Water water everywhere

The Home Secretary braved the mean streets of Islington the other week, well Upper Street at least, with a mere half dozen police in attendance.

She was here to launch the latest strategy on alcohol abuse. Today the BMA is suggesting a crackdown on cheap alcohol pricing. If the Government’s serious about tackling the booze culture, they might start with the excessive markup on soft drinks in pubs. Alcohol drinkers drink more, and more quickly; soft drinks quench your thirst. So even without tax, venues charge much more for lemonade than they do for lager. It might be less newsworthy than attacking teenagers, again. But it could make a real difference.

Asking for tap water may become the right-on choice after this week’s debates on bottled water. Islington Council recently announced an end to bottled water for meetings. In my firm’s office, the water cooler has quietly vanished. It is absurd to buy water because of its image of natural purity, while discarded plastic bottles litter the world’s coasts. How ironic that we fund charities to provide tap water around the world and then disdain it ourselves. £72 to Oxfam will buy safe tap water for 100 people; £72 at Claridges gets you 1.5 litres of the fanciest bottled water. Now that is a mark-up.

Perhaps we’ve had mains water for so long we take it for granted. London’s Victorian pipes under Islington were so old they were held together with pegs. Before Thames Water replaced all the pipes, Islington’s water mains burst on what seemed like a weekly basis. I remember the scenes when one estate was cut off; Thames provided a stopcock – at the bottom of the hill. Cue Jack and Jill scenes as people struggled back up with their water. After some angry phone calls we got bottled water delivered to the flats; but nothing beats having the taps back on.


1 Comment »

  1. […] 16 October, 2008 at 10:18 am · Filed under Campaigns, Consumer, Going green, Neighbourhood ·Tagged restaurants, Water I’ve blogged before about our strange attitude to water. […]

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