(June 30, 2008) In a front-page take-out, Shankar Vedantam of the Washington Post walks readers through the tastes and dollars behind the bottled water industry’s efforts to “turn water into the new wine.”
Writes Vedantam: “The push to turn water into the new wine is a marketing phenomenon: The bottled-water industry is engaged in an intense effort to convince Americans that the stuff in bottles is substantially different from the stuff out of the tap.”
But empirical tests have repeatedly shown that they are generally the same. In blind taste tests, many people who swear they can differentiate between bottled-water brands and tap water fail to spot the differences, and studies have shown that both are fine to drink, and both occasionally can have quality problems.
There is abundant irony in such marketing: The supply of clean drinking water across America and in many other countries is an underappreciated scientific and technological achievement that in many ways rivals putting a man on the moon. Trillions of dollars have been spent to get clean drinking water to people at virtually no cost — and it is people in precisely these countries who seem willing to pay premiums of 1,000 percent to 10,000 percent for bottled water.
As the wealthiest billion people on the planet increasingly turn to bottled water, moreover, the poorest billion have no little or access to clean water.
Read more here.
Source: Washington Post
J. Carl Ganter is co-founder and director of Circle of Blue, the internationally recognized center for original frontline reporting, research, and analysis on resource issues with a focus on the intersection between water, food, and energy.