Spring 2008 Vol. 6 No. 1
Bottled Water: A Growing Trend
with a Growing Cost
W ith skyrocketing sales and extensive
marketing, bottled water is big business in
the United States and around the world.
Bottled water sales have quadrupled in the past 20
years, and continue to grow by about 10% each year.
costs of bottled
water also are
billions of plastic
Global sales of bottled water amount to more than bottles showing up
$50 billion a year, according to a recent report by the in landfills every
Pacific Institute. year. In 2005, 2
More than half of all Americans drink bottled water million tons of
occasionally, and about one-third say they drink it plastic water bottles ended up in landfills instead of
regularly. Depending on the brand, bottled water can getting recycled, according to the Natural Resources
cost 1,000 times more per gallon than the high-quality Defense Council (NRDC).
tap water available in most communities. Some This article provides a look at bottled water and some
imported brands cost more than 10,000 times more important facts to consider in deciding whether
per gallon than tap water; much of that cost goes for bottled water or tap water is your drink of choice.
bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing Is Bottled Water Safer?
and profit. The NRDC conducted a four-year study of bottled
So what’s driving the growing demand for bottled water that included a comparison of safety standards
water? Experts say some people choose bottled water for bottled water and tap water and independent
because they perceive it to be safer than tap water. testing of over 1,000 bottles of water. The conclusion?
For some, the choice is based on taste or convenience. There is no assurance that water from a bottle is any
But several studies have shown bottled water is not cleaner or safer than water from the tap. In fact, the
necessarily purer or safer than water from the faucet. study found, an estimated 25% to 40% of bottled
Federal standards for bottled water safety are water is actually tap water in a bottle. Though
generally less stringent than those governing tap sometimes it is filtered or further treated before
water, and it can be difficult to find out exactly what bottling, often it is not. One brand of “spring” water
is in bottled water. “Bottled Water” continued on page 3
Make a Difference
Directors Refillable Bottles – SSWD Offers Convenient Alternative
David J. Githens Refillable plastic water bottles from Sacramento Suburban Water District
President, Division 1 are a great alternative to single-use bottles that more often than not end
Neil W. Schild up in landfills.
Division 2 Everyday actions can make a difference when it comes to supporting
Ken R. Decio sustainability. Pick up a free, refillable water bottle at:
Division 3 The next SSWD Community Outreach Day (see page 2).
Thomas C. Fellenz SSWD’s Administrative Office during the month of May
Division 5 (while supplies lasts).
Stephen R. Hanson
Thank you for your conservation efforts!
Make it Outdoor Watering
SWD is committed to providing a high
J oin the
who pay their
quality, reliable water supply to customers.
To achieve this goal, the Board of Directors
adopted a regulation that incorporates enforced
water conservation measures. Water abuse will
result in a fine or penalty. A crucial element of this
water bills the easy regulation involves customer cooperation in
managing water use. SSWD adheres to an
way with on-line bill payment or Direct odd/even watering schedule as follows:
Payment Service. These payment options
make bill paying simple and convenient. ; Addresses ending in odd numbers water
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Go to www.sswd.org or call 916.972.7171
to learn more. ; Addresses ending in even numbers water
Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.
; No watering on Monday.
Community Outreach Day To avoid peak energy hours and minimize
evaporation set your automatic landscape
Recycle Your E-Waste sprinkler timers to operate during periods of low
lectronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest consumption between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
growing waste streams in the world. Most e- Watering during this time reduces water loss due
waste products contain high levels of toxic to evaporation. Avoid water use during the peak
elements that are prohibited for disposal in landfills. energy demand hours of 11:00 a.m. through
If not properly disposed of, the toxins e-waste 7:00 p.m.
products contain, such as lead and mercury, can seep
into the groundwater supply. This event promotes to If you have manual sprinklers, water in the cool
safely and environmentally recycle obsolete morning or evening hours. Set a timer to help you
electronics, which helps keep our groundwater clean. remember when to turn off your water.
Join SSWD in reducing our impact on the Need a little help remembering which days to
environment. Bring your e-waste (see below for water? Pick up your outdoor watering schedule
items accepted) to SSWD’s Community Outreach Day magnet at the administrative office at 3701 Marconi
on Saturday, May 3, 2008 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Ave, Suite 100, Sacramento during business
at Antelope Gardens, 7800 Antelope North Road, hours. Put the magnet on your refrigerator as a
Antelope (see “Feature News” at www.sswd.org for helpful reminder.
Items accepted: computers, monitors, computer
mouse/mice, computer components, keyboards,
coaxial cables, power cables, miscellaneous computer
peripherals, digital cameras, printers, toner
cartridges, scanners, palm pilots, DVD players, MP3
players, walkmans, video game systems, audio/visual
equipment, projectors, stereo equipment, speakers,
“If you think you’re too small to
TVs, VCR wireless devices, cell phones, pagers, make a difference, then you’ve
telephone equipment, copiers, fax machines,
never spent the night in a tent
Items NOT accepted: car batteries, tires, household
with a mosquito.”
chemicals, household appliances, light fixtures, Canadian First Nations Elder
furniture, lamps, and smoke detectors.
2 Sacramento Suburban Water District
5. Having an ample supply of _________ is a top priority
Kids’ Corner Water Fun Contest in an emergency such as an earthquake.
Win a goodie bag full of cool stuff! SSWD is having a water
fun contest for ages 4-12. The first 50 kids to answer all 6. Just _______(hint: a number) leaky faucet can waste
10 questions correctly and mail or drop off the responses to up to 100 gallons of water a day.
the address below by May 16, 2008, will win a Water 7. Kids and adults can save water by turning off the faucet
Efficiency Goodie Bag which includes a SSWD Water Bottle when _______ ________, washing hands, and shaving.
and a Water-Wise Gardening CD for Mom and Dad.
Hint: Answers can be found at www.sswd.org. 8. Adapting to climate change and promoting sustainability in
our operations and business decisions will be top priorities
1. The next SSWD Community Outreach event is on for ____________ in the coming years.
Saturday, May 3, 2008 at ______ _______ from
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 9. Every home should have a supply of water stored for at
2. By replacing your high flush toilet with a 1.6-gallon Ultra least ______ days of emergency use.
Low Flush Toilet you can save up to ________ gallons 10. During a Water-Wise House Call you can learn about
of water per person per day. your landscape watering requirements, your irrigation
3. SSWD staff is available to give ____________ system and receive a personal watering schedule, and
regarding water conservation, water supply, water quality avoid future problems with your __________ system.
and many other water topics to clubs, schools, Be sure drop off or mail your answers by May 16, 2008 to
organizations and community groups. SSWD Attn: Kids Corner Contest, 3701 Marconi Ave, Ste
4. It is recommended that people drink at least two quarts (64 100, Sacramento, CA 95821. Hurry, only the first 50
ounces), which is equal to _____ cups, of water each day. correctly answered entries win!
Bottled Water continued from page 1 are required to publish annual consumer confidence
cited in the study was in fact from a well near an reports that describe any contaminants found in
industrial facility. The brand’s label pictured a pristine drinking water and their detection amounts. There is
mountain lake. no mandatory reporting for water bottlers.
The NRDC study found that while most bottled water Energy Use: A Growing Concern
appears to be safe, the quality can be inconsistent. With climate change and sustainability a growing
Some samples were found to contain contaminants focus, numerous experts see many environmental
(chemical or bacterial) at levels above those downsides to bottled water use.
recommended by the Food and Drug Administration Most bottled water is sold in polyethylene
(FDA), which regulates bottled water. terephthalate (PET) bottles, which used nearly
900,000 tons of plastic in 2006. PET is produced from
Bottled Water vs. Tap Water: Different Rules Apply fossil fuels, typically natural gas and petroleum.
Bottled water is regulated by the federal FDA. In
California, the state Department of Public Health’s According to the Pacific Institute, producing the
Food and Drug Branch is responsible for licensing plastic bottles used by Americans in 2006 required
and regulating bottled water manufacturers. the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil.
Bottling the water produced more than 2.5 million
Tap water is regulated by the U.S. Environmental tons of global-warming carbon dioxide.
Protection Agency (EPA). The California Department
of Public Health’s Drinking Water Program regulates Filling the bottles with water and shipping them to
public drinking water systems throughout the state. market requires additional energy. The Pacific
Institute estimates the total amount of energy
The NRDC study noted several areas in which the “embedded” in bottled water may be equivalent to
FDA’s bottled water rules were less stringent than filling a plastic bottle one-quarter full of oil.
EPA’s regulations for tap water. Key areas included
requirements that tap water from surface water The NRDC and other groups recently reported that in
sources must be filtered and disinfected (no such 2006, the equivalent of 2 billion half-liter bottles of
requirement applies to bottled water at the federal water were shipped to U.S. ports, adding thousands of
level), more frequent testing for coliform bacteria tons of global warming emissions to the environment.
(which indicates the possible presence of germs) and Environmental groups estimate that just 13% of the
other contaminants is required for tap water than for plastic water bottles used are recycled, leaving millions
bottled water, and stronger enforcement provisions of bottles destined for landfills or ending up as litter.
apply to tap water than to bottled. SSWD recommends filling reusable water bottles at
Another key area is reporting of water quality your home, where a gallon of tap water typically costs
sampling and testing results. Public water suppliers less than a half a penny.
Spring 2008 3
How does your garden grow? Orchid Rockrose
(Cistus x Purpureus)
F ound along the pathways at SSWD’s Antelope Gardens,
Orchid Rockrose is a heat-loving, shrub that is sure to
be a show stopper in your water-efficient garden. This
native to the Mediterranean can be found throughout this
region in rock gardens or softening the edges of walkways. It
propagates easily by layering or from cuttings.
Papery, orchid-pink flowers dotted with burgundy eyes at the
Orchid Rockrose of GardenSoft. petal base bloom from late spring to summer. Planted in full
Photos courtesy sun for optimal growth and flowers, Orchid Rockrose can
tolerate poor soils and is drought tolerant when established. Often seen used as a
ground cover because the Rockrose is relatively fast growing and its dark green
foliage covers the plant from the top of the plant to its base, close to the ground.
The Rockrose is useful as a foundation plant and along fence lines. It is useful as
a bank cover or on a hillside when planted in masses to help control erosion.
This shrub can grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Needing little to no fertilizer, but be
sure to provide good drainage to prevent root rot. Most Rockroses resent pruning, so to keep
vigorous tip-pinch young plants to thicken growth. To catch a glimpse of this hardy, water-conserving
plant, call for a tour of SSWD’s Antelope Garden at 972.7171. Printed on recycled
paper with soy ink.
Each ton of recycled paper
Visit our website at: www.sswd.org saves 7,000 gallons of water.
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
; Kids’ Corner
; Outdoor Watering
; Make a Difference
Sacramento, CA 95821 a Growing Cost
Suite 100 Growing Trend with
3701 Marconi Avenue Bottled Water: A ;
Permit No. 516
Sacramento, CA Issue:
PAID Spring 2008
US POSTAGE In This