University of California, Berkeley
This campaign made possible with support from

I Heart Tap Water is a collaborative campaign between Cal Dining, Recreational Sports, Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) and University Health Services to promote the drinking of tap water as the preferred beverage of choice.

Your Campus

Consumption

  • During the 2009-10 school year, the Berkeley campus sold over 17,000 cases of bottled water, translating to 430,630 individual plastic bottles. Thanks in part to the I Heart Tap Water campaign and most students now carrying a refillable water container, this is a 48% decrease in campus bottled water sales since 2005-06. However, we still have a long way to go to eliminate the wasteful habit of purchasing water in disposable plastic bottles.
  • In a 2006 survey of over 800 Cal students, 70% said they rarely drink from campus tap water sources. They identified the need for more sources of drinking water and more convenient locations to refill non-disposable water bottles. They also said we need to improve the perception of water safety and perception of cleanliness of water fountains. This survey is being repeated in Fall 2011 and these results will be updated here when completed.

Safety

  • See the campus tap water quality FAQ.
  • Tap water at UC Berkeley is sourced from the Sierra Nevada snowmelt and then further filtered by our water district East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) before it reaches campus water fountains. Water quality is determined through rigorous testing for contaminants and results must meet or surpass federal and state drinking standards. As such, the water UC Berkeley receives from the tap is very high quality.
  • See the 2010 Water Quality Report from (EBMUD).
  • Results from a campus water fountain assessment in the Fall of 2009 by the Community Nutrition class, revealed that in over 450 water fountains located all over campus, only 21 fountains were rated unacceptable. The follow-up to these fountains included repair or removal. Over 220 of the fountains received an excellent rating and 203 received acceptable.

    Fountains on campus are cleaned daily by our campus facilities staff. Given that fountains may or may not be used on a daily basis, it is recommended to run the water for a several seconds prior to drinking from them.

    If you should encounter a water fountain that is in need of attention, please send an email to Patrick Kaulback, the campus Sanitarian, at pkaulback@berkeley.edu. Thank you for your help!

Refill Stations on Campus

  • See the new interactive map identifying Refill Stations and favorite water fountains on campus.
  • The 2011 TGIF grant funded installation of refill stations in Boalt Hall, Evans Hall, Stanley Hall, and University Hall. The refill station in Barrows Hall is coming soon.
  • Refill Stations have been installed in new campus buildings: LiKaShing, Boalt Infill and the Athletic Performance Center.
  • The I Heart Tap Water campaign received a 2010 TGIF grant to work with Capitol Projects on the development of Design Guidelines for Installation of Refill Stations in Existing Buildings. This grant also funded the installation of the refill station in Dwinelle Hall and several departments have funded a refill station in their buildigns: Haas School of Business, Wurster Hall, Tang Center.
  • The first two Hydration Stations were installed at Recreational Sports. See Quench Your Thirst the Berkeley Way (Berkeleyan article, 3/19/09)

Your Health

  • US calorie consumption per person per day has increased by over 500 calories since the 1970s.
  • Sweetened beverages intake nearly tripled during that same time period.
  • Sweetened beverages account for a large portion of the total increase in calorie intake.
  • These extra empty calories are a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic and associated complications such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. We need to select more calorie-free beverages and water is a great healthy, accessible, and refreshing choice!
  • Added sugar in beverages may be more detrimental to your health than added sugar in food. Studies suggest that we compensate for liquid sugar less effectively than for solid sugar and that people who consume more liquid calories consume more total calories.
  • Health experts are recommending we limit ourselves to about 10 teaspoons of added sugar per day, but Americans currently consume an average of 20 teaspoons per day. One 12-ounce can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar; energy drinks can range from 7 to 17 teaspoons; and a medium size mocha coffee or frappuccino has 8 teaspoons.

    Tip: 4.2 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar
    To find out how many teaspoons of sugar are in your beverage, divide total
    grams of sugar by 4.2.

See List of Sugar in Drinks (soft drinks and energy drinks).

Your Planet

  • Each year about 50 billion plastic bottles of drinking water are purchased in the United States, requiring the energy equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil - enough to fuel more than one million vehicles for a year and produce more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
  • In 2007, 3 out of 4 plastic bottles in the U.S. ended up in landfills or were incinerated.
  • Campus Recycling estimates less than half of the plastic bottles purchased on campus are recycled.
  • For each gallon of water bottled in a PET container, two gallons are wasted in the making of the plastic bottle and the bottling process.
  • Transporting bottled water across hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles spews carbon dioxide into the air and contributes to climate change.

Your Money

  • In 2006, Americans consumed 8.3 billion gallons of bottled water- that's 26 gallons per person! And, the cost of all this bottled water is high-- economically and environmentally. Americans spend $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon on bottled water, while tap water costs an average of $0.02 per gallon.
  • Here's another way to put it -- bottled water, which can cost as much per gallon as gasoline, can be a thousand times more expensive than tap water.
  • According to the Environmental Working Group of the FDA, 44% of bottled water is just tap water, so you might not even be getting what you paid for.

Source: Pacific Institute's Fact Sheet [PDF]

Your Action

  • TAKE THE PLEDGE! be a part of the vision.
  • If you have a favorite campus refill locations, please share it on the pledge page.
  • If you need to purchase bottled water, please be sure to recycle the bottle.
  • Volunteer for tap-water promotion events.