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March 19: Happy Bottled Water Free Day!

Today communities across the country are celebrating Bottled Water Free Day. It’s a day to call for the protection of the human right to water by standing in support of public water and against the privatization of water.

The Ottawa Water Study Action Group (OWSAG) delivered a letter to Ottawa city council today, which was signed by 15 community organizations and urged councillors to ban bottled water in municipal facilities. OWSAG and other partners set up an information table and displayed a sculpture made from single-use plastic bottles. Caitlin Armstrong from Open Table provided people in city hall with information on the myths of bottled water and why we need to back the tap. Open Table, Polaris Institute and other organizations are asking people in Ottawa to sign this petition urging Ottawa city council to ban the bottle. 

Even students at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia are celebrating Bottled Water Free Day by handing out free water bottles and water fountain maps, offering tap vs. bottled water tastings, and recruiting people to sign the bottled water free pledge.

There are approximately 90 municipalities, 11 school boards and 26 campuses have gone bottled water free. There are now 15 Blue Communities across Canada which have passed resolutions banning bottled water at municipal facilities and at municipal events, recognizing the human right to water and saying ‘no’ to the privatization of their water services.

With Bottled Water Free Day today and World Water Day on Saturday, there are dozens of events  being organized to highlight the importance of water protection. Many of the events focus on the negative impacts of bottled water and water privatization including Bottled Life screenings organized by Council of Canadians chapters in Prince Albert on Friday, in Brockville on Saturday and in Yellowknife on Monday. The University of Alberta Council of Canadians chapter has water events happening all week!

The Bottled Water Free Coalition, which includes the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Sierra Youth Coalition, the Council of Canadians, the Polaris Institute and Development and Peace, hope this awareness on water is carried out throughout the year. To learn more about Bottled Water Free Day and how you can take action today and through the year, click here.

Did your campus announce it was going bottled water free? If so, the Bottled Water Free Coalition is conducting a follow-up survey on campus bottled water phase-out announcements. Fill out the survey here before April 7, 2014.