The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jon Keesecker or Kate Fried
(202) 683-2500

Food & Water Watch, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay Issue Call for Water Trust Fund

Gift of 5,000 Reusable Water Bottles Demonstrates Commitment to Public Tap Water


On Wednesday, Food & Water Watch joined St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in providing 5,000 reusable drinking water bottles to City employees, banning the purchase of bottled water by city departments, and issuing a call for a federal trust fund for water infrastructure. The actions marked the City's leadership in a nationwide effort to provide safe and affordable drinking water through increased federal funding of public water systems.

"Each year we fall more than $20 billion short of what is needed to maintain America's public water and sewer systems," said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "U.S. water infrastructure-invisible under our homes and businesses-has suffered decades of neglect. Congress needs to act now to protect our nation's water by establishing a dedicated source of public funding so that communities across America can keep their water clean, safe and affordable."

"Around the world, billions of people do not have access to clean drinking water," said Mayor Slay. "Even in the United States, some places face chronic shortages of clean water that require rationing. We need a Federal Trust Fund for water infrastructure. "
Food & Water Watch partnered with the City of St. Louis in calling for a trust fund because of the national attention the City has received for the quality of its drinking water. Last year the U.S. Conference of Mayors awarded St. Louis the title "Best Tasting City Water in America" out of 93 competing cities.

The City used its $5,000 award prize to purchase the water bottles as a way to encourage use of public tap water over bottled water, which is no cleaner, safer or healthier than tap water. The mayor also signed an executive order banning the purchase of bottled water by city departments.

"We applaud Mayor Slay and the City of St. Louis for their commitment to promoting the consumption of tap water over bottled water," said Hauter. "Water is a vital resource, critical for all of us, not a commodity to be seized and sold for corporate profit. Even while U.S. communities suffer from lack of federal support in maintaining their water systems, cities like St. Louis still provide high quality public tap water that is a better alternative to bottled water," said Hauter.

The Corporate Accountability International also echoed the call for residents and
businesses to use public tap water instead of bottled water.

"Bottled water corporations are convincing cities and individuals that the only place to get clean, safe water is from a bottle, said Gigi Kellett, National Director of the Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "But the bottom line is that water is a basic human right. When it is treated as a commodity, our democracy, health and environment suffers."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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