters the bottling plant, there are several processes employed to ensure the water meets the FDA purified water standard. Bottled water treatments may employ one or more of the following processes:

  • reverse osmosis
  • distillation
  • micro-filtration
  • carbon filtration
  • ozonation
  • UV light treatment

The finished water product is then placed in a bottle under sanitary conditions and sold. In an era where more and more people are concerned about their water quality, an excellent business to consider is a water store. Dime Water Inc. provides a range of water store/water bottling units and we build them in a variety of different sizes, anywhere from 1000 gallons a day up to 100.000 gallons a day. Call us today at 760.734.5787 for specifics.

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