Tap Water vs. Bottled Water Purity

According to ABC News, most bottled water is nothing more than reprocessed tap water. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, tap and bottled water are comparable in terms of safety (unless you live in a place where the water is known to be contaminated). In fact, tap water is regulated under more stringent standards than bottled water. If you’re still not convinced about the quality of your tap water, you could filter your tap water and still save significant money over the cost of bottled water. 

The Cost of Drinking Water Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

Bottled water costs approximately 2,000 – 3000 times more than tap water, and Americans drink millions of gallons of it every year. If you drink 64 oz. of water daily, you would consume about three 20 oz. bottles per day. Assuming each bottle costs $1, it would cost $3 per day or $1,095 per year. The same amout of tap water would cost $0.48 per year. That’s right – tap water would cost $0.48 annually vs. $1,095 annually for bottled water.

Safety and Taste

Although most plastics are now marketed as BPA-free, research has found that plastic bottles may contain BPS instead which is a chemical similar to BPA, causing the same disruption of hormone signaling as BPA.

Experts caution that extreme heating of plastics should be avoided to minimize leaching of chemicals from the plastic. The U.S. Food ad Drug Administration recommends storing bottled water in a cool, dry place, away from household solvents, fuels , other chemicals, and direct sunlight. In comparison, glass and stainless steel water containers are very inert and don’t leach anything into the water. 

Time after time, tap water has been rated as better tasting than bottled water in blind taste tests.

Convenience

Many people choose bottled water for convenience, but obtaining a reusable glass bottle or stainless steel thermos and filling it from the tap doesn’t take much time and is both cheaper and better for the environment. Even the U.S. Transportation Security Administration recommends bringing an empty container with you and filling it once inside security to reduce waste and sam money. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/going-green-while-traveling-through-airport-security.

Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total. Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S. and only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.

Impact

It is estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean annually on top of the 150 million metric tons that currently circulate in our marine environments. That’s like dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year. That much plastic is bound to impact our environment, our ecosystems, and our health.

Solution

By using a reusable water bottle and filling it with tap water, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.

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House, Senate OK Colorado River drought plan, capping years of debate

House, Senate OK Colorado River drought plan, capping years of debate

WASHINGTON – Two weeks after water officials told Congress there was urgent need to approve the Colorado River drought contingency plan, the House and Senate both passed a plan Monday and sent it to the president’s desk.

If signed by President Donald Trump as expected, it would be the culmination of years of negotiations between the seven states in the Colorado River Basin on how much each state can draw from the river if Lake Powell and Lake Mead drop to crisis levels. Read moreShare on Facebook

What’s happening with the Colorado River Drought plans?

‘Done’ isn’t done: What’s happening with the Colorado River drought plans?

by Luke Runyon and Bret Jaspers of KJZZ, published 7 February 2019

“The seven states that rely on the Colorado River for water haven’t been able to finish a series of agreements that would keep its biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from dropping to levels not seen since they were filled decades ago.

Five states — Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nevada — are done. So is northern Mexico. But California and Arizona failed to meet the federal government’s Jan. 31 deadline to wrap up negotiations and sign a final agreement.”

Read the full article at Cronkite News published by Arizona PBS.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

According to the United Nations: “The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 found that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors leading to growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, as well as curtailing progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services.” Read the report.Share on Facebook

Global Water Scarcity

We live on a planet covered by water (9.25 million trillion gallons), but more than 97 percent is salty, and nearly 2 percent is locked up in snow and ice.iThat leaves only a fraction of one percent of the earth’s total water supply to grow our crops, provide for industrial use, and supply drinking water. Unfortunately, these available water reserves are already strained – surface supplies are shrinking and groundwater is being depleted faster than it can be replenished. It is estimated that by 2025 almost two billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity and two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed regions. By 2050, one in 5 developing countries are expected to face water shortages.

At present, about 4.5 billion people live within an impaired water resource, 780 million people live without clean drinking water, and more than one-third of Africa’s population and 25 to 33 percent of China’s population lack access to safe drinking water.ii

Thirty-three countries depend upon other nations for a majority of their renewable water while only nine countries account for 60 percent of the world’s natural freshwater.iiiOne hundred and twenty river systems in the world flow through two or more countries. Almost two-thirds of the world’s countries have rivers flowing into their territories from upstream countries and there are 276 transboundary river basins. Seven countries share the Amazon river basin in Southern America region; eight countries share the Mekong river basin in the Southern and Eastern Asia region; eleven countries share the Nile river basin in Africa; and nineteen countries share the Danube river basin in Europe.iv

Currently, approximately 9 percent of countries experience absolute water scarcity, 6 percent experience water scarcity, and 10 percent are under water stress.vEighty nations now have serious water problems that are expected to become severe within twenty years.

Drought affects more people than any other type of natural disaster. Although droughts are not new, their increasing frequency and severity throughout the world in recent decades has heightened impacts resulting in massive famines and migration, conflicts and unrest, and food shortages and price increases. Since these shifts in population and resources are global concerns, we will need to approach drought in new, inventive ways.vi

In the world’s driest places, fossil water is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel. This ancient freshwater was created eons ago and trapped underground in huge reservoirs, or aquifers. And like oil, no one knows how much there is.

More than two billion people worldwide rely on wells for their water. As water tables continue to drop, many of them devote countless hours to collecting and hauling this valuable resource.viiBringing fossil water to the surface may cause other water quality issues. When aquifers are depleted, they can be subject to an influx of surrounding contaminants such as saltwater—a particular problem near coastal areas.

Also, like oil fields, depleting fossil water aquifers too quickly can reduce underground pressures and render large quantities of water essentially irretrievable.viiiGroundwater in aquifers between layers of poorly permeable rock, such as clay or shale, may be confined under pressure. If such a confined aquifer is tapped by a well, water will rise above the top of the aquifer and may even flow from the well onto the land surface. Water confined in this way is said to be under artesian pressure, and the aquifer is called an artesian aquifer. There is no problem if the water is withdrawn slowly, but human population has exploded threefold and water use has risen even faster. Of the 37 underground aquifers measured, one third was seriously stressed, with little or almost no natural replenishment.

Technological advances are helping scientists get a handle on just how much water can be found in a given locale. For instance, the European Space Agency’s AQUIFER project uses satellite imagery to estimate water resources from space and help aid trans border management, according to geophysicist Stefan Saradeth. In Northern India, scientists used NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to measure aquifer usage. When underground reservoir levels change, they slightly alter Earth’s gravitational field—just enough to be detected by GRACE satellites 300 miles (480 kilometers) above the surface. That data is used to map water use. In northern India, they produced a disturbing picture. The NASA study found that humans are using more water than rains can replenish, and area groundwater levels declined by an average of one foot (30 centimeters) per year between 2002 and 2008.ix

Although fossil water can currently fill critical needs, experts warn, it’s ultimately just a temporary measure until conservation measures and advanced technologies become the status quo. Ensuring adequate food and water for all and achieving sustainable rural development and livelihoods for current and future generations all hinge upon the responsible management of our natural resources.

Footnotes:

Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out published by National Geographic May 8, 2010

ii Glogal Majority Water Shortages ‘within two generations’ published by theguardian.com May 24, 2013; The Coming Global Water Crisis published by theatlantic.com May 9, 2012; and Photogallery 0,29307,1724375_1552669,00 published by Time.com

iii Review of World Water Resources by Country published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

iv Did you know published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Water aqua stat infographics published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Paving the way for National Drought Policies published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

vii Time Magazine photogallergy 0,29307,1724375_1552667,00

viii Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out published by National Geographic May 8, 2010

Water Wars Threaten America’s Most Endangered Rivers published by National Geographic April 12, 2016

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The Water Conflict Chronology – Water Conflicts over the Centuries and Millennia

Water, or lack thereof, is often at the front lines of conflict. By documenting water conflict across history, Dr. Peter Gleick, chief scientist and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, explores the instances where water and violence have gone hand and hand. His water conflict chronology is a fascinating river throughout history and was just updated. In our latest podcast, Gleick tells us about some of the lessons learned and highlights from this water conflict chronology, and explores what kind of trends have emerged, and what we can expect in the future.

The Water Conflict Chronology – Water Conflicts over the Centuries and Millennia by Circle of Blue is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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