Grabbing a bottle of water on our way out has become a convenience that we consciously do, we have unconsciously forgotten to question where that water actually comes from. It is not our fault, we have been subjected to the subliminal marketing by the bottled water industry. Their message is, “bottled water is a reliable source of pure water, and it’s not like the water from your tap.” Marketing words like crystal, sparkling, along with the visual logos featuring waterfalls and shiny raindrops, all portraying the assumption of a most purist source. Now we come to the question, “is bottled water any better than water from the tap at home?” Let’s take a look.

After some in-depth research, this writer found some very complicated and confounding data about bottled water. Looking into the source of water used for the brand DASANI, owned and bottled by the Coca Cola Co., I found their source statement, “Most facilities that purify and bottle DASANI procure water from municipal water systems. At a few plants, however, water is obtained from protected groundwater sources managed by the bottling plant, with approvals from local authorities.”   Municipal water systems means to me, local tap water! Most other brands of bottled have about the same “source statement” as this Coca Cola Co. disclaimer.

The Pacific Institute, a global water think tank states, “Even where regulations exist, bottled water plants typically receive far less scrutiny from inspectors than other food plants or municipal water systems. In many places, such as the United States, bottlers themselves do most sampling and testing, which opens the door to fraud, misreporting, and inadequate protection.I found this statement quite disturbing.

All bottlers state that their product is manufactured under the strict guidelines set forth by the Federal Food and Drug administration. These are the same guidelines followed by local municipal water authorities in our towns and cities alike. So what is the difference?

Some people state, “the water tastes better,” but most say, “The water comes from a purified source like an artesian well, it is healthier and better for you.” True, distillation in process is performed by most manufactures and, some add specific minerals and ingredients for a more pleasant taste; but the source of the water is likely straight from the bottling plants local municipal water treatment provider.

So, the 50% of Americans who steadfastly use bottled water, at a cost to them of 1,000% higher than the same amount of tap water, worth the cost? With bottled water sales quadrupling 131 million cubic meters annually in a 14 year period ending in 2002, I doubt that most people will change the convenience habit of bottled water over their tap water.