A remote town in south-eastern Australia has become the first place in the world to ban bottled water. Bundanoon, located in the picturesque Southern Highlands of New South Wales and boasts a population of just 2,000, voted by a huge majority in favour of the move with a show of hands at a public meeting.
Huw Kingston, a local businessman and organiser, said almost 400 people turned up to the Bundanoon Memorial Hall, with only two casting dissenting votes. "It was the biggest ever turnout in the community here at Bundanoon – it's overwhelming support,'' he said. "We can now continue with our route of making Bundanoon Australia's first bottled water-free town. We can go forward with the strength of the community and the businesses right behind us.''
Shops in the town will now be banned from stocking and selling bottled water and filtered water fountains will be placed on Bundanoon's main street so people can fill their bottles for free. Visitors to the town will also be discouraged, but not banned, from drinking bottled water.
Locals decided to act when drinks company Norlex Holdings announced plans to tap an underground reservoir in the town, truck the water up to Sydney and then send it back in bottles. Retailers in Bundanoon have already agreed to stop stocking bottled water, despite the fall in profits that accompanies the move.