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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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