take back the tap

    Published: March 24, 2015

    World Water Day Series Part 2—U of Miami’s Take Back the Tap Pledge

    The United Nation’s World Water Day event does more than educate people on the importance of freshwater, although this alone in an important goal. The United Nations also encourages international action to bring about more sustainable, environmentally-conscious water use. The University of Miami’s Take Back the Tap is one such initiative.

    Take Back the Tap encourages students, faculty, and staff to use tap water and reusable bottles in place of wasteful and overpriced disposable bottled water. According to the Pacific Institute:

    • It takes the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil to produce the bottled water consumed every year in the US, not counting transportation.
    • Annually, disposable bottled water production releases 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the environment.
    • It takes three liters of water to produce a single liter of bottled water.

    The bottled water industry might as well be the poster child for unsustainable water use, and that’s not considering the potential health risks of ingesting chemicals leached out of plastic bottles into water, or the fact that out of the 50 billion plastic water bottles consumed in the US only 23% are recycled.

    It gets worse. Many “exotic” bottled water brands come from countries with limited access to fresh water, so drinking bottled water takes water from those with far less access to safe water than those of us lucky enough to live in developed nations. As for the accusation some “pure” bottled water is essentially bottled tap water, well, it wouldn’t be the first time marketing and a high price tag tricked people into buying what they could acquire right at home.

    The University of Miami’s Take Back the Tap challenge asks participants to opt for tap water and reusable sports bottles rather than buying bottled water. Campus events are also asked to limit plastic water bottle use.

    To make it easier to switch to reusable bottles, the university pledged to invest in more drinking fountains and filling stations, and keep such stations well-maintained. UM also promised its support to policies supporting healthy public water systems and the maintenance of water distribution systems locally and globally.

    You don’t need to be a member of the University of Miami community to take part in Take Back the Tap—all you need is a Pelican H2Go reusable sports bottle. For cleaner, safer water from your home’s tap consider one of Pelican Water’s many filtration systems, including countertop or whole house filters which improve water quality in a sustainable manner—and at a much better value than bottled water.