I love tap water, in fact that is all I drink. There are none of those trumped up claims attached to tap water except that it is safe and cheap to drink. Even if you don’t think the fluoride that they add to it is any good for you, you can simply filter it out with little effort.
If you are some of the few fortunate humans on the planet to be connected to clean drinking water, then there is no better place to go if you are thirsty. Once you have had tap, you won’t go back!
On the other hand, there is bottled water, which is a product that is usually no cleaner than the water that flows from your tap. The so called demand for this product is purely manufactured by beverage companies trying to make a buck, and sucker us along for the ride.
So what is the real story about bottled water, and that of our tap water? Well, I did some research and found a few videos that explain it all.
Firstly to lay down the foundations, here is The Story of Bottled Water by Annie Leonard.
Next is one of my favourites, Tear Of a Cloud, by Do The Green Thing. When life’s a bitch, grab a Mitch! This is a parody of manufactured demand.
Then finally, there is another little ditty about Tap (water that is), called Tip, Top, Tap and is a little like a Noel Coward song! Again this video is by Do The Green Thing.
- Australians spent $385 million on 250 million litres of bottled water in 2006.
- It takes 3.4 megajoules of energy to make a typical one-litre plastic bottle — or 850 million megajoules to bottle 250 million litres of water.
- A barrel of oil has 6000 megajoules, so it takes 141,666 barrels of oil to make the PET plastic.
- The energy required to bring bottled water to market — converting the PET plastic into bottles, bottling the water, transporting and refrigerating the bottled water — means the amount of oil required equals 20 per cent of the bottle’s volume.
- For 250 million litres of water, which equals 50 million litres of oil — 314,465 barrels of oil.
- In addition to the water in bottles, twice as much water is also used in the production process. So that every litre sold represents three litres of water.
- Drinking water out of a tap uses only 0.2 megajoules according to EPA Victoria.
Too right Gavin!
And if you live in Melbourne we have some of the cleanest and best quality tap water in the world, thanks to the foresight, a long time ago, to protect the major catchment areas from any form of development or even tourist activity. They are kept in pristine condition and the benefits are clear, not just for us but for the environment as well.
Gavin I invested in a very good quality stainless steel drink bottle three years ago and that is all I ever use now. I wasn’t big on bottled water but would buy one occasionally for the bottle to fill from home until I learnt that the bottle itself wasn’t such a great idea. Love water and my SS bottle!
Cheers, Karen near Gympie.
Good one Gavin and very thoroughly presented I must say. Cheers!
Couldn’t agree more. The people who should be drinking tap water because they have a good clean supply tend to be the ones buying the plastic bottles, while people with no acccess to clean reliable water are the ones scraping up muddy buckets worth and suffering because of it. We stopped doing plastic bottled water about 5 years ago. Even in Europe last summer, we learned that restaurants in Italy and France will provide a jug of tap water if you ask, rather than the expensive and to my taste, horrible, mineral water.
Well done Gavin, but I can’t agree that setting the evils of bottled water against the quality of tap water is an argument that necessarily applies outside of Melbourne.
I find Brisbane water near to undrinkable, and every time I have to stay in Brisbane I feel pity for those who have no choice but to drink it or cook with it.
For people throughout the majority of Australia’s land area rainwater is the alternative to reticulated water. I realise that this is not necessarily the majority of Australians, but it is a large number of people.
We live 100km from Brisbane, and our rainwater, collected from our galvanised iron roofs and passing through leaf excluders and first flush diverters before being stored in our stainless steel tanks, is clean, clear and without taste.
There are lots of myths and scaremongering about rainwater for drinking. If one is outside areas where pollution is likely (from high density traffic and industrial emissions), then proper collection and storage should eliminate risk. Keeping the inlet mesh clear of debris and preventing light getting into tanks (to stop algal growth where water unavoidably contains nutrients) can both be achieved using covers over the mesh inlets, above the pipe ends.
I grew up in an era when drinking rainwater was the norm, and in an area with small holder farming, and can’t recall there being more stomach upsets then than now – in fact I suspect there were fewer.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Gordon, thanks. I agree about rainwater. I grew up in a country town in South Australia, and due to the dubious quality of the town water, we exclusively drank rain water. Now that I live in the ‘burbs, the dogs drink it, and I use it for making beer. I agree with you regarding pollution in built up area, and we boil it if we need to drink it ourselves, or use it in cheesemaking.
All good points
I agree with Gordon, one of the joys of living in the country is drinking rainwater collected from our roof. When I have to go to the city for work I take bottles of rainwater from home, can’t stand the taste of tap water. I try really hard to never by bottled water, I think they’re a terrible waste, we have a few good drink bottles that I carry with us whenever we are out and about. Its so important to have rainwater for cheese, beer and fermenting in general, at least you have your tanks when you need them.