How many times have you been asked that question--"still or sparkling?" when you sit down at a restaurant. And how many times have you been made to feel like a cheapskate when your answer to the waiter was "tap water, please" ? The Evening Standard, a feisty little London newspaper, has started a "Water on Tap" campaign, urging restaurateurs to sign a pledge to offer tap water to patrons. The paper wants to change the image of tap water and make it socially acceptable to ask for it and drink it. Now Briton's drink 3 billion bottles a year, half of which are flown or shipped in--that's a lot of carbon emissions for something so readily available.
Research has shown that 70% of the public thinks that mineral water in restaurants is too expensive. Nine out of ten restaurants pushed patrons to buy bottled water, often at outrageous prices--some have charged £3.50 ($7.00) for a bottle and few offer tap water. We already know that London's tap water is healthy and that in taste tests it rates just as well, if not better than some brands of bottled water. One restaurant, Zilli's has already banned bottled water across all 4 of its branches. In support, the Chancellor will be drinking water when he presents his budget next week. Stop Press: It has just been announced that "only tap water will be served at (Prime Minister) Gordon Brown's Cabinet sessions and during official business". :: Evening Standard