Starbucks selling California water amid drought

May 1, 2015

water bankAmid the worst drought in California history, Starbucks is bottling California sourced spring water to sell in their coffee houses.  [Time]

Ethos Water was founded in 2002 in Southern California with a promise to help battle global water issues. For every unit it sold, it would donate a small amount of money to water charity projects in the developing world.

In 2005, Starbucks purchased Ethos Water. Now, for every $1.95 bottle of Ethos water it sells, Starbucks makes a 5-cent donation to the Ethos Water Fund, part of the Starbucks Foundation. “When our customers choose to buy Ethos Water, they’re improving the lives of people who lack vital resources,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in 2008.

However, Starbucks pulls water from private springs in central California’s Placer County and also operates a factory further south in Merced, where it uses local water sources at its production facility. Merced is currently ranked in the “exceptional drought” category by the US Drought Monitor.

While public officials throughout California are asking residents to conserve water, companies such as Nestles, Safeway and Arrowhead Spring Water draw California ground water to ship to other states.


The same Starbucks that wants to have a dialogue about racial relations? Are they just greedy businessmen like all the other corporate bastards?


And in the meantime, Starbucks is offering all of it’s 140,000 employees free college tuition to ASU’s online degree program. They are not all bad…now are they?

Kevin Rice

One of the worst stories CCN has ever posted. Bottled water is an extremely miniscule and irrelevant portion of the state:s water. Drinking is the highest order use of water. Pure nincompoopery to treat this as news, scandal, or of any import.


And so emerges “news editor” Kevin Rice with a rather banal observation about a legitimate news story. Mr. Rice, the back story here is that public resources are being conscripted for private profit, something that should suggest to you very local implications.

Kevin Rice

It comes as no surprise that a knee-jerk crazed anti-corporatist would fail to see the lack of substance in this issue, and would instead jump up to the evil profiteer soapbox.

Yes, the super-evil corporations are bottling water in convenient portable packaging so the public can stay hydrated and healthy on the go.

I can’t imagine a much more laudable product than one that fulfills the body’s #2 need — water — using the water that they pay for to provide for the public need..

But, to you, it’s just pure evil to provide such a thing.

So, please excuse me if I think you’re a jackwagon. And a fool for being so utterly gullible as to skip over the fact that this use doesn’t even measure as a drop in the bucket, but still make hay over it due to your political religion.


I can understand someone complaining about using water to grow alfalfa in Imperial County for sale in Japan, but bottled water? Really? That has to be 0.0001% of the water use in California. Nothing. And that’s for ALL the bottled water companies put together.


Who gives a rats ass if there selling California water, what bout all of the car dealers that wash there cars daily, what about the city that continues to water all the parks, what about the beverage companies in California that use water..Starbucks is in the beverage business and that requires liquid water…when I see my state and local officials cutting back theI I will stop ranting, you have Firestone & The Barrel house Brewery sucking water from one of the most valuable aquifers but I don’t hear anyone mentioning them…


1. Does this surprise anyone?

2. Consumers hold exceptional power – if only they would use it.


They are using it.


“Starbucks selling California water amid drought”

Oh the horror!!!!!!!!!!!


The fact that California does not have enough water to soften the effects of a predictable historical and typical drought is a failure of governance. Don’t blame Starbucks that’s silly. Call Sacramento.


You can’t fix greed. Plastic bags were banned due to the environment, yet I see no one trying to ban plastic bottles which are a far more wide spread and bigger environmental threat. Ban the plastic bottles and some of this will go away.

People, get a stainless steel water bottle and bring your own water. It’s so simple I have a hard time understanding why more people don’t do it. Better yet buy two and always leave a full one in your car, in case you forget to bring one. Water stays fresh in stainless steel, unlike plastic bottles.

It’s a win win.


This article is a summary of an original article in Mother Jones. Normally, I disagree with about half of the Mother Jones articles, but they are the only ones really writing about the California drought. Odd, that our own Ca. newspapers/magazines are not covering the drought like this publication.

Other articles from

For the First Time, California Is Enforcing Water Restrictions

While cities must reduce their water use by a quarter, farms just have to report more information.

Invasion of the Hedge Fund Almonds

It takes a gallon of water to produce one almond. And that’s not the most insane fact about the mad dash to plant the thirsty trees in the middle of a catastrophic drought.

It Takes How Much Water to Grow an Almond?!

Why California’s drought is a disaster for your favorite fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

It Takes HOW Much Water to Make Greek Yogurt?!

Dairy products require a whole lot of water—and many of them come from drought-ridden California.t


Ok. You want to cut water for agriculture. Where are we going to get the food from? What about the peoples jobs that rely on the ag industry? What about the landowners that invested thousands of dollars per acre in a 30 year investment for almond trees? Where is the money going to come from for these farmers to make their loan payment if you let the trees die? Are we still going to let people have green lawns, golf courses, lawns in parks? Gov. Brown, like him or not, made a decision on which direction the state should go and I actually agree with him on this one.


I read the Mother Jones article. Good overview. I calculated that Almonds use 1/2 gallon per almond, not 1 gallon but still that’s a lot of water.

Regarding Fracking (or steaming) for oil wells, the oil companies would love to use fresh tater for these operations but they aren’t allowed to. An oil well typically pumps more water than oil. Some of the wells around here pump only 1% oil and the rest is water. The oil companies are REQUIRED to inject the water back into the formation they took it out of. Remember, these formations are typically 1,000’s of feet deep and are in no way connected to potable ground water (that’s how the oil was able to form). So, in order to steam (or Frack, although few wells are fracked in California as we don’t have the correct geology for it like back East), the oil companies spend Millions of $ cleaning up the water (separating the oil from the water, softening the water) and re-inject the water as steam. Bottom line, the Oil Companies use NO potable water for their operations (other than for fire protection or office and restroom use). So why do people keep bringing it up as if they did?