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As we move forward in our Love Local Water initiative, you’ll notice that Aquafina bottled water has now been replaced with Bubly (flavored sparkling water) or Lifewater (“enhanced” vitamin water) in vending machines. One more step closer to honoring our readily available, clean, local tap water! We recognize this is a complex process, with lots of questions and grey area. You may be wondering:
Q: Is all the water coming out of our drinking fountains and sinks actually safe to drink?
A: The places that students have tested on campus so far meet federal standards for key pollutants. Minneapolis tap water consistently meets standards. What are those standards anyways? Who determines them? What if what feels “safe” to me is different than the standards?
Q: Aren’t these new options just bottled water with a marketing twist?
A: Perhaps. What do you think? What about people who might not drink plain water but could stay hydrated by drinking these?
Q: Aren’t we encouraging more sugary beverage consumption by removing plain water as an option?
A: We don’t know yet what people’s purchasing habits will be, but we have data on which beverages were previously purchased. Do you know someone who needs a water bottle so they can get free water at the drinking fountains? Send them to the Campus Cupboard to pick one up!
Q: Why are we even doing this? Why does it matter?
A: Good question. Want to talk more about this? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Why did you answer all these questions with more questions?
A: Because we are complex creatures living in a complex world in which environmental sustainability doesn’t usually fit nicely into “good” or “bad” actions and outcomes. And aren’t we all here to be critical thinkers amidst our thoughtful stewardship?