Just like that, obscure local regulation regarding tap water, restaurants and New York City has evaporated. 

As the New York Times reports, until this month, restaurants were actually only supposed to serve customers tap water if they asked for it :

Yet Subdivision (a) of Section 20-08 of Chapter 20 of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York Governing and Restricting the Use and Supply of Water unequivocally prohibits serving water in a restaurant unless a patron requests it.

Plenty of restaurant owners—hell, most people—had no idea that this regulation was even in place. According to the Times, the Department of Environmental Protection says it dates back to at least 1991, back when the city was staring at a drought emergency. It's hardly been enforced; in fact, 14 warnings were issued during another drought emergency that happened in 2002, but there's no record of summons being issued during nonemergencies. 

Only one person that the Times talked to was aware of the rule. Julian Niccolini, an owner of the Four Seasons in Manhattan, said "We always ask." He elaborated: "Otherwise, it’s a waste. We have to pay for the water they use. The less we use, the less we have to pay for. And even though New York City has the best water, bottled water is a selling point, and you can make a decent profit."

Remember to savor every drop of water moving forward.

[via The New York Times]