SALT LAKE CITY — About 40 Salt Lake City restaurants and cafes have committed to join the TapIt water bottle refilling network, offering free tap water to those who carry a reusable bottle.

The nationwide campaign was started in New York in 2008 as a way to provide the public with free, on-the-go access to water. Food service providers sign up as partners, agreeing to supply tap water at no cost or obligation to dine to those who carry a reusable bottle.

TapIt partners in Salt Lake and other cities around the nation are listed online at or via the TapIt's iPhone app. Participating restaurants also will feature a TapIt sticker on their windows.

"Bulk water extraction and bottling can negatively affect our communities," Mayor Ralph Becker said. "Overflowing landfills and looming water shortages are just some of the hidden costs of bottled water. The TapIt program offers Salt Lake City's clean drinking water to residents and visitors without the impact of bulk water extraction and disposable plastic bottles."

The majority of Salt Lake City's tap water comes from mountain streams and is fully treated before it goes into pipes to users, complying or exceeding all EPA requirements. It consistently ranks as one of the nation's best-tasting tap water, city officials said.