British shoppers' enthusiasm for bottled water is upsetting MPs, who reckon it is both an ecological threat and over-priced.
Conservative and Labour backbenchers voiced concern in the Commons after deputy Tory Party chairman Angela Browning revealed that consumers in the West Country continue to buy bottled water despite huge sums being spent improving water supplies in the region.
"When I go into supermarkets I see people loading bottled water into their trolleys," she said. "For some reason people feel they must buy bottled water, yet regulation upon regulation comes down from on high requiring South West Water to spend more on cleaning up the drinking water mains."
Labour MP Paddy Tipping was alarmed at the resulting mountain of plastic water bottles.
Disposing of them was now "one of the big issues" for recycling he said, adding that government agency Wrap was currently investigating the problem
"The message must be that we should drink from the jug rather than buy the bottle," he said.
Tory MP Dr Bob Spink believed it was "curious, or perhaps even obscene, that people are paying more for a bottle of water at their supermarket than they pay for a bottle of milk".