Mayor Asks Restaurants Not to Sell Bottled Water

(March 20, 2008)

Celebrates United Nations World Water Day by announcing new drinking water initiatives

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--Mayor Newsom was joined today at the Ferry Building by national nonprofit Food and Water Watch and local restaurant leaders who took the opportunity of U.N. World Water Day (March 22) to announce a new initiative to "Take Back the Tap" and urge local restaurants to follow the City's lead by removing bottled water from menus. In June 2007, Mayor Newsom issued an Executive Directive barring use of City funds to buy bottled water in an effort to protect the environment. City departments are in nearly full-compliance with the bottled water ban.

"I'm glad to report that bottled water spending by City Departments under my direction has stopped," said Mayor Newsom "We are drinking tap water again at City Hall and across city government, and I call upon the restaurant industry to join us in promoting the best tasting water in the country by removing bottled water from their menus."

Mayor Newsom highlighted the City's ongoing initiative against bottled water and its impacts to the environment by announcing a new partnership with the national nonprofit Food and Water Watch to "Take Back the Tap." A growing number of Bay Area restaurants--including San Francisco's Incanto, Delfina, and Nopa, Berkeley's Chez Panisse and Sausalito's Poggio--have removed bottled water from their menus without negative impact to their bottom line. The City's more than 3,000 restaurants will receive a copy of the new "How-To Guide for the San Francisco Restaurant Switch to Tap Water," published by Food & Water Watch.

"Cities like San Francisco are leading the way in kicking the bottled water habit and in raising awareness that tap water is the healthiest and most cost-effective choice for consumers," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch.

Mayor Newsom also directed the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to undertake several steps to protect and preserve San Francisco's current drinking water quality. Among the drinking water initiatives outlined by Mayor Newsom include:

Within 60 days, SFPUC will produce a detailed and specific Water Quality Protection Plan.

In that time, SFPUC will convene a National Water Quality Advisory Council of water quality experts from across California and the nation to assist in the development of the plan.

The SFPUC has applied for an $11 million grant from the U.S. EPA to fund innovative water quality protection measures throughout the regional water system.

Volunteers distributed stainless steel water bottles to lunchtime visitors following Mayor Newsom's announcement. The stainless steel bottles are a sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles for drinking water at work or on the go. The stainless steel bottles are available while supplies last at SFPUC Customer Service, 1155 Market Street and other locations for those who sign a pledge to stop buying bottled water.