The U.S. – Assessing Tap Water Versus Bottled Water

Nany of us have many questions about tap water and bottled water in terms of quality, access and affordability? Is bottled water more pure than tap water? What is most appropriate for a state or a country in terms of water management policies and services provided to the citizen? What regulations and directives that control water quality? What feedback impacts of the quality of natural waters on household needs in particular drinking water? 

The quality of water varies considerably around the world. So, you better learn about sources and quality of your water. Even in countries with high tap water quality people still go for bottled water. In the U.S. popularity of bottled water is  exploding again. During 2014 Americans consumed about 270 single-serving bottles of water per person with total value of bottled water sold of approximately $13 billion. Within the next two years bottled water in the U.S. is expected to become the most consumped packaged beverage in the United States. Water delivered by public water supplies in the U.S. is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These two agencies have different standards for the water. In general, EPA’s quality standards are higher while FDA does have strict standards of purity and labeling that must be met by all manufacturers.

Is Bottled Water High Priced Tap Water?
It often is. About 25% of the bottled water sold in the United States comes straight out of a tap. This is also the case in many other counties around the world. It can cost over 1000 times as much as tap water. The FDA requires bottlers to identify what type of water is in every bottle. If it is marked  “from a community water system” or “from a municipal source” or something similar, you are buying the equivalent of tap water. The bottler might treat municipal or community water so that it meets the United States government’s definition of “purified water”, “demineralized water”, “deionized water”, “distilled water” or “reverse osmosis water”. It can then be labeled with those names. All steps of processing, bottling and labeling have a cost.

In the U.S. some bottled waters are specially produced and marketed as being from natural water sources. These are also regulated and labeled according to FDA definitions. Some of the more common water identities are: Mineral Water, Spring Water, Artesian Water, Sparkling Water, Ground Water and Well Water. 

In the U.S. if you are drinking bottled water because you think that it is more pure, better for your health or safer than community or municipal water you are probably not getting your money’s worth. 
One concern that motivates many people to drink bottled water instead is “taste” as some don’t like the taste of tap water.

The benefits of bottled water are mainly convenience and novelty. Instead of buying bottled water you can carry a canteen or a drinking cup and save lots of money by using tap water. For lits of reasons drinking tap water will also help the environment.
Water has no calories, no dissolved sugar, no alcohol and no caffeine. If you regularly drink water as a replacement for soda, beer, coffee or iced tea you are probably making a healthy choice. There are many real benefits of bottled water or tap water. It’s easy to drink water as an alternative beverage. So, start thinking of water as an alternative beverage. Drink bottled water when you need convenience. Drink tap water to save money and preserve the environment.


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