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California Restaurant Refuses to Give Water Away for Free

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Johannes restaurant will no longer offer free tap water to patrons.

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California is in the throes of extreme drought — new state regulations require customers to request water in restaurants, and companies like Starbucks and Nestlé have been taking heat for their water bottling operations inside the Golden State.

According to KESQ, at least one restaurant is taking a firm position regarding its customers' water consumption: Johannes Restaurant in Palm Springs will no longer serve free water. Not even tap water. Customer will have the option of paying $1 for Waiwera water, a bottled water from New Zealand.

The owner of the restaurant, Johannes Bacher, believes this will cut down on wasted water from customers who don't drink the water they request. "People order water and say fill it up and only take two sips of it," he said. "So if you put that all together on a low scheme of it, we use 20, 30, 40 gallons of water every day."

Bacher says that unused water from patrons' glasses cannot be reused for cooking in anyway, and that it ultimately goes to waste. Bacher's choice of bottled water, Waiwera, is "drawn from deep beneath the earth's crust" and is "the first bottled water in the Southern Hemisphere" according to its website.

Bacher said that if a customer truly insisted on having tap water, he would grudgingly serve it, but not without a conversation with that person about the hows and whys of Bacher's no-tap-water policy.