According to a report by CBS13-Sacramento, retailing giant Walmart is purchasing cheap water from the Sacramento water district in drought-stricken California for less than a penny per gallon, and then selling it to consumers for slightly less than a dollar.
While other bottled water retailers - including Starbucks which sells Ethos-brand water -- are moving their water-sourcing out of California, Walmart continues to use water from the state.
California is currently undergoing the worst drought in the state's history with the recent snowpack at 5 percent of its historical level.
The Sacramento Municipal Water Supply sells the water to bottler DS Services of America for 99 cents for every 748 gallons— the same rate as other commercial and residential customers. That water is then bottled and sold by Walmart for 88 cents per gallon, turning $1 of Sacramento water into $658 for Walmart and DS Services.
According to public relations expert Doug Elmets, the corporate giant has some explaining to do.
“It’s certainly leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth when you can’t fill up a swimming pool, if you’re building a new home in West Sacramento; you can’t water your lawn if you’re living in this region," Elmets said. "And to find out they’re making a huge profit off of this? It’s just not right."
He added, “The reaction should be immediate. And that is to find another supplier outside of California that can be able to meet the needs that they have and also the needs of the consumer."
According to a statement from Walmart, “We have and continue to work with our suppliers to act responsibly while meeting the needs of customers who count on us across California.”
Watch the video below from CBS13--Sacramento: