Local water good enough to bottle? | AspenTimes.com

Local water good enough to bottle?

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Cary Jobe photo.Various label designs are under consideration for a proposed venture to bottle Aspen water. The leading contender is in front.

Move over, Evian. Aspen and a private entrepreneur may soon be bottling city water and tapping into the growing consumer thirst for brand-name H2O.

The City Council will have a chance to mull over several label designs for bottled Aspen water when it meets in a work session today.

“We’ve got some of the best water in the world,” said City Attorney John Worcester. “Instead of people buying water from France or whatever, they could buy our water.”

City staffers will ask for the council’s input on potential labels and seek council direction to enter into a contract with Paul Chichester, who would actually bottle and market the water, according to Worcester.

Under the terms of a proposed three-year contract, the city would sell water to Chichester for two-tenths of a cent per gallon. He would truck it to a bottling plant in Las Vegas and see to its distribution.

Eight percent of the gross sales would go to the city, which would them allocate for the support of nonprofit organizations, according to Worcester.

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“It’s kind of an experiment to see if it would work,” he said.

There was an attempt to bottle and sell Aspen water about 20 years ago, Worcester said, though he doesn’t know what became of that venture.

“We’ve been discussing the potential for city bottled water for the past five or six years,” he said. “We’re finally ready to ask the council about it.”

The city’s municipal water supply comes from both wells and surface sources, like Maroon Creek. It would sell well water, which would be further refined to remove any impurities.

Worcester, long a fan of Aspen’s water, lauded the city’s decision several years ago to quit buying bottled water for its water coolers at City Hall. The city decided it could save money and quench thirsts by simply hooking the coolers up to the city’s satisfying tap water.

Pure water, notes Worcester, has no taste. It’s just “cool and refreshing,” he said.

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