Washington (CNN) – Washington's water authority has some advice for Congressional offices looking for ways to work within the newly passed (and smaller) House budget: tap water.
DC Water General Manager George Hawkins sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday offering to supply members of Congress with reusable water bottles and free water quality testing in all congressional buildings.
As first reported by CNNMoney, the House spent $190,000 on bottled water in the first quarter of 2010, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation. In light of the House's vote on Thursday to cut its operational budget by 5 percent - which means each member's office will receive about $75,000 less than last year - such an expense is an obvious provision to consider chopping.
Read the letter here.
But the D.C. water supply's less than stellar reputation might give some Hill staffers pause to ditch the bottled stuff.
"I would not begrudge them [staffers] bottled water," Bradford Fitch, CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, told CNNMoney. "I wouldn't drink D.C. tap water. That is not a luxury. That is almost a necessity at times."
And that's why Hawkins is offering the testing with the reusable bottles.
He acknowledged that "individuals may have questions about the safety of water in individual buildings," but maintained that DC Water ensures water in D.C. "meets all federal drinking water standards" through daily testing.
Hawkins goes on to point out that the savings are considerable if you're willing to drink from the city's spigot.
"If fiscal responsibility is your aim, I should point out that our water costs about a penny a gallon. Bottle water costs hundreds times more," Hawkins said in the letter.
Boehner's office has acknowledged receiving Hawkin's letter, according to DC Water spokesman Alan Heymann, but has not yet accepted the offer.
CNNMoney.com's Charles Riley contributed to this report