The Federal of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is encouraging local governments to reduce the use of bottled water in their own facilities where other options are available.

At a meeting on March 7 in Victoria, B.C., FCM’s national board of directors resolved to encourage municipalities to “phase out the sale and purchase of bottled water at their own facilities where appropriate and where potable water is available.”

“Today’s action is another illustration of how municipalities are leading by example to encourage environmentally sustainable water choices,” said FCM president Jean Perrault, mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.

The resolution does not call for a ban on the sale of bottled water to consumers. “Regulating bottled water for public consumption falls under provincial and federal jurisdiction,” said Perrault. “All orders of government must work together to reduce reliance on a product that produces more waste, costs more and uses more energy than simple, dependable municipal tap water.”

“This cooperation among governments must extend to investments in local water systems. The most economical and reliable source of drinking water is a first-rate municipal water system. Where these systems are lacking, all orders of government must help fund the necessary infrastructure.”

FCM’s resolution also calls on municipalities to develop awareness campaigns about the positive benefits and quality of municipal water supplies. Municipalities will determine their local course of action.

The resolution was put forward by the cities of Toronto and London, Ont., over growing concerns for environmental impacts related to the production of bottled water, the energy requirements for the production and transport of bottled water, as well as the disposal and/or recycling of water bottles.

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