Water delivery continues into the Mayor of Vancouver's office
During the last term of council, Tim Stevenson, a senior member of Vision’s caucus, put forward a motion to ban bottled water at Vancouver City Hall. As the head of Metro Vancouver’s Water Committee, Stevenson got religion when it came to the quality of the region’s water. He was encouraging everyone within earshot to dump bottled water and drink from the tap instead.
When Stevenson and his Vision caucus gained power in 2008, he knew this was his opportunity to take action against everyone drinking bottled water. So once again, with the backing of his majority caucus, he introduced a motion to ban bottled water from City Hall and its facilities. After setting aside about $50,000 to implement the motion (not accounting for potential lost sales in city-owned facilities) the motion was approved unanimously.
A couple months back CityCaucus.com got a tip that despite the ban on "single serve" bottled water, the Mayor’s office continued to quietly order bottled water for its staff and guests. After a freedom of information request, we can confirm that Robertson is indeed continuing to purchase bottled water (for electric water coolers) out of his office budget. In fact, it would appears from the invoices we've reviewed he is purchasing at least 20L of bottled water per month.
So if the region's tap water is so good and bottled water is bad for the environment, why is the Mayor still having it trucked to his office every month? We understand Stevenon's ban only applies to "single serve" bottles, but we have to ask why? If Stevenson and countless environmentalists are right, then why is the Mayor not serving his guests water from the tap?
Here is what the website treehugger.com has to say about the environmental impact of bottled water:
All bottled waters are problematic and unnecessary, and obviously the further it travels the worse it is, but what really matters is how things travel. As you can see from the chart, listing the distance a gallon of fuel will move a ton of goods, a ship (we could not find the exact number for a modern container ship but suspect that it is even better than a barge) goes almost seven and a half times as far on a gallon of fuel than a truck.
A ton of Tasmanian rainwater travelling 7938 miles by ship uses 15.44 gallons of fuel and emits 342.77 pounds of CO2;
A ton of Poland Springs going by truck traveling 1141 miles from Maine to Chicago uses 16.54 gallons and emits 367.19 pounds of CO2.;
A ton of Evian going from Lake Geneva to Edinburgh by truck uses 15.77 gallons and emits 350.09 pounds of CO2.
This is is a simplistic view and does not take into account the energy used in pumping or making the bottles or getting around in the cities, but it it is probably a good rough guide. In the end they all suck about equally- drink tap or if you must, buy local. Chicago loses doubly, because it has good tap water from the Great Lakes.
We're not sure where the Mayor's bottled water originated from, but this does appear to be a clear cut case of do as I say, not as I do.
- post by Daniel