Colo. spent $150k on bottled water last year; bottled water lobby thinks that’s great

The state spent $154,000 on bottled water last year, which was a foolish waste, says enviro group Corporate Accountability International (CAI). The group held a get-the-message-out event at the capitol yesterday and is asking Gov. Bill Ritter to issue an executive order to stop the madness.

Kristin Urquiza, director of the CAI’s Think Outside The Bottle Campaign, said that the bottled water industry has manufactured demand for its product (watch the movie) and that state and city executives should be the last to succumb to the industry’s marketing campaigns. Officials charged with the stewardship of our tap water are spending millions on bottled water, she said, which is really bad messaging.


International Bottled Water Association Spokesman Tom Lauria told the Denver Daily News that it makes sense for state governments to buy bottled water for inevitable emergencies and to ensure that state employees who work outdoors and don’t have access to tap water can stay hydrated.

Matter of fact, he said, the most cost-effective way to do business is for the government to contract with bottled water corporations to provide their product in bulk.

Even more cost-effective would be to simply turn on the tap, said CAI in a release.

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…
A recent Harris Poll found that 29 percent of people switched from bottled to tap water in the last year. However, state action to invest in public water is still lagging…

“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 Urquiza. “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.

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