Last year around this time, WorldWatch Institute reported that bottled water sales “may” be declining. Now, this decline’s become a reality. Reports the Washington Post / L.A. Times: “sales of bottled water have fallen for the first time in at least five years, assailed by wrathful environmentalists and budget-conscious consumers who have discovered that tap water is practically free.”

Water fountain

Eco-nomical people are opting to bring their own reusable bottles — or less greenly, refilling the disposable plastic ones. Another option’s using water fountains, something the New York Times playfully report on by profiling park water fountains and their users in eight different cities (via LA Daily). The article kicks off with a complaint of sorts about the dearth of water fountains:

There are only about 2,700 public fountains in New York — and those are mostly confined to our parks and playgrounds — so we’re still forced, in the dehydrating August heat, to carry our water around with us, like camels.
Each city’s water fountain gets a whimsical sketch, a taste test, and a description of the myriad people who take drinks from them — which are colorful enough that they make you want to go fountain-watching. In San Francisco, for example:
Woman in very tight pants with bulldog; both drank simultaneously. Three girls in matching school uniforms. A boy who joins them and waits his turn …. Woman with boy and light saber. Two of the three uniformed girls come back. Woman in full-length parka. Man with cut-off gloves, sunglasses, cane.
To my horror, the L.A. fountain’s description is the shortest and saddest. The fountain in Westwood Park apparently has a “sour mineral taste” and no one drinks from the thing except the NYT reporter. I’m now in the process of identifying which L.A. councilmember’s district this fountain’s located in so we can complain.

Photo: crazzie97

Bottled water and its discontents
Bottled water sales are down, and public water fountains make for great people watching!