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Nearest Drinking Fountain? There's An App For That

BERKELEY (KCBS) -- Peter Gleick, an East Bay water expert, wants drinking fountains to make a comeback. He's the president of the non-profit Pacific Institute in Oakland where volunteers are working to map public drinking fountains for an upcoming smart phone application that would make them easier to find.

One of the challenges continues to be the growing popularity of bottled water, but Gleick argued that bottled water isn't as closely regulated as tap water, and that it produces environmental waste, especially when people don't recycle the plastic bottle.

KCBS' Mark Seelig Reports:

"Bottled water costs two to three thousand times more than the high-quality water we get from our taps. The regulations [for bottled water] aren't as adequately enforced. It produces a huge amount of plastic waste," said Gleick.

The smart phone application, which is now in development, has volunteers starting out in Berkeley and will see them expand to other cities later.

Gleick said it used to be that a city was not considered "great" unless it gave residents plenty of access to free public drinking water. It remains to be seen if the app catches on or not. Maybe you'll find yourself thirsty and considering a visit to these relics of the past by way of the tech advances of today.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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