Navy wants landlords to provide bottled water
NAPLES, Italy — Navy officials will begin renegotiating leases in the coming weeks on nearly 2,000 local homes rented to Americans to require landlords to supply bottled water to tenants.
"[Naval Support Activity] Naples is transitioning from distribution of bottled water to a system in which landlords provide containerized water as a requirement of the lease, and at no additional cost to the tenant," Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe, said in an e-mail response to questions.
The base housing office manages leases for roughly 1,700 properties in the Naples region.
The Navy began distributing free water to off-base residents on Sept. 22 after getting permission to spend roughly $144,000 on bottled water. Traces of bacteria had turned up in tap-water samples, prompting officials to recommend that all personnel who live off base use bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.
The measure was intended to be a short-term plan until officials could find a long-term solution, officials have said.
As of Nov. 13, housing officials started making landlord-supplied water a requirement with any new lease agreement.
The 1,700 leases they are now renegotiating predated the requirement.
Landlords aren’t too pleased with the new requirement, said a local Italian real estate agent and landlord representative.
"They are upset. They think it’s excessive," she said. She asked that her name not be printed for fear of losing U.S. business. "They already have to pay the trash tax, water and sewage, condo fees. The [bottled] water is too much."
So far, she said, landlords aren’t angry enough to pull their homes from the housing office’s database — where the rents they can collect exceed anything they could charge Italian tenants — but landlords are talking of raising rents in order to cover the additional cost of supplying the water, the agent said.
Landlords will be required to select water from a list of three Navy-approved vendors, Snyder wrote.
"The selected vendor will then install a water cooler (or equivalent) in the apartment or house and deliver the necessary quantity of water on a regular basis."
Army veterinarians have approved water from the San Benedetto plant in the Veneto region in northern Italy, according to the Navy’s official health assessment Web site: http://www.nsa.naples.navy.mil/risk/index.cfm.
Also showing up on the Navy’s approved vendor list is Culligan water from the United States, and the Nestle brand Vera, also from the Veneto Region. All three are sold at the U.S. Navy base.
San Benedetto and Nestle Vera water are common and easily found in Italian supermarkets and stores.