Water is a precious commodity and is essential to life. Not only does it provide a vital fuel to plants and vegetation but human beings experience severe ill health if they do not have a water supply to drink from for more than 3 days. Adults need to drink around 8 glasses of water a day to regulate their fluid levels.
The water cycle is essential to plant, animal and human life, it circulates and cleanses the water as part of a natural process, water evaporates from rivers and seas, transpires from vegetation and trees into clouds and condenses in the air. These gather there until an excess amount is stored and then the water will precipitate in the form of rain, snow or sleet. The rain replenishes rivers, streams and reservoirs. Water in contact with the ground will permeate down through the soil and eventually enter one of the enormous underground storage tanks in the earth, known as water tables.
Water can take several years to reach the water table, if this becomes polluted by a solvent or heavy metal it may mean vast quantities of water are unfit to drink and may mean the water company can no longer extract water from them.
In the UK alone we purchase around 3 billion bottles of water every year. There is a huge environmental impact due to the amount of plastic bottles sent to landfill, as well as the costs to produce the water and transport it to shops.
But is the water any cleaner, fresher or better for us? Or are there health and environmental benefits from sticking to tap water?
- Although many water bottles are recyclable many still end up in landfill after being thrown away at the point of use.
- Plastic bottles have also starting littering some of the most beautiful places on the planet
- Many of the plastic bottles are manufactured abroad and are flown or shipped in from overseas creating a huge carbon footprint.
- Water is heavy and transporting bottles of it around the country is estimated to create more than 33,000 tons of C02 emissions – equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 6,000 homes.
- A litre of tap water costs less than 1p. According to the Consumer Council for Water, an adult drinking the recommended eight glasses a day would pay £1 a year from the tap compared to £500 for a mid-range mineral water.
- You may enjoy the taste but there are no proven health benefits of bottled water over tap and blind tastes show that most people fail to identify one over the other.