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City pays big for bottled water: S.F. spends half a million a year, spurns Hetch Hetchy's product
San Francisco, owner of a pristine reservoir in the Sierra Nevada with a reputation for producing some of the country's best-tasting tap water, has spent more than $2 million of taxpayers' money in the past 4 1/2 years on bottled water, public records show.
From the mayor's office in City Hall to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, city employees and politicians enjoy individual bottles and jugs from the water cooler even though in many cases a faucet is nearby.
Among the thirstiest departments and agencies in San Francisco during the city's last fiscal year: Public Health, which spent $139,926 on bottled water; the Municipal Railway, which spent $65,780; and San Francisco International Airport, which spent $65,670, according to the records.
Even the city's Public Utilities Commission -- which performed a blind taste test on the street during National Drinking Water Week last May to convince people that tap water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park is at least as good as the stuff at the store -- spent $8,622 on bottled water.