S.F. mayor bans bottled water at city offices

/ Source: The Associated Press

Is city water better than bottled water? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom thinks so.

Newsom has issued an executive order banning city departments from buying bottled water, even for water coolers. The ban goes into effect July 1, and will extend to water coolers by Dec. 1.

The move was billed as a way to help stem global warming and save taxpayer money.

More than 40 million gallons of oil are needed to make the plastic water bottles Americans purchase each year, according to data cited in the mayor's announcement. Like other uses of fossil fuels, the process of making plastic bottles releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that most scientists tie to global warming.

"We're hoping to set the example for the private sector and other cities in getting off the bottle," said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the San Francisco public utilities commission.

In a press release announcing the decision, the mayor cited the environmental impact of making, transporting and disposing of the bottles. More than a billion of them end up in the state's landfills each year, the release said.

When the ban goes into effect, city and county offices will dispense municipal tap water from a reservoir. Winnicker said exceptions will be made in cases where potable water is not easily available or poses health concerns.