SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A political activist says companies that take water from California’s ground should pay a fair amount for it – and he’s collecting signatures for an initiative to go on the 2016 ballot that would tax bottled water.

“We’re going to put a five-cent per ounce excise tax on water that you take from California’s ground during a drought,” said Louis Marinelli, the primary proponent of the initiative.

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The 29-year-old from San Diego is with a group called Sovereign California, which advocates for turning California into an autonomous region of the U.S.

The tax would raise the cost of a 16-ounce bottle of water by 80 cents. Those bottles would also come with a label of a water drop and the words: ‘Not drought-friendly’.

“The knee-jerk reaction is going to be like, ‘I don’t want to pay 80 cents more per bottle for my water.’ Our reaction is, ‘Then buy water that is not bottled in California,'” said Marinelli.

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The tax revenues raised would fund construction and maintenance of water infrastructure projects, including dams, levies, water treatment facilities and desalination plants.

“Bottled water does not account for a large amount of the water used in the state, but every little bit helps,” he said.

Signatures for the bottled water tax are being collected at

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Representatives from the International Bottled Water Association have said in the past that it’s not in the best interest to discourage consumption of what they call a safe, healthy and convenient product.