Bottled Water vs Tap Water
Drinking water, from the tap or the bottle, is important for healthy hydration and plays a vital role in people’s lives. Consumers choose bottled water for several reasons, including taste, quality, and convenience. Bottled water is also an alternative to other packaged beverages when consumers want to eliminate or moderate calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial flavors or colors, alcohol, and other ingredients from their diets.
According to the Institute of Medicine and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, two-thirds of American adults are overweight with one-third of those individuals being obese. In addition, over the last 30 years, children’s obesity rates have climbed from 5 percent to 17 percent.
Drinking zero-calorie beverages, such as water, instead of sugary drinks is regularly cited as a key component of a more healthful lifestyle. The consumption of water—whether from the bottle or the tap—is a good thing. Any actions that discourage people from drinking bottled water are not in the public’s interest.
In October 2011, the Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) published the report “Bottled Water and Tap Water: Just the Facts,” which supports the fact that drinking water, whether from the tap or a bottle, is safe and that regulatory requirements for both tap water and bottled water provide Americans with clean, safe drinking water.
Differences in the regulation of tap water and bottled water, though minimal, highlight the differences between drinking water delivered by a public water system and drinking water delivered to the consumer in a sealed container.
Public water systems (tap water) provide quality water for human consumption and other uses (e.g., washing clothes, bathing, and industrial and commercial uses) through a piped distribution system to specific communities. Public water systems are granted exclusive rights to provide water to consumers in a particular geographic or municipal area. Consumers do not, therefore, have a choice of which public water system will provide water to their homes or businesses.
Bottled water is a packaged food product sold in individual, sanitary, sealed containers. It is intended solely for human consumption. Consumers have a variety of bottled water choices available to satisfy their particular tastes and price preferences. It is sold in many different package sizes, including 3- and 5-gallon containers used in bottled water coolers, 2.5-gallon refrigerator-size containers, and “on-the go” half-liter, one-liter, and 1.5 liter convenience–size packages. Consumers choose bottled water for several reasons: taste, quality, and convenience.