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Starbucks Under Fire For Drawing Bottled Water Supply From Drought-Stricken California

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Starbucks is under scrutiny after it was learned a bottled water line the company owns is sourced from springs in the Sierra of drought-stricken California.

A bottle of Ethos water shows a map of the world on its label, but it turns out the water didn't make a long trip to get to a Midtown Sacramento Starbucks. It was pumped out of Placer County and bottled in Merced.

DROUGHT SERIES: California: A State Of Survival: A five-part look at how the drought is affecting California

The company that serves a $5 latte is now under fire for its Ethos bottled water line.

"It shouldn't be coming out of a place that has a drought, that is prone to droughts," said water activist Bob Saunders.

He's recently taken aim at Sacramento's Nestle water bottling operation, and he's says Starbucks should be ashamed of its own work.

"Companies are trying to privatize water, the thing about it is, when do they get to decide who gets water and who doesn't," he said.

Starbucks' water comes from private springs, not public water sources. But geologist Mary Scruggs with the department of water resources says just because it's private doesn't mean it's not affecting the state's water supply.

"If there is too much water water being pulled out up gradient, or up stream, then it won't make it down to the other wells or the springs," she said.

She says it also depends on how much water is taken.

Saunders wants a moratorium on bottling water in California, and at least one state lawmaker is listening.

"We should be looking at all these issues that are being raised, and so I've asked a couple of colleagues in the state Assembly who directly deal with water to start brainstorming what the state's role can be," said Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella).

Starbucks released a statement on Friday:

"We are now looking at alternative sourcing solutions for Ethos water outside of the state while still meeting our commitment to those in need in the developing world."

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