Understanding Your Drinking Water

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DRINKING WATER: A FIRST STEP TOWARD REDUCING BOTTLED WATER CONSUMPTION

  1. Tyrna, UF/IFAS Extension & Sustainability, Sarasota County, Sarasota, FL.

One of the greatest challenges to regional water conservation is the production and sales of bottled water.  It takes 1.5 L (or 3 times the amount) of water to produce a single 0.5 L (16.8 oz) water bottle.  In 2015, 36% of Floridians surveyed reported that bottled water use was their primary source of drinking water.  Bottled water sales are at all-time high.  In fact, in 2015 Americans bought the equivalent of 224.4 million gallons of bottled water each week, enough to provide every single American (319 million) with five water bottles each week.

With so many Floridians drinking bottled water it is no wonder that 97% of those surveyed rank the presence of clean drinking water sources as highly or extremely important.  Yet, three-quarters of these respondents were less than moderately familiar with the Florida Safe Drinking Water Act.  Their lack of understanding may be contributing to their behavior.  A free community education program was developed to fill this gap of understanding.  The objectives state that by the end of each class all participants will be able to:

  • trace the sources of their drinking water,
  • interpret their Drinking Water Quality reports, and
  • differentiate between bottled and tap water regulations.

Furthermore, 60-days after participating in class, 25% will reduce their bottled water consumption through the purchase and installation of a water filter.

A pre- and post-survey and a 60-day follow-up will be used to report on objectives.

Reducing the consumption of bottled water can provide numerous benefits including energy and water savings and enhanced environmental and human health.  By offering this community education course we will not only see small reductions in bottled water consumption, but we will also learn more about the benefits and barriers to changing behavior so that we can tailor further efforts to address these issues.

(Click photo to enlarge.)