The ban will cover both small bottles and those used by water coolers.

State agencies will be expected to phase out their consumption of bottled water over the next six months.

Governor David A Paterson said the move would save the state money as well as having obvious environmental benefits.

The move will make New York the second state, after Illinois, to scrap the use of bottled water.

Similar initiatives have already taken place north of the border in Canada.

Bottled water will be replaced by tap water.

“Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to ensure that we have clean drinking water supplies,” said Governor Paterson.

“If we are going to make such significant investments, we should reap the benefits and use that water. Our efforts will serve as an example for local governments, businesses and residents to follow.”

The Governor’s Executive Order requires each agency to lay out the specific actions and policies that will be undertaken to achieve compliance with the ban, assess the capability of existing facilities to provide tap water for consumption in place of bottled water and identify reasonable improvements that can be made to ensure reasonable access to tap water for consumption.

It has been backed by New York Senator Antoine Thompson and Congressman Bob Sweeney.

Environmental NGOs have also welcomed the move.

Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “A decade ago, NRDC released a comprehensive study revealing bottled water is no safer or more pure than municipal drinking water.

“In fact, New York State is home to some of the highest quality drinking water supplies in the nation.

“Governor Paterson’s announcement not only makes sense when it comes to public health – it will save taxpayers money and cut global warming emissions from the manufacture and transport of bottled water.”

Sam Bond

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