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Starbucks Moves Bottled Water Sourcing out of California After Public Backlash

In a move to curb backlash surrounding water sourcing from drought-stricken California, Starbucks has pulled production of its Ethos bottled water out of the Golden State.

Starbucks will move all Ethos production to its Pennsylvania plant within the next six months. A finalized location for a different western distribution center has yet to be announced.

The announcement was preceded by public outcry for the company to evaluate its water sourcing as 99.86 percent of the state is in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"The decision to move our Ethos water sourcing from California and reduce our in-store water usage by more than 25 percent are steps we are taking in partnership with state and local governments to accelerate water conservation," John Kelly, senior vice president of Global Responsibility and Public Policy said in a statement.

California is home to several bottled water distribution centers receiving similar heat. On Tuesday, May 12, Nestle announced plans to reduce the amount of water used at its nine California plants.

A milk factory in Modesto, roughly 90 miles east of San Francisco, is undergoing transformations to become a ‘zero water' factory by 2016.

The plant is located in an area under exceptional drought, the highest classification according to the Drought Monitor.

Based off a currently-operating Nestle plant in Mexico, the Modesto plant will operate without tapping into any local freshwater resources. Instead, water needed for production will be extracted from the milk used to manufacture air products, the company said in a press release.

With $7 million invested, the project is expected to save 63 million gallons of water each year.

For the five water bottling plants, the company announced conservation measures that will yield an 8 percent reduction in water usage from 2014.

However, Nestle CEO Tim Brown said in a radio interview last week that there are no plans to stop water sourcing in California.

Even though California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued historic water consumption regulations, including for farmers, Nestle and other commercial entities have not been included.

The lack of enforced restrictions to major water-sourcing companies has sparked protests and petitions across the state.

On Wednesday, hundreds gathered at Nestle plants in Los Angeles and Sacramento, urging the Switzerland-based company to stop drawing water from the moisture-depleted state according to local media.