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June 5th, 2009

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- Food & Water Watch

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The Moment for a Clean Water Trust Fund is Now

This week in the Huffington Post, Governors Paterson, Schwarzenegger and Rendell called for more public-private partnerships to help improve our crumbling roads, water systems, schools and other public works projects.

Public-private partnership , What‚ that? Basically, it‚ when the public pays a high price for a corporation to do something that local governments should be doing.

piggy bank - U.S.
For example, if your city needs a new water treatment plant, it could contract with a corporation to design, build and run the plant. Governors Paterson, Schwarzenegger and Rendell want cities and towns to cut more of these deals and make the private partner finance the project. Read the full article…

Hawaiian Bottled Water in Health Food Stores? Skip the Trip!

A Hawaiian water bottle company recently announced it is hitting the mainland at, where else, health food stores. Hawaiian Springs LLC Bottles will be available on the shelves of Whole Foods, Mother‚ Market and other grocery stores frequented by health-conscious consumers.

Hawaii postcard

But just hear these guys.  They tout that their water is both “young” and “naturally healthy”.  As if any water has an age other than “always been here”.  Or maybe, some water is healthy unnaturally?

Good thing they’ve been recognized by Dr. Michael Mascha, a so-called “water sommelier” and author of Fine Waters, A Connoisseur‚ Guide to the World‚ Most Distinctive Bottled Water.  We wonder what does he clear his palate with?
The truth is that luxury water is just another sales gimmick.  Companies like Hawaiian Springs capitalize off healthy lifestyle trends while their product does nothing for your health that water from the tap cant do. Read the full article…

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May 29th, 2009

Deja vu a side effect of irradiation?

The Obama Administration is considering nominating Dr. Michael Doyle, a proponent of food irradiation, for Under Secretary of Food Safety. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Administration was recently forced to stop the consideration of another irradiation supporter, Michael Osterholm, for the same position after thousands of folks like you spoke up. Read the full article…

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May 19th, 2009

DC, Save the Date for a Water Crisis Debate

Calling all readers and water warriors in the DC area! Come spend an evening with us to learn about the water crisis in the United States and abroad. We’ll be co-sponsoring a debate between F&WW Research Director, Patrick Woodall and author Robert Glennon at Busboys & Poets (5th & K location) on Tuesday, May 26th at 6:30PM.

Mr. Glennon’s new book, Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It , discusses the crisis we face and suggests that water pricing and market forces will play a central role in saving us from running out. Our research suggests that pricing may not be the solution to ensure that all people have access to clean drinking water. Read the full article…

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May 14th, 2009

Bye bye BPA and other water victories

Water in BottlesThis past week marked two major victories in the fight against bottled water , one for the entire state of New York and the other for the city of Chicago. In the case of New York, Governor David Patterson recently signed an executive order banning the purchase of bottled water by state agencies, making it the second state to have done so (the first being Illinois). In addition, New York City is ending purchases for bottled water at city office and city-sponsored events, an example we hope other metropolitan areas follow. Read the full article…

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May 12th, 2009

Water Main Breaks Make the Case for Clean Water Trust Fund

Recent water main breaks all over the country (including one that shut down the train I ride to work) remind us that under our feet are miles and miles of decaying pipes. The main reason?  Lack of funding. Federal funding for drinking water infrastructure has decreased by 50% since 1997; while federal funding accounted for 78% of overall wastewater infrastructure spending in 1978, it accounts for only 3% today.

President Obama has introduced a budget that would begin to restore funding for water infrastructure, but it isn’t enough.  As long as water infrastructure funding is decided year-by-year, it remains at risk of being reduced in the face of other congressional priorities. That‚ why we need a Clean Water Trust Fund. Read the full article…

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May 7th, 2009

Oh, Canada

Canada House flagsIn an economic catastrophe like the one the world is undergoing, the news that a federal government would spend millions of taxpayer dollars on bottled water may come as a bit of a shock. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening in Canada, despite the various efforts by multiple cities to ban the sales of bottled water in municipal-run buildings. Specifically, the federal government has spent more than $10 million in the last three years, and over $15 million in the last five years. All while First Nations and other areas in Canada do not receive appropriate funding for tap water treatment.

water bottlesThe situation Canada faces is not unlike the bottled water problem in the United States. Both nations have flawed water infrastructure and spend millions of taxpayer dollars on bottled water instead , which is an exorbitantly expensive, and unnecessary, solution. The misconception that bottled water is, by default, safer than tap water, seems to justify paying such absurd prices. The money could be far better spent improving our crumbling water infrastructure, such as through a Clean Water Trust Fund, or its Canadian equivalent in the case of our neighbor, than by funneling that money into bottled water companies.

- Sofía Baliño

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Swine flu: an unfortunate wake up call

Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, has dominated every major news outlet for the past couple of weeks , and justly so. It has sickened over a thousand people, killed almost thirty, and created widespread panic that has crippled the travel industry and damaged the already floundering world economy.

factory farm pigMuch of the chatter revolving around swine flu is whether or not it was a result of the conditions at a factory farm in Mexico owned in part by Smithfield. While there has been no definitive link established to the factory farm, this flu strain did have its genetic root in flu strains present on hog farms in the 1990s, according to virologists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

If anything positive has come out of this mess, it‚ that some long-overdue attention is being paid to the potential public health impacts of industrialized livestock production. Before swine flu became a household word communities all over this country, and increasingly around the world, have been burdened with health problems caused by these polluting facilities. Read the full article…

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May 5th, 2009

Tap Water Gets New Converts

NYC - Cavalry Episcopal ChurchThe bottled water fight is getting some new supporters. 12 Episcopal bishops from six Western states have recently joined together to fight bottled water and other environmental ills. Specifically, they signed a letter encouraging delegates coming to the Church‚ upcoming General Convention to not buy bottled water and choose tap instead. They also asked their Church‚ followers to vote for political candidates that support environmentally sound policies.

The Episcopal Church is not the only religious group appealing to its followers , this past Lent, some Italian dioceses of the Catholic Church also urged people to give up bottled water during the 40-day period. The initiative of these Churches is admirable and should be taken on by other communities to correct the various misconceptions associated with bottled water. Read the full article…

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