Water: a taste test for your conscience

This page in:

WaterCan you taste the difference between tap water and bottled water? Apparently few can. Then why do the world’s most developed countries spend so much on the stuff?

Globally, bottled water is a $46 billion industry... Ounce for ounce, it costs more than gasoline, even at today's high gasoline prices.

If bottled water in developed countries does not have a distinguishable taste, and is not safer nor more nutritional than tapped municipal water, perhaps these billions of dollars are better spent elsewhere?

More than 2.6 billion people, or more than 40 percent of the world's population, lack basic sanitation, and more than one billion people lack reliable access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of all illness in the world is due to water-borne diseases, and that at any given time, around half of the people in the developing world are suffering from diseases associated with inadequate water or sanitation, which kill around five million people a year.

Tom Standage challenges us to donate to water charities instead of appeasing our “lifestyle option.” He claims that only $1.7 billion a year would be needed to provide water for everyone in the developed world, improved sanitation for all for an additional $9.3 billion annually – less than a quarter of current annual spending on bottled water. An innovative form of private participation that might get rid of that "bitter taste."

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000