Like most states across the United States, we have high quality public water systems. We are writing to ask for your leadership in protecting them. For over six years Corporate Accountability International has been leading the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign to raise awareness about the environmental and social impacts of bottled water and to galvanize support for strong public water systems....
Like most states across the United States, we have high quality public water systems. We are writing to ask for your leadership in protecting them. For over six years Corporate Accountability International has been leading the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign to raise awareness about the environmental and social impacts of bottled water and to galvanize support for strong public water systems. Nationally, three out of four people regularly drink bottled water. State governments contribute to this trend when purchasing bottled water for offices, meetings, and other state-sponsored events.
As we work to stimulate our economy, spending taxpayer money on bottled water is a misallocation of limited resources. For example, in 2007 the city of San Francisco audited its spending on bottled water and found that it was spending nearly $500,000 each year, leading Mayor Newsom to cancel all city-spending on bottled water. Furthermore, bottled water undermines confidence in our public water supply and pollutes the environment. The energy used to produce and transport water bottles in the U.S. alone uses the energy equivalent of up to 54 million barrels of oil each year. That’s enough energy to fuel roughly three million cars for a year. Over 80 percent of these bottles end up incinerated, buried in our landfills or are discarded on our roadways or in our waterways as litter.
Governor, I want to extend the opportunity for you to become a local and national leader on this issue by ending state contracts with bottled water suppliers, promoting public water systems across the state, and advocating for a renewed national commitment to water infrastructure funding.
I hope you have followed the recent national attention on the negative impacts of bottled water and the growing concern about of the privatization of our water. Increasing numbers of cities, restaurants, institutions, and individuals are turning back to the tap and away from expensive, branded bottled water. The U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution at their 2008 annual meeting encouraging cities across the country to phase out government use of bottled water and promote the importance of strong public water systems. Already, more than 125 major cities have responded to these calls to action and have taken common sense actions to protect the environment, save money, and restore confidence in our public water supplies. I am eager to see similar actions taken at the state level.
Recent studies show that government spending on public water systems pays huge dividends for our economy. Public water systems are the backbone of our country’s infrastructure, public health and economic prosperity – it’s time we start nurturing them. Yet, last year, the American public spent more than $15 billion buying bottled water. This at a time when our public water systems are in need of increased public support, facing at least an annual $23 billion shortfall between what these systems require and what is allocated.
As our state’s leading public official, I ask that you issue a policy to end state spending on bottled water to signify your support for strong public water systems and work with the Think Outside the Bottle campaign to advocate for more funding for public water systems. I look forward to working with you on this important issue.