Bottled Water: Why?

Why bottled water? Why do we spend huge amounts of money to purchase water in plastic containers when we have perfectly good water right out of the tap? Have we being “sucked in” that good–that we don’t trust our public water system? I was asked to give money for a water fund for our office, where I volunteer, so that we the staff could have a water cooler plus “pure” water instead of what came from the tap. I said that I would not fund any program that would endanger the environment, and cost more than what would be reasonable: paying for water?

We have all heard the Walkerton Ontario tragedy of E.coli in the water were seven people died in 2005, the poor quality of water on some native reserves across the country, and Vancouver’s poor water quality last winter from having 5 Pine-Apple Express weather systems dump record breaking amounts of rain in the aquifer, and there are many more news stories, and because of this, most of us believe that bottled water is safer? Did you know that most bottled water retailers use the same water source as what comes out of the tap, and because of lax regulations, spring water, purified and pure water could mean almost anything–read their information closely? And that buying bottled water, you are paying up to, in some cases, a thousands times more, plus what you paid in taxes to get that water to the tap too? And what about the empty bottles? Do you think everyone recycles them? Go to Vancouver Island and walk along the shores, you will see hundreds of plastic water containers washed up on the beach. Sure, if I believe corporate ad campaigns and the news media, I would religiously drink bottled water–but I don’t.

Public water facilities are governed under tighter regulations and quality controls than corporate retailers are. Think of this, your public utility is required to test the drinking water several times per day, and must publish their findings–publicly, doesn’t that gain your trust? Do you think a corporation is going to go through all that trouble? The retail corporation is more concerned about profit and cost overhead than the quality of a few PPM of particulates because testing at this scale would be pointless and too expensive for them.

The profit margin for water is very attractive, a couple of cents from the source to a couple of cents into a bottle, then sell it at a thousand percent more to you the consumer. What a business! But the municipality, on the other hand, needs to build and maintain the infrastructure to get that water to your tap–they are responsible and accountable to you–your health and safety.

I trust the water that comes out of my tap. I know that public water is just as safe as any bottled water, perhaps safer, and that I would not pay for water in a plastic bottle at any price. I have heard both side debate this argument in the media, and I am dismayed at how the general public perceives our [tap] water without considering the whole picture. It is the tap for me–thank you. Hey, keep the water cooler and fill the container using the tap water!

2 Thoughts on “Bottled Water: Why?

  1. getting accustomed to the taste?
    well we use Brita filters…without it it tastes funny…but i would drink our tap water

    However, my pregnant sister-in-law can’t drink the tap water straight or even filtered…she realized (or my mom or her mom) realized that it was just one of the many things making her upset…so for now she’s drinking bottled water even tho we are all suspicious of its origins. Maybe it goes thru some extra process that doesn’t upset her?

  2. Yes, I agree that some places have “not-so-tasty” water, and for some people, they will not drink it–I understand that.

    For myself, I know of a natural artesian well that is about 20km from me, and I always stop and fill a water container. Because the well is some distance from me, I only stop there when I am in the area. But yes, that water is so refreshing to drink I make it a point to get whenever I can.

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