While some of us rely on water from the tap for our hydration needs, the rest are paying for it at the cost of about $100 billion a year. That’s quite a high number, right? This must mean that the water is worth it, right? Wrong! In most cases, the bought water is not worth the cost.
For the larger part of the Americans, a glass of water from the tap and a glass from the bottle are almost identical as far as their nutritional quality and health are concerned. You will be surprised to know that in some cases, it is actually a safer bet to drink water from the tap rather than the bottle. That is because the tap water is tested on a regular basis. There are exceptions though. For instance, folks living closer to the private wells do not get the same amount of testing as the ones who procure the water from public sources, and some public sources of water are not screened well enough such as the case in Flint, Michigan.
In case you are not getting your water from a private well, there are a plethora of reasons to stop spending money on purchasing bottled water. The very first documented case of water being bottled and sold was back in the 1760s in Boston. A company by the name of Jackson’s Spa bottled and sold mineral water for ‘therapeutic’ purposes. Different companies in Saratoga Springs and Albany have also packaged and sold water.
Let’s look at various reasons that will help you realize that bottled water is nothing more than a scam. All over the world, people are drinking 10% more bottled water per year. However, Americans are consuming bottled water at a much higher rate. On the per capita basis, the US ranks sixth. Currently, the US stands at 12.8 billion gallons or 39 galls per person. As of now, Americans are drinking more bottled water as opposed to milk or beer. In fact, last year, the citizens of the US drank more bottled water than soda. Michael C. Bellas, Beverage Marketing’s chairman, and CEO said, ‘Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace.’
It is by no means cheap. The average cost of a gallon comes out to be $1.22. To put that into perspective, we are paying about 300 times more to purchase bottled water than what we would have to pay for an equivalent amount of water from tap. Soda companies have realized how lucrative the bottled water business is and are trying to capitalize on the opportunity. Corporations ranging from Pepsi to Coca-Cola have begun investing in bottled water.
A recent report actually revealed that about 50% of the bottled water is simply water obtained from the tap and processed or tested for safety purposes. Back in 2007, Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestle (Pure Life) were required to alter their labels to represent this more accurately.
The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for conducting tests for the quality and contamination of the tap water. However, depending upon where you live; the quality of the water varies greatly. As per EPA law, you should be receiving an annual drinking water quality report also known as Consumer Confidence Report by 1st July. This report details the source of your water supply and also tells you what is in it.
If you are living, however, among the 15 million US households that procure their drinking water from a private well, the EPA is not monitoring the water quality of the water you are drinking. The agency says on its website, ‘It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the safety of their water.’
A report that was published in 2011 stated that 13% of the private wells that were tested by a team of geologists had at least one element such as uranium or arsenic present in a concentration that exceeded the national guidelines. The hype that bottled water is enjoying comes from the rising concerns of the citizens regarding tap water. A Gallup poll ascertained that 63% of the Americans are worried a ‘great deal’ about polluted drinking water. This percentage is the highest since 2001.
Surprisingly, many of us can’t even tell the taste apart of bottled water and tap water. A blind taste test carried out by students at Boston University revealed that only one-third of the taste-testers were able to identify the tap water sample.
The process of making bottled water is also a resource-consuming process. According to a study in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the plastic used for the manufacturing of bottled water in 2007 was obtained from the byproducts of approximately 32-54 million barrels of oil. You’d also be surprised to know that it takes about 1.39 liter of water to make 1 liter of the bottled water. This stat comes from a study that was carried out by the International Bottled Water Association. For every six water bottles that are used by the Americans, only one finds its way to the recycling plant.
Keeping all of the above in mind, we strongly suggest that you think twice before buying bottled water!