California has spent nearly a half-million dollars providing bottled water to inmates since a prison's water system failed last fall.
The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that Central Valley water regulators are requiring prison officials to provide the bottled water whenever the system can't provide fresh water at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy.
They've spent $417,000 so far.
The prison opened what was touted as a state-of-the-art $32 million plant eight years ago to treat brackish well water for its roughly 2,300 inmates and 1,000 employees.
But officials say the brine concentrator, which removes salts and minerals, is unreliable and difficult to fix.
The state's new budget includes $2 million to plan a better system, which is expected to cost another $32 million by the time it comes online in 2021.