Ban the bottle, drink tap water

WHEN former Tweed Shire Council administrator and mayor Max Boyd wants a drink of water he goes to the tap.

It is a habit he hopes other Tweed residents will continue to follow, enjoying what he says is some of the purest water in the country, available for a fraction of a cent per litre.

This week his sentiments were echoed by residents of Bundanoon in the NSW Southern Highlands, who want to stop the sale of bottled water and encourage locals and visitors alike to simply turn on a tap.

On Wednesday night the tiny town made history when residents overwhelmingly voted to ban the sale of bottled water as part of a promotional stunt labelled “Bundy on tap”.

“I take the view it seems quite ridiculous to have people buying water when you can refill a container, preferably not plastic, from a tap,” said Mr Boyd, a view he commonly expressed when he headed the council.

“Town water supplies, in the Tweed in particular, are of a very high standard.

“And the price of water out of a tap is about $1.34 or $1.35 per thousand litres. If you buy a bottle of water it can be $1.30 for 600 millilitres.”

Mr Boyd said he has always “lived on rainwater”.

And he believes it is “quite a waste of energy” to send water, often extracted from underground supplies in areas including the Tweed, to factories for bottling in plastic then truck it back to shop shelves.

“It's great for people to drink water - I'm not suggesting they shouldn't - but there's much cheaper ways of doing it.

“I was told recently there are people drawing water from underground in the Tweed and they are getting half-a-cent a litre for water which is used in a well-known soft drink,” he said.

“If people want to be careful about the quality of the water they drink, they can put in their own little distillation plant in their kitchen.

“But the cheapest way, if all you want water for is to ensure you don't become dehydrated, is to fill up from a tap.”

Mr Boyd pointed out the council was currently spending $80million on a new Bray Park water treatment plant with the latest technology to ensure Tweed's rapidly growing population has a top tap water supply.

In the wake of the Bundanoon moves to ban bottled water NSW Premier Nathan Rees has ordered all state government departments and agencies to stop buying it.

Mr Rees said the ban would save taxpayer money and help reduce the impact on the environment of producing and disposing plastic bottles.

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