Million Dollar Bottled Water

Flickr/ <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/542497582/">Muffet</a> (Creative Commons)

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The University of California has increased tuition by 37 percent and laid off 2,000 staff and faculty to cover a $637 million budgetary shortfall, but somehow it still managed to find $2 million for brand name bottled water at its campuses in San Francisco and Berkeley. And to make matters worse,     these two Bay Area cities boast some of the nation’s best tap water!

According to its own estimates, UC-San Francisco has paid Arrowhead $250,000 to $320,000 a year since 2004 for water delivered in three-to-five gallon jugs that it dispensed in rented coolers. And officials from UC-Berkeley told the New York Times that it has paid $522,215 since 2004.

You would think they would have learned to ditch bottled water years ago when the city of San Francisco banned it in government offices. That decision came after a 2006 San Francisco Chronicle investigation which revealed that the city spent $500,000 a year on its bottled water service. To read more about the dark side of the bottled water industry, check out Anna Lenzer’s expose on Fiji water.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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