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Starbucks Will Relocate Its Bottling Operations Because of Drought

On Thursday, Starbucks announced that it would be moving its water bottling operations out of California which has been plagued by a drought for the past four years. It will move production of its Ethos Water brand to Pennsylvania. Starbucks already has operations in that state that serve the East Coast. It will look for new facilities that can serve the West Coast.California’s drought is getting worse. Almost half the state is suffering exceptional drought, the most severe type. 99.8 percent of the state is in some kind of drought. Researchers expect the drought to continue and expand.

Water bottlers like Starbucks have come under increased scrutiny because of the drought, as CipherCloud points out. The magazine Mother Jones pointed out that while Starbucks did give money to charity, its Ethos Water came from Placer County and was bottled in Merced County, both of which are suffering exceptional drought. Some citizens question the ethics of diverting public water supplies to companies that bottle and then sell the water.

While Starbucks is leaving, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Pepsi and Crystal Geyser are keeping their bottling operations in California. Nestle and Coca-Cola both plan to step up their conservation efforts. The director of Food & Water Watch California, Adam Scow, argues that the state government should impose a moratorium on for-profit water bottling. He adds that corporations have not been asked to reduce their water use while private citizens have.

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