Restaurants, schools tap into local water supplies

You’ve heard of eating locally, but the latest fad may be drinking locally. Some restaurants and schools are starting to serve filtered tap water instead of bottled water, citing the eco-impacts of packaging and shipping a product that’s already available right thar in the kitchen. But it seems that pushing pints of Perrier is such a moneymaker that only some restaurants, mostly snooty ones, can afford to quit; cutting-edgers include Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and Mario Batali’s Del Posto in New York. “Serving tap water is a great idea that we’d all love to be able to do, but it’s not going to happen all at once,” says one Manhattan restaurateur. Rockin’ lunch lady Ann Cooper led Berkeley’s schools to make the switch, and experts say it just makes sense. “The rationale for buying bottled water is a fantasy that has a destructive downside,” says Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “These companies are marketing an illusion of environmental purity.”