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Your Bottled Water Might Be Coming From Drought-Stricken California

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A waste of water *and* pollution! (Photo by Sundogg via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr.)
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California is in the middle of a historic drought, which means we all should be conscientious of our water usage. Navy showers, brown lawns, and petitioning to prevent really fun giant Slip N Slides all go a long way towards easing the burden. But there's probably one activity that most people don't realize they should cut back on: the consumption of bottled water.

Four major national brands of bottled water source at least a portion of their water within California: Aquafina, the century-old Arrowhead, Crystal Geyser, and Dasani, While Arrowhead and Crystal Geyser both use groundwater sources for their product, Aquafina and Dasani quite simply sell tap water that has been treated and bottled. Why does so much bottled water come from California? Because that's where some of the brands have been for a long, long time, says Mother Jones.

Another reason why California remains a key source of bottled water is the lack of regulation over the use groundwater, making it a free-for-all to anybody that has the capacity to tap into underground sources. About 55% of the market comes from groundwater sources.

According to the International Bottled Water Association, the average American consumes just over 30 gallons of bottled water a year. Doing a little dirty math, that comes out to about 650 Americans for one Slide The City event. With such a voracious appetite for purchasing packaged water, the bottled water industry made almost $12 billion in 2012.

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Bottled water is an inefficient use of water. A liter of bottled water always uses more than a liter of water after manufacturing costs. Dasani acknowledged to Mother Jones that 1.63 liters of water are actually used for ever liter of water packaged, but added "Our California facilities continue to seek ways to reduce overall water use."

Drought considerations aside, bottled water adds the further costs associated with excess packaging. Why create more garbage to package what you already get out of your tap?

But no matter what you do to cut back on your water use in the middle of this crisis, you still won't make a dent as large as the agriculture industry in California (especially almonds!), which accounts for 80% of the water consumption in California.