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Tap Water, Now Competing in Vancouver

Water utilities and municipalities are finally getting hip to the promotional opportunity that big events can present. From little local festivals to the Olympics, events are a perfect place for tap water proponents to strut their stuff. Vancouver is getting in the game despite overwhelming competition from heavily-favored Coca Cola/Dasani, who has paid handsomely for their Olympic sponsorship slot.

During the Olympic Games, The City of Metro Vancouver and the Province of Ontario set up a “water wagon” downtown to offer local tap water straight from the Seymour Reservoir.

Thanks to Sweet One on Flickr, who snapped this shot on his iPhone, we can have a peek! He and others, though, pointed out that while the water was clear the benefactor was not!

Apparently the Province of Ontario is serving Metro Vancouver tap water… to promote Ontario tap water? I’m confused.

Maybe it’s because we’re all so unaccustomed to cooperation when water is involved!

Anyhow, Metro Vancouver has been running a tap water campaign since 2008; one of the the stated goals was to reduce bottled water use 20% by 2010. (Wait, that’s NOW!) With a sluggish economy, all the cheapies and frugalistas gotta love the price–13 liters for just a penny.

Diners Declare Tap Water Charges Tough to Swallow

You’ve got to fight (bomp bomp) for your right (bomp bomp) to hyyyy-drate. With continued talk about emerging “water wars” we remember that the greatest battles start with a single shot. One blogger’s “shot” is brewing into a brouhaha that’s spreading across Singapore, and the opposition isn’t exactly waving the white flag.

“Doomsday” Jim, our sharp-eyed Southeast Asia trendspotter, tips us to this item from the malaysianinsider.com:

SINGAPORE, July 12 — A blogger in Singapore, upset that a restaurant would not serve her tap water which she needed to take her medication with, is urging diners to boycott such outlets.

Veron Ang — urged on by some netizens — went further and posted on her blog a list of 62 restaurants that she claimed do not serve free water. It provoked angry reactions from several of the eateries which said they do serve water without charge.

Ang said that in May, she dined at a restaurant in the west that refused to serve her water although she needed it for her medication. After she “Twittered” the incident, her friends urged her to create a list of similar eating places. She compiled an initial list from her own experience, as well as going to reviews on a food website, and asking friends on Facebook and Twitter.

After her list was posted on blog aggregating site Tomorrow.sg, other contributions started flowing in. Her initial list, first posted last month, grew to 62 restaurants. It has been circulated by many Twitter users and websites.

As the list (posted here) of no-free-tappers grows in submissions, traffic and media attention, proprietors are responding–some angry, some dismissive, but all unappreciative of the exposure.

The marketing and sales manager for The Tapas Tree Group, Lyn Yip, said: “We find this list to be libellous, and will not hesitate to engage our lawyer if we are not removed from the list and the situation is not rectified immediately.

“We live in a time when the influence of web opinion cannot be ignored, so bloggers have to approach their entries with responsibility, especially when composing defamatory lists.

The managing director of Italian restaurant La Forketta, Gracie Vitale, said: “Our patrons are serious diners and come for our food, not to taste water. It’s the customer with a budget who insists on tap water.” She added that, outside Singapore, “nobody really asks for tap water”.

Jeffrey Jumahat, manager of Cafe Le Caire which does not serve free water, also shrugged off the list’s boycott exhortation. “To be frank, I don’t think customers will just boycott because of water. There’s no urgent need to take action at this point of time,” he said.

Jack Chin, co-founder of Mad Jack’s, said his chain of four restaurants does not serve free water because manpower is needed to refill and wash the glasses. He added: “People who complain are not educated about business costs because nothing is free.”

Bakerzin, which started serving free water in April last year, said it incurred costs of S$25,000 (RM60,000) to install special water filters at its 10 sit-down dining outlets

Taking the list seriously is Alps Cafe owner Danny Ang, who is rethinking his policy of “free water only if you ask for it”. His cafe had stopped serving water at dinner only late last year, but he does serve free tap water to customers who want it. He said: “I’m worried about the list. If customers really want it, I might consider raising the price of the food to give everyone free water.”

Several patrons contacted dismissed the reasons cited for not giving free tap water.

Sales manager Renee Koh, 32, said: “Serving plain water for free should really be part of the service experience and I find it hard to think that the costs are that high, given that the water served is just chilled tap water.”

Aun Koh, director of media and lifestyle consultancy Ate Media which published Asia’s first restaurant guide The Miele Guide, said: “In Singapore, there is no excuse other than snobbish vanity to drink bottled water and no reason other than an attempt to increase revenues for restaurateurs to refuse to offer tap water to their patrons.” — Straits Times

Sneaky Recycling at the Mini-Bar

We usually feel it’s a crime to fail to recycle plastic bottles, but not always, as in this funny-but-not-funny case of felonious recycling and abuse of “fresh sink water” spotted by our pal  “Eagle-eye Jim”:

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Avoid Minibar Charges

from hotelchatter.com…(readers were asked) to tell him about their fave minibar beverage experience. Sandwiched between the “minibars are stupid and expensive” and “minibars are lousy places for wine” comments, we noticed someone has responded with this:

Im ashamed but its too dam [sic] funny that i woke up in a drunk daze after a wedding and drank this whole Evian in the room then looked in the morning at the paper attached to the neck saying if bottle consumed, room will be charged 7.50 so i filled that shit up with some fresh sink water and used a lighter to seal that cap back on haha..

Here, we bottled water boycotters can have a good hearty laugh, while the bottled water holdouts can feel slightly uneasy. Whatever your opinion on tap water, I bet this might convince you to consider the merits of “fresh sink water!”

Photo: No, it’s NOT the actual bottle portrayed in the story, but one from mrjojo on Flickr. There is no evidence that this incident took place (or didn’t take place!) at Marriott.

Portland tap water really sticks with you

Think you can out-sticker me? Trying to get yourself on the map? Go ahead and try! Don’t have a sticker, you say? No excuse because I’ve scanned one for you! Download a pdf copy here and print off your own. Then, snap a photo of Portland Water’s “I Only Drink Tap Water” sticker in your town and email it to Jennie Day-Burget at the Portland Water Blog. Just remember I was first.

To digest a long and funny story as briefly as possible,

  1. I read The Portland Water Blog (you should, too–hugely informative and entertaining!)
  2. PWBlogmistress Jennie Day-Burget writes on the Blog that, “Our ‘I Only Drink Tap Water’  sticker was seen all the way in Berkeley, California!”
  3. PWBlogmistress generously offers to send stickers to other Blog-fans who request them.
  4. I, of course, request some and PWBlogmistress mails some stickers to me.
  5. I think, well… I live in Kansas City, so I can outdo Berkeley, California distance-wise. And then…

We put the sticker on our town’s beloved Kansas City Scout, photographed it, and sent it to the PWBlogmistress who shared it with the people of Portland!

Awesome! But wait a minute. Someone’s sure to try to outdo me! Maybe you? See the top of the post.

DNC: have your water and drink it, too

Primo brand bottled water is all over the press and the Democratic National Convention in Denver, as it’s the only brand (right now) that comes in the politically-correct biodegradable bottle. I’m not sure, though, why Denver Water’s DNC tap water twist hasn’t captured alot of media-love as well.  The Denver Post reports,

When Democratic National Convention delegates, protesters and gawkers are looking for a cool drink, Denver Water will have it.

The city’s water utility — combining the finest in beer-keg and dairy-milking technology — has built the Denver Water Trailer. The $42,000 trailer was to carry 200 gallons of cold — 42 degrees Fahrenheit — water at events from the media kickoff party Saturday at Elitch Gardens to Invesco Field at Mile High on the day of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.

The water trailer also will appear at the Green Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Green Frontier Fest at the Denver Performing Arts Complex’s Sculpture Park.

The trailer is the brainchild of a group at Denver Water looking for a way to provide an “environmentally friendly” service at big outdoor events. “There are always lots and lots of plastic water bottles in the litter after a big concert,” said Terri Chavez, a Denver Water community-relations specialist. “So the idea was to reduce that.”