Bottled water vs. Tap water. What is the story behind this 250 Billion $ business?

Treating water for potability is a process that goes back thousands of years.

Discovered by ancient Egyptians, it evolved from alum flocculation and sedimentation to disinfectants, like chlorine in America and ozone in Europe, playing a significant role in ending epidemics of waterborne diseases.

Currently, municipalities are using chlorine in the final stages of water treatment, but modern water treatments like reverse osmosis and iron exchange are competing with an estimated 250 Billion $ bottled water industry.

Questions regarding the necessity of drinking bottled water and the reliability of the bottled water sources have been raised following research performed by environmentalists.

According to the Independent, a glass from the tap and a glass of bottled water are virtually identical as far as their health and nutritional quality are concerned. A study showed that almost half of all bottled water is actually derived from the tap, but may be further processed or tested for safety.

BusinessInsider demonstrated that even though some complain about the taste of tap water, most of us are not able to actually tell the difference. As resulting from a taste test done by Boston University students, only a third taste-testers identified the water sample correctly. Unlike tap water, however, the production of bottled water is an expensive, resource-heavy process which requires the use of crude oil and larger volumes of water.

In an article, Time explains that 90% of Americans cite “safety” and “quality” as the main reasons for their preference for bottled water. In reality, this is not always the case as regulations are implemented by states rather than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which applies more “comprehensive” standards to control the condition of tap water nationally.

Sources: Independent, BusinessInsider, Time

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