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October 8, 2013 > ACWD Column: Party Faux Pas Raises Awareness

ACWD Column: Party Faux Pas Raises Awareness

By Sharene Gonzales, ACWD Public Affairs Specialist

ÒAll aboard!Ó the driver of our rented party bus commanded.

After talking about it for years, my friends and I finally decided to embark on a day-long excursion through CaliforniaÕs wine country. What better way to winery-hop than in a tinted-out party bus!

We piled in with bags of snacks to ensure we would have plenty to munch on throughout the day. The last item loaded before we hit the road - the ice chest. This didnÕt strike me as odd because not all on board were wine drinkers. I figured the ice chest housed other beverages and spirits.

Stop one Ð a small, family-owned winery. We unload, anxious to begin what is sure to be an eventful day. After a few tastings and some chit-chat with the wine maker, we make our way back to the bus.

Staying hydrated can help keep a good day from turning bad, especially when 10 wineries are involved. Realizing this, a friend reaches in to the ice chest and pulls out a popular brand of bottled water.

ÒHere, want one, Sharene?Ó my friend asks.

ÒNo thanks,Ó I reply. ÒIÕm not a big fan of bottled water.Ó

ÒOh yeah, why not?Ó my friend responds.

And with that, I dig into my insulated snack pack, extract my trusty refillable water bottle, and launch into my explanation.

I may have committed a party bus faux pas by extolling the virtues of tap water while touring wine country, but it turns out that it makes for pretty interesting conversation, even over a glass of Cabernet!

One of the most common questions IÕm asked during such a conversation is, ÒIs my water safe to drink?Ó My answer, with no hesitation, is a resounding ÒYes!Ó Yet I am surprised by how many people ask this question and genuinely doubt the safety of their drinking water. But, as a glass-half-full kind of person, I see these interactions as a chance to provide more information about tapÕs benefits. Again, I can be a bit of a geek about this stuff so I take pride when I see the light bulb go on as someone starts to realize that tap water is often a better choice than bottled.

Drinking tap water has many benefits over drinking bottled water. A few of these include:
* Tap water is more strictly regulated than bottled water.
* Tap water is delivered right to your home.
* Tap water comes with no wasteful packaging.
* Tap water costs nearly 1,000 times less than bottled water.

LetÕs think about this for a second. Why would you pay 1,000 times more for bottled water when tap water is essentially the same product? Would you pay $3,890 per gallon for Brand A gasoline when you could buy Brand B gasoline for $3.89 per gallon? The same applies to milk or any other commodity. Price alone makes me a big proponent of tap water.

Fortunately, the tides are slowly changing as more and more people share the message about drinking tap water. An obvious example is the installation of refillable water bottle stations at schools, universities, and by municipalities. The use of such stations will help to reduce the number of plastic water bottles that would otherwise end up in landfills, litter our public places, or make their way to waterways where they become a hazard to aquatic wildlife.

My crusade for tap water goes on, however, and I am still working to fully convince my friends to abandon bottled water. After all, those closest to us can be our toughest critics.

As for the party bus conversation, if some found it a faux pas, I could have easily reminded them that it takes water to make wine.

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