W&L's University Sustainability Committee (USC) has provided all new students — both undergraduate and law — with a stainless-steel water bottle, emblazoned with a "Drink Local Water" logo, as part of the committee's promotion of sustainability on the Washington and Lee campus.
The USC aims to educate not only entering students but also returning students, faculty and staff about the advantages of tap water over bottled. The accompanying materials note the connection between the health of the Maury River and the water that campus community members drink and shower with. Lexington's water comes from the Maury River upstream of Lexington. The Maury Service Authority’s water-treatment plant filters, chlorinates and fluoridates the water and distributes it to Lexington and portions of Rockbridge County. The E.P.A. sets water-quality standards that municipal water systems must meet, and reports on Lexington’s water are public.
According to the USC, the cost of local water in Lexington, including sewer charges, starts at 1 cent per gallon and increases with higher consumption. By comparison, bottled, imported Fiji water costs $7.54 per gallon.
The Drink Local Water program is related to the local-food movement that W&L’s Dining Services has championed and for which it continues to gain statewide recognition. W&L will join the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Food System Council and the Virginia Cooperation Extension as co-hosts of the 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit, to be held in December at U.Va.'s Alumni Hall. More details will be available closer to the event.