REM Starbucks is Selling California Spring Water amid drought conditions

Starbucks is Selling California Spring Water amid drought conditions

As the Golden State battles one of the worst droughts in recent memory, Starbucks owned bottled-water company is drawing on precious springs of California to sell water.

According to a report by Mother Jones, Ethos in California is continuing to sell locally sourced spring water at almost $2 per bottle from private springs in the Northern California town of Baxter.

It is bottled in Merced at a plant owned and operated by the Safeway grocery chain. The company also operates a factory further south in Merced, where it uses local water sources at its production facility.

According to federal authorities, both areas are in territories that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

The irony is that for every bottle of Ethos water Starbucks sells, 5 cents is donated to the Ethos Water Fund, which supports water, sanitation, and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries.

California has entered the fourth year of severe drought. Farmers in the Central Valley are struggling to keep crops watered as wells have died. Since, government water allocations have been reduced or terminated many have decided to leave acres of their fields uncultivated.

A resident at a city council meeting in Merced, Calif., "You might think that in the midst of a drought emergency, diverting public fresh water supplies to bottle and selling them would be frowned upon".

A Starbucks spokesman told Mother Jones that the water comes from a private spring source that is not used for municipal water for any communities.

However, according to a geologist who was interviewed by the magazine said that the communities can be affected if water is captured and pulled out before it ever makes it' to downstream users.

Ethos/Starbucks is not the only water-bottling operation in the state. Nestle has also been criticized for bottling tens of millions of gallons of Sacramento water.