cityhall3.jpgWater fountains in San Francisco could soon have some equally thirst-quenching neighbors, thanks to legislation introduced by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu Tuesday.

His proposed ordinance, if enacted, would improve public access to clean, free drinking water by adding water bottle filling stations in all new and renovated construction.

The stations, also known as Drink Tap stations, can be installed individually or in tandem with familiar drinking fountains, called bubblers.

Chiu hopes that his legislation would promote the use of reusable bottles and reduce waste associated with bottled water.

“Every 27 hours Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the entire equator with plastic bottles stacked end to end,” Chiu said Tuesday.

The legislation also supports the existing Soda Free Summer initiative, which encourages more San Franciscans to give thought to their beverage choices, by making it easier to access tap water.

San Francisco’s government is already prohibited from purchasing bottled water after a July 2007 executive directive issued by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom took effect.

To support implementation of the ordinance, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Department of Building Inspection and Department of the Environment will provide outreach and documentation for developers and contractors.

SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington stressed that the city’s drinking water, sourced from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, is “some of the best tasting tap water” and is economical, at less than a penny a gallon.

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