National Drinking Water Week reminds us to take a moment to reflect on just how important reliable quality and consistent drinking water is to our daily lives. This week also provides us with the opportunity to consider just where our water comes from, how it is regulated, and why we should Drink Local. Equally important, it shines a spotlight on our hard-working water utilities’ staff and regional suppliers. Thank you Sarasota County Government Utilities, Manatee County Government Utilities and Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority staff for making our water “there when we need it” every day and especially during this health crisis.
Drinking Water Week
May 3 through 9 marks Drinking Water Week; a time to recognize the importance of drinking water in our lives. The theme this is year is “There When You Need It.” Now more than ever, we are so thankful that clean, safe water is there when we need it. During this health emergency, water plant managers and staff continue to work around the clock to ensure our water supply is safe and plentiful. These water providers join a cadre of essential workers who are real heroes during the pandemic. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assured consumers that drinking water is safe to use as normal. The consistent and reliable quality of drinking water is often overlooked, but ever important.
Bottled Water Consumption
Despite how fortunate Floridians are to have safe drinking water coming out of our taps, many report that they are just not drinking it. In fact, 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, is not safe, or that bottled water is a healthier alternative (Hu et al. 2011). Yet, this is most often not the case (Ferrier 2001). There are many common misconceptions among bottled water consumers, chief among them is that government-regulated standards are higher than that of public water supply (Hu et al. 2011).
Drinking Water Regulations
Our drinking water meets and exceed all federal and state Safe Drinking Water Act standards. The Safe Drinking Water Act 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)). I urge you to compare the two.
Where Does Your Public Supply Drinking Water Come From?
Click on your water provider below to see its annual Drinking Water Quality Reports (also known as Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR)) to find out where your water comes from, how it is treated, and its quality. This same information is not required to be made available and accessible by bottled water companies.
Why Drink Local?
There are so many reasons to consider drinking your local tap water. Some of these reasons include:
- To become more invested in local water resources and get familiar with supply challenges
- To cut down on plastic waste. Plastic pollution is ubiquitous and reducing plastics, especially single-use plastics, is of the utmost importance
- It’s safe, and it actually tastes good
- Bottled water may contribute to troubled Florida springs
Get connected and find out where your tap water comes from and how it is treated. If you don’t like the taste, there several options. First, you can fill up a glass bottle or carafe with tap water and put in the fridge for 24 hours letting the chlorine off-gas relieving the water of chlorine odor and taste while chilling it. Or you can filter your water with a carbon filter. Keep in mind that much of the bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from municipal sources. So don’t contract out your drinking water filtration services, do it yourself. By filtering your water yourself, you will not have to go to the store to pick up water anymore. Now isn’t that reason enough? If you do decide to use a filter be sure to follow manufacturer instructions closely.
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.