Venice turns on the taps

In one of Italy's most famous cities discarded water bottles float by gondolas on the edges of the canals and spill out of trash cans on the majestic Piazza San Marco.  Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world, drinking more than 40 gallons per person annually.  But officials in Venice are changing people's ways with an advertising campaign for tap water.  They invented a brand name for Venice’s tap water — Acqua Veritas — created a sleek logo and emblazoned it on stylish carafes that were distributed free to households.

Because tap water is often jokingly called “the mayor’s water” in Italy, they even enlisted regional politicians to star in tongue-in-cheek billboards. “I, too, drink the mayor’s water,” proclaims Venice's mayor as he pours a glass.  They have also made sure everyone knows that Venice's tap water is sourced from deep underground in the same region as on of Italy's most popular brands of bottled water, San Benedetto.

In terms of trash reduction, the Acqua Veritas campaign has already been a success, Venetian officials calculate, reducing the amount of plastic trash over all to 261 tons a month now from 288 tons a year ago.