Water Water everywhere?

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Today is Global Blog Action day, where 4,439 blogs in 133 countries will be publishing stories about water. It’s about awareness, but also about action. It’s widely recognised that there is a global water crisis. You read about it in the news, see programs on TV about it and there is even a Wikipedia page for it (obviously).

Out of the hundreds of water issues I could write about, I’ve chosen to write about water (specifically bottled water) as a commodity. Why? Because almost a billion people do not have access to clean water. Yet, people, companies and countries are racing to exploit what they can of water resources. The bottled water industry is a $60-80 billion dollar industry. Here are 5 reasons why there is still demand for bottled water- and why there shouldn’t be.

1. People think it’s got health benefits. Bottled water isn’t actually better for you, or your health. In some instances it is actually worse.

2. Municipal supplies are feared, likely because of a few high profile cases where people fell ill. Municipal supplies are at least stringently regulated, whereas bottled water does not undergo any form of  testing.

3, Taste. This is a Tricky one. Sometimes municipal water tastes different because of how it has been treated. But, buying a Brita or any other type of filter sorts that out. Squash (cordial) is also a good addition.

4. 50% of bottled water in the US actually comes from municipal supplies. So, basically you’re paying a markup of 100%. You know that expression don’t judge a book by its cover? The same statement can apply to bottled water. You don’t actually know where it came from.

5. Those pretty mountains, and cold climate on the label must mean the water is delicious and pure, right? Exotic branding (Everest, Arctic, etc) is still branding and Everest Water doesn’t come from the its namesake. It comes from Texas.

Newsweek calls water “The New Oil”. Someone has already coined the term “Peak Water“. That’s really scary. People of developed nations live consuming an abundance of water while people in developing nations live on a fraction- if that- to survive.

Water is such a precious commodity, worth far more than oil. Some peoples’ livelihoods may depend on water for a profit, but millions more lives depend on it being clean, accessible and available.

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