Article 12.6 of the FIDE Laws of Chess state "It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever." However what constitutes a distraction isn't stated in the rules, so this is why we have arbiters.
My first thought (more as an organiser than an arbiter) is the need to balance the needs of the many with the needs of a few. If no one minds not using water bottles at the board, then I guess there is no real problem with the rule. If however it ends up that you lose 3 or 4 players from the club/tournament just to keep one player there, then I think it is a net loss for the club and the rule should be dropped. If I was looking for middle ground I would simply allow water bottles etc at the table, but players could only use them during their move, so as not to disturb their opponent on their opponents thinking time.
Geurt Gijssen also discusses distracting an opponent it in his latest Chess Cafe column, although the example given is much more clearcut (as it involves the use of profanity).