In the best of situations, bottled water is an idiotic industry in the United States given the safety of municipal water supplies. This is not the best of situations:
Nestlé may bring smiles to the faces of children across America through cookies and chocolate milk. But when it comes to water, the company starts to look a little less wholesome. Amid California’s historically grim drought, Nestlé is sucking up an undisclosed amount of precious groundwater from a desert area near Palm Springs and carting it off in plastic bottles for its Arrowhead and Pure Life brands.
The Desert Sun reports that because Nestlé’s water plant in Millard Canyon, Calif., is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation, the company is exempt from reporting things like how much groundwater it’s pumping, or the water levels in its wells.
From The Desert Sun:
The plant … has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California’s drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it’s right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining.
Obviously the particulars here are complex given that there is a deal between Nestle and the Morongo, but the broader point is that this bottled water industry exists in a space without any knowledge from consumers about where the water comes from and it often comes from unsustainable sources in drought-prone areas. There is no good reason for it.