Your bottled water habit is sucking California dry

If you’re reading this, chances are very high that your home has at least one — and maybe more! — magic appliance that produces clean water suitable for drinking. That’s one reason to avoid paying for bottled water.

Another reason? There’s a good chance the water you’re buying at the supermarket was bottled in California, a state currently enduring a severe drought.

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(Images via MotherJones)


The West has been suffering from a severe drought since 2013 and, in some cases, much longer than that. Conditions are particularly acute in California, where close to 60% of the state is experiencing “exceptional” drought after three years of below average rainfall. This is the worst category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, the regional drought has cost the West about 240 gigatons of surface to near-surface water, or about 63 trillion gallons of water. This is equivalent to covering the entire western U.S. with a four-inch layer of water, the study found.


From Dramatic Photos of California’s Historic Drought, one of 22 photos. A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State’s lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The magnitude of the California drought — in one GIF 

The stunning images above shows the effects of California’s drought on Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, a state park north of Sacramento. 

The photographs were taken three years apart: the green and hydrated version in 2011 and its parched sister in 2014. The lake has frequently been cited as a prime example of the drought’s destruction: “Currently at 32% of its total 3,537,577 acre feet,” the caption reads. 

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