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Campaigns urging municipalities to choose public water over bottled hype are heating up in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

This month, the Unbottle It! tour brought CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan and Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow to 15 communities across the province.

The tour drew crowds and made headlines at every stop, creating momentum that could lead to a cross-Canada resolution being passed at this summer’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual meeting. The city of London, which has already banned the sale of bottled water in its buildings, decided to take the step after Barlow and Ryan’s visit.

A broad-based coalition campaign that includes CUPE is also up and running in Nova Scotia. Early this year, the coalition chalked up its first win in the municipality of Barrington

Both campaigns are demolishing the bottled water industry’s spin. The industry tries to paint its product as safer, cleaner and environmentally-sound. But that’s far from the real picture. The industry’s PR machine has been in high gear, but it’s difficult to greenwash such an environmentally-unfriendly industry, let alone counter the facts about the more stringent testing and regulations that apply to public tap water.

There’s a growing list of municipalities and school boards taking back their taps and drinking fountains, including Toronto and Waterloo.

Last summer, CUPE was part of a coalition that convinced the city of Saint John’s to stop offering bottled water at municipally-sponsored events.

A similar move is afoot in Metro Vancouver, and the region has mounted a campaign promoting public tap water.

CUPE is also working with its allies to protect and expand access to water in public facilities. In some buildings, drinking fountains haven’t been fixed or maintained – and new buildings are being designed without fountains. The situation is especially dire on campuses, where beverage exclusivity contracts leave corporations with a stranglehold on thirsty students and staff.

Find out more at the campaign sites of the Polaris Institute and the Council of Canadians.