Let Congress Drink Tap Water

In terms of the total amount of government spending, it’s a small matter. Yet, the bottled water consumed on Capitol Hill is of symbolic significance, economically and environmentally.

Economically, bottled water is a ridiculous waste. It costs a great deal more than water straight from the tap, though it is usually itself simply tap water.

Environmentally, bottled water is a source of a great deal of pollution. Energy is wasted in creating one-use bottles that usually aren’t recycled, and in the transportation of bottles of water in an extra step that isn’t required when water is taken directly out of a tap.

Yet, the House of Representatives spent nearly $200,000 on bottled water last year. Given that the current leadership of Congress has pledged to cut government spending, why doesn’t it start with itself, and eliminate government subsidies for bottled water on Capitol Hill, when the building has perfectly good plumbing?

That’s what a petition begun by D.C. resident Jess Leber asks for. The petition includes the following appeal to John Boehner:

“George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, even wrote you recently to offer free reusable water bottles to all House members, in addition to free water quality testing. That’s a pretty great deal. And it’s easy to by a water filter if there are concerns about taste.

Our nation’s water infrastructure is crumbling and needs all the support it can get—especially from Congress. I urge you to accept Mr. Hawkins’s offer and join many state and city governments that have already taken steps to phase out bottled water purchases. Please end bottled water purchases in the next House budget and start using tap. “


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