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Office of the Mayor Gavin Newsom
City & County of San Francisco
Executive Directive 07-07
Permanent Phase-Out of Bottled Water Purchases
by San Francisco City and County Government
June 21, 2007
San Francisco is proud of its historic role as an urban leader in environmental protection. For decades, our local government has provided environmental stewardship of the surrounding region's water delivery system. This water delivery system consistently provides among the purest, safest drinking water in the nation from spring snowmelt stored in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and flowing down the Tuolumne River.
Over the last decade, San Franciscans have responded to marketing campaigns to purchase bottled water and record amounts of bottled water have been purchased by San Francisco consumers and local government at the expense of the environment. Such marketing has suggested that bottled water is safer than better-regulated, pristine tap water delivered by San Francisco government to its residents. As the city advances its Local Climate Action Plan to combat global warming, it is paramount that we initiate policies that limit the most significant
contributors to climate change.
The rise of the bottled water industry is well documented and visible throughout San Francisco and the entire world. The global consumption of bottled water was measured at 41 billion gallons in 2004, up 57 percent from the previous five years. This consumption increase occurred despite the fact that bottled water often costs 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water. In San Francisco, for the price of one gallon of bottled water, local residents can purchase 1000 gallons of tap water.
Data suggests that the environmental impact of the bottled water industry has been profound. According to the Container Recycling Institute, supplying the plastic water bottles that American consumers purchase in one year requires more than 47 million gallons of oil, the equivalent of one billion pounds of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. More than one billion plastic water bottles end up in California's landfills each year, taking 1000 years to biodegrade and leaking toxic additives such as phthalates into the groundwater. Additionally, water diverted from local aquifers for the bottled water industry can strain surrounding ecosystems.
Furthermore, transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. All of this waste and pollution is generated by a product that by objective standards is often inferior to the quality of San Francisco's pristine tap water.
By virtue of the power and authority vested in me by Section 3.100 of the San Francisco Charter to provide administration and oversight of all departments and governmental units in the Executive Branch of the City and County of San Francisco, I hereby issue this Executive Directive to become effective immediately:
• Beginning July 1, 2007, there will be a prohibition from any city department or agency purchasing single serving bottles of water using city funds, unless an employee contract specifies usage. This prohibition will apply to city contractors and city funded and/or
sponsored events. There will be no waivers from this prohibition.
• By September 30, 2007, all city departments and agencies occupying either city or rental properties will have completed an audit to determine the viability of switching from bottled water dispensers to bottle-less water dispensers that utilize Hetch Hetchy supplied water. City departments will work with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Department of Real Estate (DRE) and the City Purchaser to conduct the audit.
Staff from the SFPUC will contact you shortly to begin the audit for your department.
• By December 1, 2007 all city departments and agencies occupying either city or rental properties will have installed bottle-less water dispensers that utilize Hetch Hetchy supplied water. Waivers will only be granted by the SFPUC based on legitimate engineering, health and fiscal concerns.
For questions concerning this Executive Directive and its implementation, please contact Laura Spanjian, Deputy General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities (415-554-1540,
Submitted at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting 2007
Resolution No. 90 - IMPORTANCE OF MUNICIPAL WATER
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco
The Honorable Ross 'Rocky' Anderson
Mayor of Salt Lake City
The Honorable R.T. Rybak
Mayor of Minneapolis
IMPORTANCE OF MUNICIPAL WATER
1. WHEREAS, the United States' municipal water systems are
among the finest in the world; and
2. WHEREAS, high quality, safe drinking water is already
available at most public locations; and
3. WHEREAS, mayors are responsible for delivering safe and
affordable water to our citizens; and
4. WHEREAS, local governments invest approximately $43 billion
a year for pure drinking water and treating wastewater; and
5. WHEREAS, US consumers spend more than $11 billion a year on bottled water; and
6. WHEREAS, bottled water costs more than an equivalent volume
of gasoline, equivalent to 1,000 to 10,000 times more than tap water; and
7. WHEREAS, more than a quarter of bottled water is sourced from municipal tap water; and
8. WHEREAS, bottled water must travel many miles from the source, resulting in the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels, releasing CO2 and other pollution into the atmosphere; and
9. WHEREAS, plastic water bottles are one of the fastest growing sources of municipal waste; and
10. WHEREAS, in the U.S. the plastic bottles produced for water require 1.5 million barrels of oil per year, enough to 250 generate electricity for 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year; and
11. WHEREAS, we applaud The US Conference of Mayors for its National City Water Taste Test, which recognizes all of the great work municipal water systems do for its residents on a daily basis, year after year; and
12. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The US Conference of Mayors conduct a detailed study of the importance of municipal water and the impact of bottled water on municipal waste.
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