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Watered−down Logic

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One might wonder what Councilman Eric Gioia was drinking when he came up with legislation that would prohibit the city from purchasing bottled water or water coolers for city offices and agencies. He says his legislation will save money, protect the environment and reduce traffic congestion.

Gioia argues that the city has some of the best tasting tap water in the world. We agree. Why, then, he asks, should the city pay for bottled water or water coolers in government offices? The councilman says that, according to DCAS, the city spends $2.1 million each year on bottled water. Even if that is true, there are some leaks in the Gioia’s logic.

We do not know of any agency that provides any brand of bottled water to its staff or clients free of charge. The city has a contract with Snapple that allows the company to put machines that dispense bottled juice and water in the lobbies of some city offices. But the water and juice are for sale and the city makes a profit on these machines. At the same time, it allows staff to buy water or juice without leaving the building.

And while it is true that the city’s tap water is clean and healthy, the same cannot be said of the antiquated water coolers serving tap water in many city offices and the pipes that bring the water to these coolers. In these buildings, bottled water coolers are not a luxury, but a necessity.

If this legislation passes, the Council must come up with the money to clean and replace the existing coolers that serve tap water. The unions would be right to demand that workers have access to clean drinking water.

We also question how the legislation will improve traffic. The companies delivering bottled water for the coolers come about once a month to each office building. That is one truck for one building each month. If all of these trucks no longer stop at city offices, traffic will still be a mess.

In the end, Gioia’s legislation could wind up costing the city money.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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