DWP Pays to Drink Sparkletts
Despite spending $1 million in the last two years to assure Los Angeles residents that their tap water is not only safe to drink but also top quality, city officials spent $88,900 in public money during that time on bottled water from private firms.
The Department of Water and Power, which supplies the city’s water and promotes it, spent the most on bottled water, paying $31,160 to Sparkletts.
“I am stunned,” said City Controller Laura Chick, whose office compiled the bills in response to a Public Records Act request from The Times. “This is the same department which spent millions of dollars for public relations promoting themselves and the quality of their drinking water.”[…]
Good, old-fashioned investigative journalism. I love it, particularly the (dare I say it) dry way author Patrick McGreevy dispatches with their excuses:
[Water division COO Jim] McDaniel said he believed some of the bottled water was for remote locations, including the Owens Valley, where DWP employees work without easy access to L.A. tap water. Also, some DWP labs need to buy distilled water for chemical procedures, he said.
Gayle Harris, a DWP spokeswoman, noted that some of the water may have been used for community events or distributed to neighborhoods when water service was interrupted.
The DWP has ordered from Sparkletts even though at any given time it has about 25,000 bottles filled with its own water. It is bottled by the agency for use by its employees in the field and for storage in case of emergencies. Some of the bottled city water is provided to City Council offices for events held in the field on hot days.
Excellent watchdog work by the paper, which I hope will result in savings for the city.
P.S. Don’t even get me started on bottled water. It really is bad to the last drop.