Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a water vote

We're casting votes on bottled water here at Britannia, and for anyone who hasn't been a part of the email dialogue (I'm still working on collecting emails of all of you interested in the Team Green Brit intitiative)'s the recap:

Pat's email that started the water vote:
Thanks a bunch for taking on this initiative. I think it's great, and even better, it gives me a forum for starting a discussion about bottled water. I know that the staff years ago agitated to get bottled water (the water cooler in the front office workroom) which, I believe, the Brit Board pays for. My concerns are several: (1) that the water that comes from private systems is less regulated than civic water supplies and often has more contaminants in it (i.e., less safe); (2) that the water probably comes from some rural aquifer that is draining the water away from farmers trying to grow food (this is not a confirmed fact, but seems highly likely); and (3&4) that the water comes in plastic bottles that may be leaching all kinds of chemicals into the water (a safety issue) and at the same time, are using up increasingly scarce oil resources to manufacture the bottles (a "mama earth" issue); and finally, (5) that there are better ways to spend the money! When you think about the alternative, tap water, which we already pay for, is highly regulated and tested for safety, tastes pretty darn good, and comes out of an enormous reservoir that isn't putting a whole group of rural farmers out of business: what could be bad?
And if people Really, Really want COLD water, let's keep a jug of it in the fridge! That's my rant! Cheers, Pat D :-)

Jim's reply email:
Hi Patricia,
Thanks for the email and your concerns regarding the bottled water.
Last week we filled the pool with darn good city water but it looked all green like full of algae. It took five days of filtration and lots of chemical to make it safe for swimmers.
In my opinion the tap water is not clean. We see it everytime when we fill the pool. It is filled with same water we drink out of the tap. In huge quantity it looks and is green. In small quantity it is looks clean and it is not.

Then at a meeting I was tasked with getting out the vote on the matter, so
here was what I sent out:
Pat raised a bunch of great points (Concerns 1-5 are all legit). I'm certain there have been some companies which have taken water by depleting ground water sources in rural areas, and some companies have even been proven guilty of simply bottling tap water. The amount of resources and energy required to make the bottles (even if they are made from recycled content) and transport them is another factor to consider.

Jim's concern about the quality of the city water can be a valid one. We do have boil advisories now and again, but overall our water is tested and proven safe for consumption.

At a meeting this morning we started a poll on whether we need to continue to purchase the bottled water for the copier room for staff...and

now it's your turn! Please reply to this email with a simple YES or NO and I will tally the results to pass on for consideration.

For any of you who would like to look into the matter further before deciding, here's a few to start you off:
- Council of Canadians has a national campaign on water with lots of info and resources such as a Bottled Water fact sheet, and the Polaris Institute also has a citizen campaign at
- Q & A on bottled water at Health Canada
- Canadian Bootled Water Association which represents the companies makign the profit off bottled water
- CBC Marketplace on Bottled Water
- Wikipedia

thanks in advance for your votes! if you haven't cast a vote yet, either post a comment here, or email me at

current vote standings on whether we keep the water or not:
yes - 5 : no - 7

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