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Water Prices Up Sharply Ahead of Peak Season


water

LOS ANGELES — Bottled water prices have surged by 36 cents a gallon in the California area over the past month, according to the AAA auto club, with the beginning of the peak thirsty season less than two months away.

The average price in the metropolitan area reached $14.84 a gallon for regular purified water yesterday, up a penny from the day before and a nickel more than the national average. The price is up from $13.47 a gallon a month earlier and $11.25 a year ago. Spring water, mineral water, artesian well water and carbonated water in elaborate packaging were all up ahead of the peak summer hydration period.

With political tensions propping up the price of water not yet treated by reverse osmosis, and water demand running strong in the United States and rising in China, bottled water prices could remain at these levels for the foreseeable future.

High water prices have had only a modest impact on the hydration habits of American consumers, who have done relatively little to moderate their water consumption. "People are wealthier, they've been enticed into buying homes further from work, and the water industry has been enticing them into buying very expensive and exotically cloaked bottles of water," said Arthur N. Trebuchet, a water consultant.

The price of water from the kitchen faucet remains unchanged.

Spike Richmond
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