Do you know where your drinking water comes from?
More than one-third of Floridians report bottled water as their primary source of drinking water (Oderra and Lamm, 2015). This can be translated as one out of every three Floridians believing that Florida water tastes bad, that it is not safe, or that bottled water is a healthier alternative (Hu et al. 2011). However, this is most often not the case (Ferrier 2001). Unfortunately, there is a common misconception among bottled water consumers that government-regulated standards are higher than that of public water supply (Hu et al. 2011).
Drinking Water Regulations
Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while tap water is regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Bottled water, including mineral water (with certain exceptions), must conform to the quality standards set forth in FDA policy(21CFR 165.110(b)). While tap water must meet the requirements set by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. I urge you to compare the two.
Bottled Water Consumption in the U.S.
People who drink bottled water often do not know where the water actually comes from, the contamination risks of the source, or the future of its supply. Bottled water is not energy or water efficient, in fact, it takes three-times the amount water to produce a single 0.5 liter (16.8 oz) bottle of water. Americans buy the equivalent of 12 8-ounce water bottles a week. Only 3 out of every 10 bottles are recycled. This is not sustainable.
What Can You Do?
Get connected and find out where your tap water comes from and how it is treated. If you don’t like the taste, add a carbon filter. The rule of thumb for filtration is that the smaller the pore sizes and the slower the water moves through it, the more contaminants are removed. So instead of contracting out your drinking water filtration services, purchase a filter to improve the taste while also conserving water and saving the world from plastic pollution.
Where Does Your Public Supply Drinking Water Come From?
Read your Drinking Water Quality Reports to find out where your water comes from, how it is treated, and its quality.
Learn more about water conservation by visiting UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County’s Water Conservation webpage.
Ferrier, C., 2001. Bottled water: understanding a social phenomenon. Ambio, 30(2), pp.118-119.
Hu, Z., Morton, L.W. and Mahler, R.L., 2011. Bottled water: United States consumers and their perceptions of water quality. International journal of environmental research and public health, 8(2), pp.565-578.