TAHOE CITY, Calf. (Nov. 21, 2023) – In preparation for the single-use plastic bottle ban South Lake Tahoe will implement in 2024, Take Care Tahoe has released a new Drink Tahoe Tap Map that lists locations where people can freely fill up their reusable water bottles. Local businesses and recreation areas that have joined the initiative are helping with the transition away from plastic bottles by making their refill stations available to the public.

Drink Tahoe Tap

The new ban in South Lake Tahoe aims to curb the use of single-use plastic water bottles and promote the consumption of high-quality tap water. Single-use plastic bottles are one of Tahoe’s most common types of litter, as evidenced by a decade’s worth of cleanup data gathered by the League to Save Lake Tahoe. In response, city leaders enacted an ordinance that prohibits the retail sale or distribution of any single-use plastic bottled water under one gallon. The City of South Lake Tahoe’s plastic water bottle ordinance went into effect for city-run and permitted events in April 2023. The plastic water bottle ban expands to all businesses in the city on April 22, 2024. While non-plastic alternatives do not violate the ordinance, officials encourage refilling with Tahoe Tap instead of promoting single-use alternatives.

By reducing the use of these plastics, the community can directly contribute to improving the clarity of Lake Tahoe. When single-use plastics are disposed of, they are often larger pieces of plastic waste, known as macroplastics, which require community efforts to manage. Over time, these macroplastics can break down into tiny, harmful particles called microplastics that can end up in the lake and have adverse effects on the environment.

“Plastics have been found everywhere in our environment, including Lake Tahoe,” said Marilee Movius, Senior Community Engagement Manager, League to Save Lake Tahoe. “By encouraging the use of tap water, South Lake Tahoe is taking a proactive stance toward reducing the potential impact of microplastics on the local ecosystem.”

Drink Tahoe Tap bottle at Castle Rock

Sourced from rain and snowmelt at the top of the watershed, “Tahoe Tap” offers water of exceptional purity and taste. In fact, it boasts an impressive 99.5% purity, similar to distilled water. Local water utilities draw “Tahoe Tap” from wells and lake sources, and it is strictly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to ensure it meets purity standards.

“A significant portion of bottled water is essentially tap water drawn from large city sources,” said Madonna Dunbar, Executive Director of the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association. “This water is then brought up to Tahoe in trucks, resulting in significant expenses and negative environmental impacts. ‘Drink Tahoe Tap’ encourages residents and visitors to opt for local, high-quality tap water, saving money and minimizing their environmental footprint.”

The plastic water bottle ban, combined with joining the “Drink Tahoe Tap” initiative, signifies South Lake Tahoe’s commitment to sustainability, reduced waste, and environmental stewardship. These measures will not only benefit the community but also contribute to the preservation of the pristine beauty of Lake Tahoe.

Businesses interested in becoming an official refill station should fill out the form at this link: Refill Station Form

For more information and partnership inquiries, please contact info@takecaretahoe.org or visit our website at https://takecaretahoe.org/.