[First filed: July 15, 2009 @ 10:52]
It started with a very local issue in the Southern Highlands where Bundanoon residents got the hump with their own water being trucked back with a 300x markup.
But now the tired recurring voices of rigid social control here in Canberra (particularly on 666 this morning) are calling for the ACT to follow the lead.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that people who make a habit of buying bottled water are indeed idiots. By which I mean the daily brigade.
But it’s a fashion thing, and the fashion has come from countries where the tap water is not as good as ours is (most of the time).
So yes, the vast millions spent on bottled water do seem poorly allocated, but have you seen what people spend on other junk they don’t really need?
Bottled water, as opposed to $600 handbags even has some pretty important benefits to society. You don’t need a lot of gray hair to remember the last time metropolitan drinking supplies were unsafe here in Australia.
IIRC back in 2003 here in Canberra we were being advised not to drink our tap water immediately after the fires.
At no cost to the taxpayer the bottled water industry provides an emergency drinking water supply (a pretty *good thing* TM to most people surely). It also provides, again at no cost to anyone but bottled water buyers, the infrastructure to quickly and efficiently deliver water as needed to where it’s needed.
So by all means choose to drink tap water from a re-usable bottle. I do it myself. But until we shut down every super market (all the transport! all the packaging!), let’s not lose our heads over the bottled water industry just because of a puritan streak inside many of us (myself included) disliking followers of fashion.
Especially when those followers of fashion are funding a very useful emergency amenity.
(As for whether the ACT PS should buy bottled water for its staff? Seriously, you don’t have anything bigger to worry about?)