Monday, February 12, 2007

How much water does it take to make water?

Bottled water is one of the largest beverage industries in the world. Global consumption in 2004 grew to a staggering 41.1 billion gallons, up 6.5% since the previous year. In the U.S. the average American was consuming 25 gallons of bottled water annually. The U.S. market for bottled water has exploded growing by 15% in 2002 and 7.5% in 2004. How much water is that? About 7.357 billion gallons of bottled water.

Why do we drink so much of it? Most people believe that tap water isn't fit to drink because it comes out of a dirty faucet while bottled water has been "cleaned" and is therefore much more fitting to drink. But, hundreds of studies prove this assumption dead wrong. NRDC conducted its own tests and found no reason to believe that tap water is any cleaner than bottled water or vice versa. 22% of the bottled waters they tested contained chemical levels that were above strict state health limits. These chemicals and contaminates are able to avoid detection in standards testing because....well, because there is no standards testing. Bottled water has no international standards or committee that tests various types of water brands.

"Bottled water may be no safer or healthier than tap water, while selling for up to 1,000 times the price," the report said. The reason, according to the environmental group, is an absence of standards regulating bottled water.

Here's some more for your gourd: recently, it was discovered that some brands of water actually consume 7 times as much water to create the bottle than the amount of water the bottle holds itself. Seems a bit inefficient to me. Here's why thats possible.
He starts with the production of the bottle in China, taking the bottle blanks to Fiji, and confirming that it takes more water to make the bottle than it actually holds. He then transports the bottle to the States by ship. Not even including the distribution in the States, the numbers are absolutely staggering.
The world's obsession with bottled water has even started to produce a connoisseur elite that pride themselves on understanding the best that bottled water has to offer similar to those of us who take wine (maybe a bit too) seriously. Maybe, instead of having a wine steward at your next elegant dining experience, you'll have a water steward.

I'm off for a glass of fresh water straight from the exotic side of my bathroom sink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article, very eye opening. I like your closing line, very creative. I have vowed never to buy water! Brita is my friend.