|WEB UPDATE: Cotati votes to approve tap water initiative
The Cotati City Council at its meeting on Wednesday, July 25, unanimously approved a resolution encouraging citizens to drink more tap water.
The resolution, entitled "Rethink Your Drink and Take it From the Tap," came about as the result of a study by the California Dept. of Health Services finding sugar-sweetened beverages being the largest contributor of "hidden" calories in the United States. The study also found in California, 62 percent of adolescents (ages 12-17) and 41 percent of children between the ages of 2-11 drink at least one soda pop or other sweetened beverage each day.
Sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters and sweetened teas are gaining in popularity while traditional carbonated drinks are losing a bit of their market share. But studies have shown an increase in the prevalence of obesity and related health issues among California adolescents who frequently drink high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages.
In retail packaging, the calories on food products are shown on the nutritional facts label. However, sweetened beverages are often referred to by health professionals as drinks with "hidden" calories, simply because they are high calorie drinks and people often don't realize how many calories these are adding to their daily caloric intake. The result is that people unwittingly consume more calories than they need on a regular basis. Over time, this can and does lead to obesity.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) initiated a national campaign to encourage Americans to drink more low or no-calorie drinks in place of high-calorie, sugary beverages. California Project Lean, a similar campaign launched by the state Dept. of Health Services, has been bolstered by a number of related efforts, including Senate Bill 1413, which required free tap water to be available in school cafeterias.
The Russian River Watershed Association (RRWA) and its member agencies currently are working to encourage more locals to make healthier beverage choices. At its Thursday, July 26 meeting, the RRWA Board of Directors was to discuss and put forward a joint resolution affirming support for Rethink your Drink and Take it from the Tap.
Supporters of the movement point out tap water is not only healthy, tasty and inexpensive but, because it doesn't come in single-use plastic bottles, it is also better for the environment than other drink options.
The resolution voted on by the city council includes language noting how tap water (at less than a penny per gallon) is less expensive than bottled water, which it says on average costs 2,000 times more than tap water.