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Conference of Mayors calls for investigation of bottled water costs

UPDATE  June 17, 2009  Epoch Times:

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is calling for an investigation into the cost of water bottling to American cities.  An estimated 40 percent of bottled water is derived from municipal sources and water bottling companies, which often buy in bulk, are often given discounts even in times of drought.  These companies also create unknown costs to taxpayers, including the costs of disposing and recycling plastic bottles, and infrastructure for the upkeep of equipment.

This initiative follows the passing of a resolution designed to ensure equitable use of municipal water.

“To jumpstart the economy and to meet the most basic needs of people in cities across the U.S., we need to make sure the resource is being managed in a way that is equitable and puts essential public needs first,” said Kristin Urquiza, director of Corporate Accountability International’s Think Outside the Bottle Campaign, in a press release.

Although both bottled and public water come from the same source, the bottled water market is thriving, while support for public water is low.  Since 2008, over 60 cities have cut bottled water spending. Hundreds of mayors nationwide voted to discourage water purchasing in their cities.  Illinois and Virginia are moving towards bringing an end to bottled water spending, while New York state is cutting its spending altogether.

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Activists urge Conference of Mayors to end purchase of bottled water

By Richard Salit, Providence Journal, June 12, 2009

PROVIDENCE — On the day before the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors opens here, activists gathered Thursday on the steps of the State House to urge officials in Rhode Island and across the country to step up efforts to reduce the nation’s consumption of bottled water.

Members of the Boston-based organization Corporate Accountability International called on Governor Carcieri to order an end to state purchases of bottled water, which totaled at least $73,585 in the nearly 11 months that ended June 1, according to the advocacy group.

Rep. Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, who spoke in support of the effort along with Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, said the figure for those purchases, from Poland Spring, didn’t include other brands consumed at the State House.

The group also called on the U.S. mayors to adopt a resolution, which is on Monday’s meeting agenda, to investigate how much for water bottlers pay — and how much it costs communities — when beverage companies fill bottles with public water and sell them for profit. Providence Mayor David Cicilline cosponsored that resolution as well as one that the mayors passed last year calling on cities to phase out spending on bottled water.

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