Sydney householders are buying into the bottled water myth and in so doing, are delivering significant profits to the bottled water industry – for a product they have on tap at home, in parks, restaurants and at work.
As consumers become more ‘organics’ conscious, some bottled waters have now jumped on that bandwagon, labelling their water as ‘organic’. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has weighed into such labelling, describing such claims as nonsense and stating that companies labelling their water ‘organic’ risk action for misleading conduct if they continue.
The Australian Certified Organic (ACO) the larger of Australia’s two organic certification streams states “Some products, such as agricultural inputs, bottled water, salt and cosmetics cannot be certified organic”. Yet Sydney-siders have been paying a premium for this bottled ‘organic’ water.
It is an interesting situation to have arisen when Sydney households can easily access world-class water, by the litre for less than a cent, in their own homes. Our JEDI Plumbing team often reminds our Northern Beaches clients of just this fact.
And Then We Have ‘The Tap’ Advertising Campaign!
‘The Tap’ is an advertising campaign from Sydney Water to promote the benefits of drinking tap water in Sydney.
The campaign advises people at which Sydney restaurants they can consume tap water. This is despite laws passed in 2004 that require all cafes, restaurants, and licensed venues to serve tap water if requested. Those which refuse face significant fines, or the loss of their liquor license, calling into question the legitimacy of the $1.5 million ad spend.
It is fair for consumers to question the cost of a campaign that, like ‘organic’ bottled water, tries to cash in on the environmental sustainability concerns of residents. However, at the same time as $1.5 million is being spent trying to entice them to drink tap water, residents are facing annual water bill increases.
Sydney households will no doubt therefore be grateful that the minister, Mr Pearce, allegedly forced Sydney Water to reduce its spend, capping the cost of the campaign at $1.5million (down from the original $2.6m)
Coming in the wake of a $42,000 spend on Sydney Water’s 125th anniversary celebrations, we think householders are right to be questioning what their bill increases are paying for.
Tap Water Benefits According to ‘The Tap’
The benefits of the tap water delivered to taps across the Sydney region are outlined in ‘The Tap’. The campaign offers up such gems as –
“It’s the most sustainable choice when it comes to quenching your thirst because there’s no packaging.”
“Get sustainable, drink tap.”
“The tap is a product of Sydney Water and is readily available across the Sydney region.”
…facts of which the majority of consumers would already be aware.
It seems to be a strange use of tax payer money at a time when Sydney-siders, as the same time that they are being urged to cut waste and water usage, embrace sustainable living through the use of water tanks and water saving devices, are being hit with rising water supply and usage costs.
As a plumber on the northern beaches of Sydney, we know that consumers are doing much to save water. We are often called to check and fix leaks on properties, to install water saving shower heads, toilets, tap fittings and connect water tanks.
Sydney Water Quality
It would be unfortunate if the cost of the campaign clouded the real facts about the quality of Sydney water.
We are fortunate to have high quality water delivered through an established water supply network. It is a rigorously tested product and has been ranked world class in taste tests.
The process by which water gets to taps is through rain water collection in dams which is then processed in filtration plants before entering the pipe and reservoir system that delivers it to taps.
Whilst no water can be classified as “organic”, unlike other regions in the world there is no health or hygiene reason for bottled water in Sydney – we have a world class product (dare we say it?) on tap.