Push For Tap Water Hits Streets and Shelves

The Summer Streets weekend festival wasn’t just about diving into dumpster pools and biking without fear of rogue cab drivers on Park Avenue. The City of New York used the three Saturdays to push an agenda New Yorkers are already familiar with: tap water.

New York City Tap Water Amanda Wills

The Water-on-the-Go program is part of Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to create new open space throughout the city. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

In July, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway launched a new program to make New York City drinking water easily available at outdoor public locations and events throughout the city this summer.

Running through Labor Day weekend, the Water-on-the-Go program features new fountains all five boroughs at public plazas, city parks, green markets and special events.

The outdoor drinking water stations are connected to fire hydrants, with six faucets for direct drinking or for filling a water bottle. All fountains also feature separate bowls of water for pets.

“We’ve made unprecedented investments in maintaining and improving the system that delivers world-renowned drinking water every day to 8.4 million New Yorkers,” says Mayor Bloomberg.

“Our water is the healthiest, most affordable and most environmentally friendly way to stay hydrated.”

New York City drinking water is world-renowned for its quality. The Department of Environmental Protection performs more than 900 tests daily, 27,000 monthly and 330,000 on an annual basis from up to 1,000 sampling locations throughout the city.

But while New Yorkers boast an affinity for its award-winning tap water, convenience is still key in a bustling city of more than 8 million.

“Sometimes, I just don’t think about toting my reusable bottle with me to work and the gym,” says Jennifer Arab, a 34-year-old Manhattan resident. “It’s just easier to buy it.”

Capitalizing on that need-it-now concept, in 2008, Tap’dNY began bottling and selling New York City’s tap water under the claim of why ship water from Fuji, when it’s just as good here?

While the company is still in its early formation, its product has already made it on the gift shop shelves of popular New York landmarks, such as the Empire State Building. Its localized concept has had its fair share of scrutiny, but the company operates under the idea that “if you’re going to buy and use plastic water bottles, keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.”

Tap’dNY bottled water comes with a $1.50 price tag. However, New Yorkers can flip on the tap for approximately one cent per gallon.

While New York is splashing in the bliss of its pure water campaign, it’s tap water actually isn’t No. 1 for overall quality in the U.S., according to the Environmental Working Group. In an assessment of the top 50 cities with the best tap water quality, Kansas City took the top spot, while Portland, Ore. and Louisville, Ky. rounded out the top three.

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