In just the first quarter of last year, the House spent a whopping $190,000 on bottled water ($120,000 of that went to Deer Park water). John Boehner, the new house speaker, says he will move to cut budgets by 5 percent starting tomorrow. Will the bottled water budget be included in these cuts?
Bradford Fitch, the CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, maintains that the House’s consumption of bottled water is not a luxury, but a necessity due to “D.C. tap water’s reputation.”
Washington, D.C.’s tap water reputation was certainly sullied when it was discovered that the tap water contained unsafe levels of lead.
But DC tap water has come a long way in the last few years. In a blind taste test, DC tap water was preferred over bottled water. DC Water has also set up new facilities around town, and they’ve become more transparent. DC Water’s FAQ page addresses and answers concerns about various contaminants. It specifically details what DC water is doing to ensure lead doesn’t enter into home tap water.
Is all of this enough to convince the House to scale back on their bottled water consumption? Should it be? And what does it say about Congress if they’re content to let DC residents drink tap water that they themselves will not drink or attempt to fix?