A-10207, JULY 24, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 53

A-10207: Jul 24, 1925

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- DRINKING WATER AS THERE IS NO DUTY OR OBLIGATION UPON THE UNITED STATES TO FURNISH DRINKING WATER TO EMPLOYEES NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A SUITABLE SUPPLY IS OR IS NOT AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE. IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED PROVIDING FOR SUCH PURCHASE. WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR CERTAIN ITEMS COVERING SPRING WATER PURCHASED FOR USE IN THE OFFICE OF THE HELENA FIELD DIVISION. IT IS URGED THAT THE CITY WATER WAS IMPURE. IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER. THAT AS THE WATER WAS PURCHASED IN GOOD FAITH. NOR IS IT IN SUCH TERMS THAT AN AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL ON THE PART OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE COULD OPERATE TO MAKE IT AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

A-10207, JULY 24, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 53

PURCHASES--- DRINKING WATER AS THERE IS NO DUTY OR OBLIGATION UPON THE UNITED STATES TO FURNISH DRINKING WATER TO EMPLOYEES NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A SUITABLE SUPPLY IS OR IS NOT AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE, THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR USE IN OFFICES, WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AS TO THE NECESSITY THEREFOR FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE NEEDS OR PREFERENCES OF THE EMPLOYEES, IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED PROVIDING FOR SUCH PURCHASE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JULY 24, 1925:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED BY E. D. M. FOWLE, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, GENERAL LAND OFFICE, OF SETTLEMENT C-26155-I, DATED MAY 19, 1925, WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR CERTAIN ITEMS COVERING SPRING WATER PURCHASED FOR USE IN THE OFFICE OF THE HELENA FIELD DIVISION, HELENA, MONT., FOR THE PERIOD FROM JANUARY 1 TO NOVEMBER 30, 1923.

IT IS URGED THAT THE CITY WATER WAS IMPURE; THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR PROTECTING PUBLIC LANDS, TIMBER, ETC., IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER; THAT THE GOVERNMENT OWES A DUTY TO ITS EMPLOYEES TO FURNISH THEM DRINKING WATER AS AN OFFICE SUPPLY; AND THAT AS THE WATER WAS PURCHASED IN GOOD FAITH, PURSUANT TO AUTHORIZATION BY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE, CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED FOR THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION.

THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER, NOR IS IT IN SUCH TERMS THAT AN AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL ON THE PART OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE COULD OPERATE TO MAKE IT AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

THERE IS NO DUTY OR OBLIGATION UPON THE UNITED STATES TO FURNISH DRINKING WATER TO EMPLOYEES NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A SUITABLE SUPPLY IS OR IS NOT AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE; AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR SHOWING AS TO THE NECESSITY THEREFOR FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE NEEDS OR PREFERENCES OF THE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES, THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR USE IN OFFICES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

EVEN IF IT COULD BE ESTABLISHED THAT THERE WAS IN THIS CASE A NECESSITY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT OF SUPPLYING DRINKING WATER IN THIS OFFICE, SUFFICIENT FACTS HAVE NOT BEEN PRESENTED TO ESTABLISH THE NECESSITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF SPRING WATER. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION 21 COMP. DEC. 319; ID. 739; 22 ID. 31; 23 ID. 581; 2 COMP. GEN. 750; ID. 776; 3 ID. 661; ID. 828.