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What does the Bundanoon community

mean by the term “Bottled Water”?

It refers to mass-marketed still water offered for commercial

sale in sealed ‘single-use’ plastic bottles. This type of beverage

has been targeted because it is already efficiently provided

through municipally plumbed drinking water systems -

better known as tap water. In the Bundanoon context “bottled

water” does not refer to ‘sparkling’ water, fruit juices, sports

drinks, etc.

How was the initiative implemented on

the ground?

• Bundanoon retail businesses that previously sold single-use,

bottled still water no longer stock this product in their drinks


• With the assistance of advocacy group Do Something!, the

companies Street Furniture Australia and Culligan Water

kindly sponsored three filtered water ‘bubblers’ or water

stations. Two for the town and another for the town’s primary


• Wingecarribee Council provided appropriate plumbing of

town water to these water stations.

• The filtered water stations are prominently sign-posted, and

also incorporate taps that can be used for refilling bottles.

• Bundanoon retail stores make available for sale affordable,

reusable, refillable water bottles.

• Select Bundanoon retail stores have installed in-store chilled

water filters so customers can access, for nominal cost, cold

water for their reusable, refillable water bottles.

• Signage indicates to retail customers where they can obtain

refillable water bottles and/or chilled and filtered municipal


• Reusable drink bottled were supplied to students of the

Bundanoon Primary so they can make best used of their

filtered water bubbler

These endeavours, realised by 26 September 2009, made

Bundanoon, what we believe is Australia’s first Bottled Water

Free Town.

Community Spirit

The Bundy On Tap working group think the following

sentiment (posted by a reader of ABC News Online) sums up

what is being accomplished via this initiative:

"This is a great story about a community seeing an issue

and coming together to work out a solution that they are

happy with. Getting people to community meetings is not

easy, unless people are passionate or angry. This is a

display of community support for a small action people can

control that is part of a big environmental issue - it's


They have produced a plan to implement a service - free

water refills (what a concept!) that will have environmental

benefits and through the conversation that will result their

[sic] will be community and social capital benefits too.

This isn't the silver bullet to global warming, but it is an

example of community and collective will. I bet this town

doesn't stop here - people talking, collaborating and acting

is a recipe for sustainability - watch this town over the

coming years - there are lessons for us all here."


How did the Bottled Water Free Town idea

come about?

For some years now the Bundanoon community, through the

Don’t Bore Bundanoon committee have been actively opposing

the application by a non-resident business entity, Norlex, to

commercially extract water from a bore within the Bundanoon

town precinct. The environmental, social, heritage and financial

impacts of this proposed development has brought the myriad

issues of bottled water into clearer focus for many townsfolk, not

the least being the removal of water from aquifers for

commercial gain, during one of Australia’s longest droughts.

Local businessman, Huw Kingston arrived at the notion that if

the community were against extraction of water for use in

commercial bottled water, then perhaps it should step up to the

plate, and oppose the end result of such developments — bottled

water itself. (Huw had, 17 years previous, developed a positive

retail program where a national retailer made a donation to

environmental groups when customers declined shopping bags.

Huw also runs an annual mountain bike event from Bundanoon

that is 100% Carbon Neutral, and which helps generate about

$35,000 in fundraising for local schools and organisations).

In an open letter in the community magazine,  Jordan’s Crossing

Gazette, Huw Kingston proposed that the town could consider

becoming Bottled Water Free. (Click here to read the letter.)

Community and media interest was immediate and supportive.

A working group quickly formed to investigate how feasible such

a proposal might be. In throwing around ideas for a name for the

group, the town’s affectionate nickname was invoked, and Bundy

On Tap (BOT) was established.

In its research the BOT Working Group could not find any other

town that had undertaken such an initiative. It did however take

inspiration from the small Tasmanian town of Coles Bay that had

gone Plastic Bag Free in 2003. It was decided to seek advice from

Jon Dee, founder of Planet Ark, who was co-initiator of  Coles Bay

going plastic bag free. Jon Dee, was now heading up the Do

Something organisation, which had as one of its projects, the

Bottled Water Alliance. Jon generously attended a meeting

organised by the BOT working group, and on experiencing the

community spirit for the project offered to assist with business

and media liaison.

The Bundy On Tap working group then set about checking that

business owners were on side. They were, and a community

meeting was subsequently organised for 8 July 2009. Notices of

the meeting were posted in around town and residents were

letterbox dropped with a flyer on the  initiative. A story on the

front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on the morning of the

meeting date generated a frenzy of national and international

media interest.

At the meeting itself Jon Dee presented a video of his 60 minutes

TV program on bottled water. Peter Stewart, owner of the

Bundanoon Newsagency explained that local businesses were

behind the initiative for the great good, even given the potential

loss of sales income. (Peter has estimated his own business

stands to lose $1,600 in sales of bottled still water.) A show of

hands was called to gauge support from the proposal that

Bundanoon become Australia's First Bottled Water Free Town.

The assembled crowd of well over 350 residents voted

wholeheartedly in favour of the concept. (This was the best

attended town meeting in Bundanoon history) There was one

brave dissenting voter. As well as an attempted vote by the

representative of the industry funded Bottled Water Institute,

although this was not counted, as he was not a resident of



Photo Credits (from left to right)

1. Sandra Menteith, Transition Bundanoon

2 & 3. Monique Germon

4. Southern Highlands News


See a detailed Timeline History of how

the Bundy On Tap campaign unfolded.