As you may be aware, our part of the country is in an extraordinary drought. The Raleigh-based Pepsi plant, though, continues to bottle Aquafina and ship it out of state. The local newspaper and governments say it’s no big deal since Pepsi uses less than 1% of the water, but that is 1% — millions of gallons — that rightfully belongs to local citizens and should stay here to meet our needs.
This crisis should really be exposing the bottled water industry for the scam it is. Think about this the next time you buy a bottle of Aquafina: Not only are you paying an exorbitant price for a bottle of tap water that is no more pure or filtered than the water out of your own tap, but it likely comes from a drought-stricken region living under emergency water restrictions. Last time I checked, a 16-ounce bottle of Aquafina cost around $1.50. If the utilities tried to charge the equivalent to residential customers, they’d have a riot on their hands.
Now we are about to enter Stage 3 water restrictions, which includes, among other things, asking restaurants to serve on disposable plates and cups and requiring businesses to supply hand sanitizer so people can forego washing their hands. And yet there is no mention of asking Pepsi to stop bottling Aquafina in our area.
It is time we started treating fresh drinking water as a precious natural resource that must be wisely managed, conserved and used, rather than a commodity that big businesses can do whatever they like with. And it is time we stopped supporting the ridiculous bottled water industry that makes an obscene profit off the deprivation of ordinary citizens. We have to let our governments know that they serve the people’s interests, not Pepsi’s.