A corporate watchdog group is challenging the Maryland state government to cut spending on bottled water.
Activists with Corporate Accountability International say Maryland spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on bottled water, even as the state's public water system faces a $23 billion annual investment shortfall.
That's why they're calling on O'Malley to follow through in making state government more environmentally sustainable by kicking bottled water completely. O'Malley has already vowed to fund Maryland's public tap water system and has made clean water infrastructure funding a top priority.
In 2009, Maryland spent $200,000 on bottled water. Problem is, recent figures reveal nearly 44 percent of all bottled water in the United States is tap water.
Emma Devries is part of the "Vote the Tap, Buck the Bottle" campaign. It's a group of advocates who believe the bottled-water industry is taking us all for a ride, encouraging us to pay for something we already have on tap.
The group has convinced 17 businesses in Annapolis to serve tap water instead of bottled, and will ask O'Malley to cut spending on bottled water and invest more in the public water system.
"The important thing is that we create the political will, and that that political will isn't eroded by bottled-water companies' misconceptions about public water," says Nellie Baldwin, a field organizer for the campaign. "Actually we have great water, and we want to make sure it stays that way."
Last year, Maryland was ranked first out of 50 states and the District for implementing clean water infrastructure funding.