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Amid Drought, Some California Communities Are Forced to Rely on Hauled-in or Bottled Water. This Map Shows Where

Many small and rural communities across California are vulnerable to drought and water shortages as they lack the diverse water sources and infrastructure of big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. In some cases, these communities are forced to rely on bottled water or water hauled in from elsewhere, which experts say is costly and unsustainable.

Farley visits one of the new hydration stations in San Marcos. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Wags and Water

New Hydration Stations in San Marcos Save Water, Promote Sustainability

The City of San Marcos and the Vallecitos Water District partnered on a new project with funding from the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to encourage water conservation and reduce the use of plastic.

Five hydration stations have been installed in San Marcos parks to encourage the use of refilling reusable bottles during outdoor activities instead of using purchased bottled water. Both the City of San Marcos and the Vallecitos Water District are committed to reducing single-use plastics.

The new hydration stations help conserve water and avoid the production of single use plastic bottles. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The new hydration stations help conserve water and avoid the production of single-use plastic bottles. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The hydration station project received $25,000 in grant funding from the Water Authority and MWD to cover the purchase and installation of the stations and educational signage informing the public about the benefits of tap water over bottled water. The signage also offers several additional steps people can take to conserve water.

New stations encourage reusable water bottle use

“Adding hydration stations throughout the community has been a longtime goal for Vallecitos and is a step in the right direction to increase access to clean drinking water and reduce single-use plastic waste for environmental sustainability,” said Vallecitos board member Mike Sannella. Sannella accepted a proclamation from the City of San Marcos commemorating the partnership, making this project possible.

(L to R): Vallecitos Water District Board President Mike Sannella, San Marcos City Councilmember Randy Walton, Mayor Rebecca Jones, Councilmembers Maria Nunez, Ed Musgrove, and Sharon Jenkins, and Vallecitos Water District Board Jim Pennock. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Hydration stations

(L to R): Vallecitos Water District Board President Mike Sannella, San Marcos City Councilmember Randy Walton, Mayor Rebecca Jones, Councilmembers Maria Nunez, Ed Musgrove, Sharon Jenkins, and Vallecitos Water District Board Jim Pennock. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Each of the five new hydration stations features a quick-fill mechanism to encourage reusable water bottle use, a regular water fountain spout, and a dog bowl. Vallecitos worked with the City of San Marcos’ Public Works Department to install hydration stations at Mission Sports Field Park, Woodland Park, Bradley Park, Connors Park, and Buelow Park.

Bottled water is a wasteful convenience. According to the Water Footprint Calculator, it takes 1.5 gallons of water to manufacture a single plastic bottle holding 16 ounces of drinking water. All plastic drinking bottles are made from new plastic material, so there is no recovery due to recycling.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Column: You Do Know That, in Most Cases, Bottled Water Is Just Tap Water?

Since the start of the pandemic, thirsty Americans have drowned their sorrow in bottled water. Even before the coronavirus blew into all our lives, bottled water was, and has been for years, the No. 1 beverage in the United States, surpassing soft drinks as the choice of increasingly health-conscious consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated things.

According to a recent report from the International Bottled Water Assn., sales of bottled water exploded last year “as consumers stocked up in order to stay home amid the coronavirus crisis.”

Tulare County Takes Over East Orosi Water System

Help may be on the horizon for the about 700 residents of East Orosi dependent on bottled water. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has directed county staff to begin negotiating the scope of work and a budget with the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water for the county to take control of the East Orosi Community Services District public water system.

Of the thousands of water systems in the state, East Orosi CSD is one of just seven California water systems under a mandatory consolidation order by way of Senate Bill (SB) 88, which enables the state water board to order consolidations for water systems in disadvantaged communities that are consistently out of compliance.

Nestlé Doesn’t Have Valid Rights to Water it’s Been Bottling, California Officials Say

California water officials on Friday issued a draft order telling Nestlé to “cease and desist” taking much of the millions of gallons of water it pipes out of the San Bernardino National Forest to sell as Arrowhead brand bottled water.

The order, which must be approved by the California Water Resources Control Board, caps years of regulatory probes and a public outcry over the company’s water pipeline in the San Bernardino Mountains, where opponents argue that siphoning away water harms spring-fed Strawberry Creek and the wildlife that depends on it.

6 Alarming Facts About America’s Water Industry

America is one thirsty country. The U.S. consumes 322 billion gallons of water every single day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The most, 133 billion gallons, goes to thermoelectric power. Next is irrigation at 118 billion gallons a day. The last big category is the 39 billion gallons of water that go to personal consumption. That’s the stuff that cooks the pasta and wets the washcloths and cleans the car tires and pours down the drains of millions of showers, sinks and toilets every second of every day. And the following is just one little drop in that great, big bucket.

In the early 1990s, most bottled water came from small, regional companies. In the ensuing years, control of the market has become concentrated among just a few giant corporations. Today, No. 1 Aquafina and No. 2 Dasani each do more than $1 billion in sales.

Experts Distrust the Tap, but Prefer it to Bottles

There could be lead in your tap water. There could be PFAS in your bottled water. Microplastics might be in both. Do you choose neurotoxic heavy metals or carcinogenic “forever chemicals?”

That’s the predicament facing Americans every time they take a drink of water.

Water Company to Pay $5 Million for Hazardous Waste Violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5 million in fines for illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste, federal prosecutors said.

The Water is Contaminated. But California Bottled Water Program Isn’t Helping This Town

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May.

The state Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Americans Are Told to Wash Hands to Fight Coronavirus. But Some Don’t Trust the Tap

For the Chavez family and many others in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley, bottled water is the toilet paper of their coronavirus pandemic — an everyday necessity that vanished from supermarket shelves.