City Pulse

By Ashley Goldsmith

You sit down to dinner at your favorite restaurant and the first thing your asked to order is water, bottled or tap, your tablemates and you discuss briefly and decide that tap is fine as you intend to consume much more wine throughout the evening, so why pay for a bottle. Without thought, you drink plenty of water, which is constantly refilled throughout the evening by your server. At not one point in the evening does it faze anyone that they’re lucky to have this clean drinking water that they can drink endlessly for the rest of their lives.

Enter World Water Week’s Tap Project, a simple, tangible and easy-to-implement concept: restaurants ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised will support UNICEF’s efforts to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world. In the past two years participating restaurants have grown from 300 to 2,500. UNICEF works in more than 90 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. Over the past 15 years, more than one billion people gained access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities. UNICEF’s goal is to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.

From now until March 28th, New York favorites like The Spotted Pig, Mesa Grill and Spice Market will be part of the weeklong event. So the next time you’re dining out and said question comes up, opt for the tap water again but do so knowing that for every dollar raised, a child will have clean drinking water for 40 days.

For a full list of participating restaurants or to learn more about the clean water initiative, log onto http://www.tapproject.org.

Originally published March 2009
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