Millions in Taxpayer Dollars Flow to Bottled Water

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Christina Rossi, 671-447-2540

Millions in Taxpayer Dollars Flow to Bottled Water

New report, film call for reducing waste, funding public water this World Water Day

BOSTON, MA - Of five states surveyed, taxpayers are footing the bill for between
$78,000 and $475,000 a year in bottled water, according to a report
released today by Corporate Accountability International. The findings
come on the heels of World Water Day and the release of the animated
short, Story of Bottled Water. The states surveyed were Minnesota,
Maryland, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon. The Connecticut governor’s
office also announced today that it is considering various approaches
that could help agencies cut back on bottled water spending.

Connecticut was among the four northeastern states featured in the
first edition of the report, Getting States Off the Bottle. The second
edition analyzes the problem with such spending, especially given
tightening state budgets and the $22 billion annual shortfall currently
facing public water systems nationwide.

A major cause of the gap in funding has been the marketing and
promotion of bottled water. Marketing campaigns, like Nestlé’s Born
Better, have convinced one in five people to believe the only place to
get clean drinking water is from a bottle. And as public confidence in
tap water has eroded, so too has the political will to invest in public
water.

“The bottled water industry has manufactured demand for an essential
resource that already flows from our taps,” said Kelle Louaillier,
executive director for Corporate Accountability International. “The
marketing has been so effective that even the cities and states charged
with the stewardship of our tap water are spending millions on bottled
water, sending the wrong message about the quality of the tap.” 

After all, up to forty percent of bottled water sold comes from the
same source as tap water. Tap water is also more highly regulated than
what comes in the bottle.

Public education campaigns like Think Outside the Bottle are,
however, restoring confidence in public water systems. A recent Harris
Poll found that 29 percent of people switched from bottled to tap water
in the last year. However, state action is not keeping pace with public
opinion. While each state profiled in the report has made a commitment
to reduce waste or reinvest in public water, there is still more to be
done. By cutting state spending on bottled water these states will take
an important, additional step forward.  

“During these tough economic times our states should be spending
scarce public dollars on projects that provide vital public services
and grow the economy at large, not just the bottom line for a handful
of private corporations,” said Louaillier. “Investment in public water
is, in this respect, one of the wisest investments we can make.”

According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors report, every dollar
invested in public water generates more than six for the economy at
large in the long term.

For both editions of the report visit www.StopCorporateAbuse.org/GettingStatesOffTheBottle
To view the Story of Bottled Water visit www.StopCorporateAbuse.org/Story-Of-Bottled-Water
For more information on World Water Day visit www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/flashindex.html

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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