The University of California Is Very Thirsty

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The UC system is, as virtually everyone knows by now, totally cash strapped. The system has to raise tuition and enroll more out-of-state students to keep operating. In other ways, however, the university system apparently keeps spending lavishly. According to an article by Scott James in the New York Times:

Even though money is tight, the university has spent about $2 million in recent years on brand name, commercially produced and delivered bottled water to campuses in San Francisco and Berkeley. With both cities boasting some of the nation’s highest-quality drinking water, critics see bottled water as a questionable expense….

Both campuses apparently have long-term contracts with Arrowhead, a branch of Nestl&eacute, one of the largest food and drink companies in the world.

The total UC budget is, admittedly, in excess of $20 billion; that $2 million (less than $400,000 a year for both campuses) is very, very small. The expense just seems wasteful, however. Why drink transported bottled water when clean water comes right out of the tap? In addition, the Nestl&eacute company is apparently responsible for minor environmental disputes across the country.

In this time of what California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” the UC Board of Regents approved $3.1 million in bonuses for UC hospital executives and 320 million for renovations on Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium.[Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer