Tap Water is Safe Clean and Green

Is the sale of bottled water one of the great triumphs of marketing? When it turns out that Aquafina sells filtered tap water, what is the value of buying bottled water, as opposed to tap water, or filtering your own water?
Buying many high end bottled water brands appeals to snob value – the idea that we should pamper ourselves and that our tastes are more refined than mass tastes. To some extent, that applies to any bottled water. Modern marketing has a way of making everyone feel they are the best sheep in the flock.
“Kick the Bottled Water Habit” is an extract from Tom Standage’s new book, A History of the World in Seven Glasses.
Standage is a little too kind to public water supply. It isn’t always safe, and it often has a smell or taste, associated with the source, or with the level of chlorination, or with sitting in old cast iron and lead pipes before it reaches the tap. Seattle has good water. Winnipeg used to have good water, drawn from the bottom of a Canadian Shield lake, but algae growth in the reservoirs, aging aqueduct and water main infrastructure and chlorination means that in July, August and September, tap water smells like the contents of a leaf filled swimming pool. But you can get rid of that by running it, letting it stand and pouring it into a container for drinking water, or by filtering it. So go figure what the convenience of buying bottled water is worth.
That’s a nice thing to be worried about in the first world. What about the third world? Leaving aside the anti-corporate rhetoric, clean safe water is huge issue. I want to see that movie Thirst some time.






One response to “Tap Water is Safe Clean and Green”

  1. Garth Danielson Avatar
    Garth Danielson

    Locally, Mpls has pretty good water, St Paul is good part of the year and skunky during the summer. Most of SP’s water comes from the Mississippi river. First it passes through some small lakes and then through a filtration plant. 46,000,000 gallons a day. When the water is bad, people often get water from a brewery, which gets it’s water from a deep well. Richfield has great water, best in the area and othere areas i don’t know about. Mom still lives in Winnipeg and last time we were there in april the water was still not so great in her building. She buys bottled water.
    I don’t use bottled water unless it’s free. I’d buy a diet coke first. Usually I buy cans of diet coke when they are on sale. I make my tea right out of the tap. Boiling it kills any germs but there aren’t any to begin with.
    I hear some rumblings lately as the anti-bottled water movement makes more noise. I wonder how long that will last. I’m looking forward to the water wars, hope i live that long. H2O = BOOM!
    Maybe we should stock up on bottled water. I wonder how long it would last, sitting in a basement.
    It would be more economically sound to drink tap water in a reuseable bottle. Lots of people do, but like you say, it’s not always the best water and it’s an extra chore if you have to filter it.
    One guy at a resort is going to ban people bringing bottled water because of the high cost of getting rid of 20,000 bottles a year. Some places like San Francisco have banned city employees from buying bottle water for city events.
    We use a lot of it were i work. They were just unloading a huge pile of water and pop from one of the company vans when I was going home. The company had sent a few dozen people to act as victims for a disaster prepardness thing that the national guard was doing. They took lots of cold pop and water. It was 65F and rainy. I think that’s why there was so much left. There was a lot of rice crispy treat left over also. I had one before I left. they were good, and free.