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California Briefing / Los Angeles

City Hall bottled water bills jump

March 18, 2009|David Zahniser

Three years after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said city departments should not spend taxpayer money on bottled water, several municipal agencies have increased their purchases of it, according to a report released Tuesday.

City Controller Laura Chick found that 13 city departments spent more than $184,000 last year on water sold by such companies as Sparkletts, Danone and Arrowhead. Chick said she was alarmed to see the city's bottled water consumption jump since 2005 -- despite a memo on the topic sent by Villaraigosa to each of his department heads.

Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo called the water use "unacceptable," saying all future bottled water purchases at City Hall will have to be approved by the mayor's office. "We're in a budget crisis and cannot afford to waste even a single dollar," he said.

-- David Zahniser

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