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National Restaurant Association - Drink up: Water filtration system funds clean water projects

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Drink up: Water filtration system funds clean water projects

A conservation group is offering restaurateurs access to a water purification-and-bottling system aimed at reducing waste and supporting clean-drinking-water programs for third-world countries.

Whole World Water, a nonprofit founded in 2013 by documentary filmmaker Karena Albers and Soneva Resorts chairman and CEO Sonu Shivdasani, offers a system that lets restaurants filter their water in-house and sell it in personalized, reusable glass bottles. Participating restaurateurs donate 10 percent of their water sales to Whole World Water’s clean-water projects.

“This campaign is a win on a number of levels,” she said, including reducing the number of food miles traveled transporting water and the amount of plastic packaging that can end up in the landfill.

The system dispenses chilled sparkling and still water and costs between $250 and $300 a month to lease. Bottles are an additional $7.50. Currently, 125 members are enrolled in the program, including Tao restaurants, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Auberge du Soleil spas and resorts, YOO Hotels & Resorts, and Bodega Negra restaurants.

The biggest challenge to date, Albers said, has been educating the public about the world’s water crisis. But getting servers and other hospitality industry employees to explain the issue is helping.

“By bringing a bottle of Whole World Water to the table and telling guests about it,” restaurants can help get the word out, she said.

Alber said the campaign’s goal is to raise $1 billion annually to fund clean water projects.

Visit Whole World Water for more information about the campaign and how to become a member.

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