Monday, January 19, 2009

don't buy bottled water

photo from

We've all done it and we've all drank it without thinking much of it. But I'm not going to anymore. Last night we watched the documentary Flow. It is all about water and explores the world water crisis. Did you even know there was a world water crisis? Me neither.

A few disturbing facts:
  • Of the 6 billion people on earth, 1.1 billion do not have access to safe, clean drinking water.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently does not regulate 51 known water contaminants. (
  • While the average American uses 150 gallons of water per day, those in developing countries cannot find five. (
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. (
  • According to the National Resources Defense Council, in a scientific study in which more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of water were tested, about one-third of the bottles contained synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic. (
  • Water is a $400 billion dollar global industry; the third largest behind electricity and oil.
    CBS News, FLOW.
  • California╩╝s water supply is running out – it has about 20 years of water left in the state.
    Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant and co-author of Blue Gold, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, FLOW.
  • There are over 116,000 human-made chemicals that are finding their way into public water supply systems.
    William Marks, author of Water Voices from Around the World, FLOW.
  • In Bolivia nearly one out of every ten children will die before the age of five. Most of those deaths are related to illnesses that come from a lack of clean drinking water.
    Jim Schultz, founder of the Democracy Center in Bolivia, FLOW.
  • The cost per person per year for having 10 liters of safe drinking water every day is just $2 USD.
    Ashok Gadgil, Senior Staff Scientist in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, FLOW
There are so many different parts of this issue and I can't do them justice here. I strongly encourage you to watch the film. We Netflixed it. We were left appalled at the way humans treat each other.

Part of the problem is big corporations are making it very difficult for people in third world countries to get clean water. But it's also happening right here in the US where companies such as Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are pumping huge amounts of water out of the ground for bottled water. It's leaving the communities where the water comes from at risk. Plus, there is no guarantee that your bottled water is any cleaner or better than your tap water. Much of the time it is the same. The US government does very little to regulate what goes into bottled water.

My husband is the ultimate water snob. He rarely likes water straight from the tap. So what do we do? We use a water filter. Its so simple. And MUCH cheaper than bottled water. Americans are spending billions of dollars a year on bottled water. For a fraction of what we spend we could provide the whole world with clean drinking water.

The water crisis is a huge complex issue, but by doing this one small thing, I think we can make a difference. Plus, all those plastic bottles won't be going into the landfills. So please think before you buy that next bottle of water. And go watch Flow to learn more or check out their website:


  1. Thanks Katrina, this was really informative. I don't normally buy water bottles (I'm from Seattle, our water is the BEST!), but I'm going to forward this info on to friends and family. Sometimes it's the simplest things that make a difference.

  2. I have a friend who only drinks tap water - never bottled - since tap water is tested/regulated and bottled water isn't.

    Don't you love informative Netflix documentaries? The one about Walmart was jaw-dropping. I knew Walmart was awful, but not that awful. They are literally ruining our country. I also loved the Ricki Lake birthing documentary. So eye-opening about birthing in this country.

  3. Eesh. I'm in trouble. We ONLY drink bottled water.

    But that could be because in Brazil, you don't want to drink out of the tap unless you want to get very, very sick.

  4. Yep--I never drink bottled water. Even before that whole scare about the chemicals in the plastic bottles. Although I am addicted to my 36-oz Nalgene bottle, and I carry it everywhere--and I am purposefully not finding out if it is leaching weird things into my water.

    We have a huge Brita tank that we keep in our 'fridge. I love it. The water here is NOT so tasty.

  5. Living in Brazil is definitely a reason to drink bottled water--but that is just part of the problem! Why does the water there make people sick? It shouldn't! Even the water in the US makes people sick, just to lesser degrees.

    Rachael, Nalgene now makes BPA free water bottles. And we do the Brita thing too.