The fact that water bottlers in Florida get free access to water they package and sell — and therefore make 100 percent profit on the materials — is often a sticking point for conservationists.
While giving away water bottling rights in a state expecting water shortages may seem to be the perfect illustration of bad water policy, it is worth taking a look at the actual consumption of the primary industries in the state that use water, industries like agriculture.
Water bottle companies have become an easy target for environmentalists because of their notorious use of plastic. But when agriculture’s use is brought into the picture, water consumption numbers may not appear as critics of the bottled water industry assume.
The total consumption of water for the agriculture industry statewide in 2005 was 2,766 million gallons per day, according to the 2005 state report, Water Withdrawls and Use. That is about 40 percent of the total water use in the state — for one industry.