The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 257-0057
Erin Greenfield, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500

Food & Water Watch to Take Back the Tap at Slow Food Nation:

50,000 People to Say No to Bottled Water at Landmark Bottled Water-Free Event


Tomorrow, some 50,000 people will enjoy access to clean, safe tap water at Slow Food Nation thanks to Food & Water Watch. The consumer advocacy group is partnering with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to develop accessible and visible water stations at the festival. Water stations will serve filtered municipal tap water using state of the art technology from US Pure Water/The Water Store and will display visual materials to educate attendees about San Francisco's watershed and the campaign to promote tap water consumption.

"Slow Food Nation will be a model for caterers, conference planners or anyone who wants to plan an event that excludes bottled water and will be the perfect opportunity to show how much difference people can make with a change of habit on a large-scale," says Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director.

In 2007, U.S. consumers wasted $12 billion on nearly 9 billion gallons of bottled water, in large part because advertising spin has led them to believe that water in a bottle is safer or better than tap water. Yet tap water is safe and highly regulated and monitored.

Independent testing has found a wide range of heavy metal, microbial and chemical pollutants in bottled water. Although it's not superior to tap water, bottled water is far more expensive. On a per gallon basis, tap water costs about $0.002, while bottled water costs $0.89 to $8.26.

Meanwhile, the production and transportation of plastics takes a significant toll on the environment. Annual U.S. plastic bottle production requires more than 17 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel one million vehicles on our roads each year. The industrial processes emit toxic chemicals, while the transport adds more pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Together, Food & Water Watch and Slow Food Nation aim to educate tens of thousands of consumers about the bottled water bane and to help them change their behavior right there on the spot. After all, they'll be sipping on the alternative - clean, fresh tap water.

"Tap water is the slow water equivalent of slow food," says Anya Fernald, director of Slow Food Nation. "The goal is for people to leave the event with one, two or three things they can do to change the way they're eating and interacting with the environment. Tap water is one way to do that."

Food & Water Watch has also released a guide for caterers, conference planners or anyone else interested in providing access to tap water at a large event. Free Your Event From Bottled Water provides detailed information on the logistical considerations necessary for hosting a bottled water-free event as well as case studies about those who have done so successfully.

The water stations will be set up at Fort Mason Center, Civic Center Plaza and the Great Meadows from August 29-31. Signature Slow Food Nation and Food and Water Watch stainless steel water bottles are available for sale at all sites. Compostable cups featuring the slogan "I heart SF water" and the San Francisco Public Utility Commission logo will also be available. All water will be free of charge.

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.

(202) 683-2500