Taxing Water

I’ve never quite understood the point of bottled water. I’m told that it tastes an awful lot nicer but I suspect my sense of taste isn’t quite up to telling the difference. In Manchester and London in particular, various urban legends about the provenance of tap water circulate constantly. Not so in San Fransisco whose mayor in a Newsweek interview boasted:

“Our water in San Francisco comes from the Hetch Hetchy [reservoir] and is some of the most pristine water on the planet.”

As such he as made it public policy for no (“single portions of”) bottled water to be bought for government offices/functions etc. After all, surely water provided by the state government for the average person ought to be good enough for the government itself. How much of an impact this really makes remains to be seen – it seems something of a publicity stunt rather than anything substantial.

Seattle government has followed suit in order to regain the faith of it’s populus after a recent Associated Press study in the US revealed that various pharmaceuticals were present in tap water. Again, how much impact this really makes in any way remains to be seen.

Chicago has (in my opinion) a more sensible policy of taxing bottled water. The Mayor insists that the tax is not on the water but on the bottles. After all, the city pays for the disposal of discarded bottles, for policies to cut emmisions (which are produced in the manufacturing process) and a whole raft of other costs associated with the manufacture and distribution of bottled water: why shouldn’t people have to pay for the slightly dubious pleasure of drinking water which has in the US a forty percent chance of being tapwater?

Rock on Chicago.

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