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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 07/15/2010

Virginia state workers: Bottled up no more

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Hydration is a need that's carefully noted in state and federal budgets.

We learned that this week when Gov. Bob McDonnell reversed a ban instituted by former Gov. Tim Kaine. Virginia state agencies are once again allowed to purchase individual-size bottled waters -- not just five-gallon water coolers.

Even with Kaine's ban in place, the state spent thousands each year to keep it offices stocked with the watering holes symbolic of pre-Internet days when employees gathered around the cooler to chat, gossip and generally bond.

Virginia's spending on bottled water totaled at least $158,000 in FY 2009, and another $126,000 last year, reports The Post's Anita Kumar.

Of course, Virginia's in good company. Bottled water will pop out at you if you ever spend time perusing congressional office spending reports. It appeared so consistently on the logs that I started to wonder whether legislative aids relieve their frustration at constantly stalled bills by running marathons up and down the halls.

I found that every Virginia congressman spent at least several hundred dollars on bottled water during the third quarter last year. Rep. Randy Forbes spent $626.63, while Rep. Jim Moran spent $524.93 -- which accounted for 10 percent of his spending on supplies.

Too much spending on stuff that's way cheaper coming out of the faucet? That's up for debate.

On the other hand, I hear water coolers are a standard institution in the white-collar world. My new office has one. But other than that, I wouldn’t really know since I’ve only worked at a bankrupt newspaper where our Christmas parties amounted to potluck lunches and we were lucky if the vending machine was stocked.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | July 15, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, economy, public health  
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