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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 19:50 GMT
Parisians tempted with tap water
"Eau de Paris" carafe
The first bottles were handed out on World Water Day
The Paris municipality has started distributing free designer carafes in a bid to convince Parisians that tap water is just as good as mineral water.

Recent polls revealed that 51% of Parisians drink bottled water.

The glass decanters have been created by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and carry the logo of public water company Eau de Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

Half of the capital's water is pumped from the rivers Seine and Marne and purified at three plants.

The remaining 50% comes from artesian wells - which do not require pressure for the water to flow to the surface.

Reducing waste

"People buy bottled water because of the marketing, and we realised that if we were to win them back to the tap we would have to do some marketing of our own," Franck Madureira of Eau de Paris told AFP news agency.

"It's all about giving Paris water an image and explaining why it is good for you."

The 30,000 carafes are designed to fit in the door of a fridge and are meant to be filled with tap water, providing an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bottles.

Eau de Paris, which distributed the carafes in front of the Hotel de Ville on Tuesday to mark World Water Day, claims its mineral and sanitary quality is just as good as that of any bottled water.

"If we can tip the balance and get a majority of the population back drinking the tap variety, we will consider the campaign a success," Mr Madureira said.


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