Take it From the TAP! began as an internal employee outreach in 2008 at the City of Santa Rosa. The goal in the beginning was simple – to reduce employee purchases of one‐time use plastic water bottles and bottled water dispensers by promoting safe, fresh, high-quality, and local Santa Rosa tap water. To help encourage the employees to switch from disposable bottled water to reusable bottles with tap water, approximately 1,400 employees were given stainless steel reusable water bottles. The City also began communicating the benefits of switching to tap water – save money, reduce waste, and help protect our valuable resources.
As the Take it From the TAP! message spread, the Santa Rosa City Council decided to use pitchers and glasses of fresh local tap water during meetings instead of purchasing bottled water. In 2009, the program was expanded to the public through information and outreach at local events.
On April 17, 2010, at the City’s Earth Day Fair, members of the public were surveyed about their tap water habits. The survey was designed to learn more about the public’s use of disposable and reusable water bottles, to better understand consumption of bottled and tap water, and to encourage participants to switch to (or continue using) reusable bottles. In addition, a blind taste test of Santa Rosa’s tap water, brand name bottled water, and store brand bottled water was held. Santa Rosa tap water won as the favorite choice!
Two hundred and five people completed the survey. For their participation they received a 25‐ounce Take it From the TAP! stainless steel water bottle to support their commitment to go bottled water free. The survey results indicated that over eighty percent of the respondents utilized a reusable water bottle at least a few times a week, the hardest part about using a reusable water bottle is remembering it, and over sixty percent of respondents were willing to give up bottled water for a year.
Encouraged by the data, Take it From the TAP! continued to expand their program by promoting at local events and through the development of school curriculum. With community members continuing to change their behavior, Take if From the TAP! recognized an opportunity to bring their message and tools to a broader audience by sharing their program with the partners of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership.
In 2014 the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, which represents 11 water utilities in Sonoma and Marin counties, voted to allocate funds to further expand the reach of Take it From the TAP! to their own communities.
In 2016 the Cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati; North Marin, Valley of the Moon and Marin Municipal Water Districts, Town of Windsor, California American Water (Larkfield), and Sonoma County Water Agency all participated in the launch of the broadened Take it From the TAP! campaign – seeking to encourage their community members to choose local tap water as their first drink of choice.