I never thought I’d get excited about a water fountain. But I am.
The library just replaced the first floor water fountain with an advanced filtration fountain that also has a water bottle filler.
We think our water fountain is pretty awesome. Here’s why:
- The UN General Assembly declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a human right.
- Unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second biggest killer of children.
- Bottled water corporations treat water as a private commodity from which to profit by selling water at the market price, rather than as a human right that must be universally available at prices all people can afford.
- People living in the slums of Jakarta, Manila and Nairobi pay 5 to 10 times more for water than those living in high-income areas in those same cities and more than consumers in London or New York.
- If you buy a 20oz. bottle of water at $1, that works out to 5 cents an ounce.
- If you buy a gallon of gasoline for $3.59, that works out to 2.8 cents an ounce.
- That’s why water is Big Business. Water is cheaper to produce than gas, and it sells at a higher price.
- In 2009, 48.7% of all bottled water came from municipal tap water supplies.
- Between 2005 and 2009, the volume of tap water bottled grew by 66% while the volume of spring water bottled increased by only 9%. Tap water bottling expanded at more than seven times the rate of spring water bottling.
- In 2009, Americans spent $10.6 billion on bottled water, and paid up to 1,000 times the cost of tap water.
- Independent testing of bottled water conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.
- Tap water is regulated by the EPA. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA only if the water crosses state lines. Bottled water sold within states is regulated only by state agencies.
- The FDA only has one bottled water inspector, so the industry does its own ‘inspections’. The FDA regulations do not prevent bottling companies from drawing water next to industrial sites, underground storage tanks, or dumps.
- In 2006, more than 900,000 tons of plastic was used to package 8 billion gallons of bottled water. Most smaller bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which generates more than 100 times more toxic emissions than an equivalent amount of glass.
- In 2000, Consumer Reports found that “eight of the ten 5-gallon jugs we checked left residues of the endocrine disruptor, bispehenol A, in the water”.
- In 2005, 28 billion bottles of water were sold, mostly in PET containers, according to the Container Recycling Institute. In 2004, 85% of all non-carbonated PET bottles ended up in landfills or as litter. That’s 24 billion empty water bottles, or 66 million every day.
- Water bottles will take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
- The Pacific Institute estimates that production of bottled water for U.S consumption in 2006 required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy used for transportation. This released over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Bottled water is no safer or better than tap water. In many cases, it’s much worse.
Want clean water on the go? Bring your own bottle. Fill it here.
Our fountain uses the Newport water supply, which is regulated by the EPA, and the Elkay WaterSentry Plus filter that conforms to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and 53 for the reduction of Aesthetic Chlorine, Taste and Odor, Particulate Class I, and Lead.
1. UN Resolution 64/292. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/64/292
4. From the UNDP, Human Development Report 2006. See The Right to Water, Fact Sheet No.35 from the United Nations: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet35en.pdf
12. From the Berkeley Ecology Center. See http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf