Selling Tap Water in Plastic Bottles

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Consumers in California who buy bottled water from Safeway thinking it’s a healthier alternative to tap water may have to reexamine this assumption. The source of the Safeway store brand “purified” water is none other than the city of Merced in the Central Valley, which has been selling its tap water to a store-owned water bottling plant since 2002. The grocery retailer pays Merced approximately $1,000 a month for more than a million gallons of water, filters the water at its plant, and then resells it for just under $3 million

Safeway does not tell consumers that the water they’re buying is just reprocessed tap water, only that it was bottled in Merced. Consumer advocates and environmentalists complain that what Safeway is doing is part of a larger problem. According to the Sierra Club, companies like Nestle, Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola have been depleting aquifers and springs across the country in order to meet the demand for alternatives to tap water.
Lawmakers in the California Legislature may put a stop to the practice of Safeway and other businesses selling repackaged tap water without telling shoppers. New legislation (AB 301) would require bottling facilities to register with the state and disclose the source of their water on retail labels.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Merced's Water Bottled by Safeway, Resold at a Profit (by Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun-Star)


Breck 12 years ago
The FDA already requires companies to put the source of the water prominently on the label. Noel needs to do his homework . . .
Herbert 12 years ago
A rather strange idea that bottled springwater could as an "alternative" be replacing tap water. An average household is using more than 200 litres per day and per person (a worldwide average, in industrialised countries it is actually more), another 50-100 litres per day and capita of world population is lost thhrough leakage in municipal water distribution. Bottled springwater, calculated the same way, is not more than a few centilitres. The next thing Sierra Club will discover is that Lakes Meade and Powell are running dry because of bottled water. It is easier to have strong opinions when you try to avoid facts.

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