I am trying to figure out if bottled water companies are considered overlying owners or appropriators under California groundwater law. I have read that groundwater users that extract water and use it on land they own are overlying owners, but does bottling water for export count as using the water?My first response is that beneficial use of groundwater ON a property is allowed, even if that water is then exported in bottles. Can you divert it to a distant, non-contiguous property? Doubt it, since this is not a matter of prior appropriation rights.
I have read unclear accounts that discuss when a bottler extracts from point A and bottles it at point B, and is thus not an overlying owner, but the discussion was in reference to TX, and regardless, I am still unsure if a bottler's physical act of bottling counts as a "use" and thus would also be a overlying owner if they extract and bottle at the source.
Any opinions (or, better yet, facts) on this question?