Vancouver Promotes Tap Water During Olympic Games

Attendees are encouraged to drink tap water during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Olympics in VancouverMetro Vancouver is promoting the use of municipal tap water instead of purchasing bottled water during the Olympic Games, the CBC reports. Municipal officials seek to reduce the city’s bottled water consumption by 20 percent at the end of the year as a part of their Tap Water Campaign.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel has joined the campaign, agreeing to no longer sell bottled water. Instead, hotel guests will be able to purchase reusable steel water bottles to keep.

“Bottled water is a major seller in our guest rooms through the mini-bars. I was concerned about the fall-off of those sales … but it’s the right thing to do,” hotel manager Randy Zupanski told the CBC.

If the movement gathers steam, it could affect the bottled water sales of Coca-Cola Ltd., a major Olympic sponsor.

However, Coca-Cola spokesperson Nicola Kettlitz told the CBC he is not concerned about the tap water competition.

“Our bottled water does not compete with tap water. It’s about having clean water available in a convenient place, and tap water is not always available in a convenient place,” Kettlitz said.

Vancouver isn’t the only city promoting tap water consumption.  Officials in London have included plans to provide free tap water to tourists when they host the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, according to the London Evening Standard. In addition, many U.S. municipalities have already banned the purchase of bottled water for city-funded events.

Meanwhile Food and Water Watch has published guidelines on how consumers and promoters can enjoy events that are bottled water free.

Sources: CBC, London Evening Standard, foodandwaterwatch.org

Read recent commentary from Peter Gleick on the bottled water battles here, here and here. Also check out Circle of Blue’s reports on other cities fighting to “take back the tap,” here and here.


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