H2-WHOA! Australian town votes to ban sales of bottled water

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A rural Australian town hoping to protect the earth and residents' wallets has voted to ban the sale of bottled water, the first community in the country – and possibly the world – to take such a drastic step in the growing backlash against the industry.

Residents of Bundanoon, a town of 2,000 people about 100 miles south of Sydney, cheered after near-unanimous approval of the measure at a town meeting this week. "It's time for people to realize they're being conned by the bottled water industry," said Jon Dee, who spearheaded the "Bundy on Tap" campaign.

First popularized in the 1980s as a convenient, healthy alternative to sugary drinks , bottled water today is often criticized as an environmental menace, with bottles cluttering landfills and requiring large amounts of energy to produce and transport.

The town's battle against the bottle has been brewing for years, ever since a Sydney-based beverage company announced plans to build a water extraction plant in Bundanoon. Residents were furious over the prospect of an outsider taking their water, trucking it up to Sydney for processing and then selling it back to them.

The measure will not impose penalties on those who don't comply when it goes into effect in September. Still, all business owners voluntarily agreed to follow it, recognising the financial and environmental drawbacks of bottled water. Tap water is just as good as the stuff you find encased in plastic, said Mr Dee. "What is Evian spelled backwards? Naive."