Cecilia M. Vega of the San Francisco Chronicle used public records to show that San Francisco, owner of a pristine reservoir in the Sierra Nevada with a reputation for producing some of the country's best-tasting tap water, has spent more than $2 million of taxpayers' money in the past 4½ years on bottled water. According to the records, Public Health spent $139,926 on bottled water; the Municipal Railway spent $65,780; and San Francisco International Airport spent $65,670. "During the 2004-2005 fiscal year, which ended June 30, $499,275 went to bottled water and related expenses — a slight increase from the $495,974 that the city spent the previous year. "
The Los Angeles mayor recently ordered city agencies to stop using public money to buy bottled water for employees following media reports that the city had spent $90,000 on bottled water while its water agency was spending $1 million on an ad campaign touting the virtues of tap water. In August, Julie Patel of the San Jose Mercury News reported that schools in that area are buying bottled water for teachers and administrators: "bottled water flows so plentifully in teachers lounges, school
offices and meetings that there's enough to supply each teacher,
administrator and student services employee with more than seven eight-ounce
glasses of water each school day."