Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1

Photo: Water bottles

This is the first in a three-part series about bottled water. To read the second installment, click here. To read the third installment, click here.

Have you ever stopped to think about just how incredibly odd it is to buy bottled water? I'm only recently coming to understand just how ludicrous the whole thing is.

Really, think about it:

  • America has some of the best civil infrastructure in the world. Most Americans have clean drinking water piped directly into their sinks. Yet, we persist in buying the bottled stuff.
  • Sales of bottled water topped $35 billion in 2003, and have gone up steadily since.
  • Bottled water costs consumers of the Starbucks Ethos brand roughly $9.85 per gallon, just a tad more than gasoline. Oh, wait - yes, that's triple the cost of gasoline. Now, not everyone buys Ethos-brand bottled water, and you can get a purified gallon of water at the supermarket for roughly a dollar. That's still a dollar too much.

Time for a Metaphor

Let's imagine that there's a guy who lives in France, we'll call him Pepe, who generates really green electricity from his windfarm. He can ship the power in the form of HUGE batteries, from France. You can then go the store, buy a huge battery, hook the battery up to your house, and voila!- you are able to use it to power your lights. Great! When you are finished, you just throw the battery away and buy another one at the store. Sure, you could just use the electricity that is wired into your home, but green power is better, right?

Well, when we buy bottled water, especially bottled water from overseas (like Fiji), that's exactly what we are doing. We're deciding against something that we have immediate access to, something that pours freely into our sinks at the twist of a handle. But instead, many of us prefer to purchase water. Water, which is sort of ubiquitous, now arrives in plastic bottles, bottles that are polluting to create and polluting to get rid of.

Fossil fuels are burned moving the water across the ocean (in what I like to call "an ironic twist"), and then a diesel-burning truck brings the water to your grocery store, which you drive to in your gas-burning car.

Where you buy it. And drink it. And throw away the bottle.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact that the bottled water craze is having on our planet is staggering:

Bottled water is responsible for an enormous increase in world production of plastic bottles. Surging sales of bottled water coincided with and may help account for a 56 per cent increase in U.S. plastic resin manufacture in the U.S.A. between 1995 and 2001 (from 32 million tons to over 50 million tons annually). Consuming critical supplies of petroleum and natural gas, plastic bottle factories create and release toxic wastes, including benzine, xylene, and oxides of ethylene into the environment.

Drinking bottled water actually increases the price of gasoline, because the manufacturing of the bottles and the transportation of the water simply increases demand for oil. I'm not going to say that if you drink Evian, the terrorists have won, but keep in mind that when you buy bottled water, you're not just consuming bottled water. You're consuming (and paying for) all of the chemicals that went into producing that bottle that the water arrived in, as well as the gas and oil consumed in bringing the water to you.

It's shockingly inefficient. It's also ridiculously bad for our planet:

"About 300 billion pounds of plastic are produced each year, said Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. That's 1,000 pounds for every American.

"And massive amounts of it are washing into the sea.

"Swirling in the Pacific Ocean is an area of man-made trash the size of Texas. A few years ago Moore towed a fine mesh net like a giant cheesecloth through the area -- dubbed the "great garbage patch." The haul contained six times more plastic than plankton."

Read that full article in the Seattle PI - I guarantee that it will make you think carefully about throwing away plastic. One thing that I didn't know was how plastic is capable of degrading. I had always been told that a plastic bottle now is a plastic bottle 2000 years from now - but plastic does break down into smaller pieces, and it's everywhere.

The trouble is that there's no effective way to remove the plastic pollution, whether it's in chunks or microscopic bits. Researchers say the solution is keeping it out of the water in the first place. And there's good reason to do so: it's on our dinner plates.

This is the first in a three-part series about bottled water. To read the second installment, click here. To read the third installment, click here.

(Photo by shutterbug hottie shrff14)

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Guest's picture

You mean that "Trump Ice" is not actually the best water in the world? How dare you! LOL

Guest's picture

Unfortunately, the water that is piped into our homes in Hong Kong not only tastes bad, at times it smells bad and is discloured. I will be sticking to bottled water.

Guest's picture

I can agree with bad sanitation of the water, but have you tried purification filters? like Pur, or the countless others?

Paul Michael's picture

And a perfect excuse for me to start drinking tap water again. Trouble is, ours tastes like recycled urine but hey, anything for the planet.

Guest's picture

Hmm, gripes about bottle water and he buys a "veggie burger at Burger King". Go figure.

Guest's picture

to the credit of most water bottlers, their water does taste much better than tap water. however their taste is easily and (cheaply) obtained by getting a PUR or brita (though i prefer PUR) filter!

not sure why people still buy bottled water.

Guest's picture

or even better just collect rainwater.

Guest's picture

No one where I'm from has drinkable tap water. It's just not how we live. You buy gallons from the store, and when they're empty, you refill them at the spring or buy new ones. I don't know how many other communities are like this, but I see your point even if it doesn't work for me.

Andrea Karim's picture

Unfortunately, the water that is piped into our homes in Hong Kong not only tastes bad, at times it smells bad and is discloured.

Yup. That's why the article is actually about Americans. I've lived in China - and I wouldn't drink the water there without boiling and filtering the hell out of it.

Hmm, gripes about bottle water and he buys a "veggie burger at Burger King". Go figure.

Oh, is that a liberal vegetarian joke? Like, liberal care about the environment AND what they eat. Funny. Also, I'm female, genius.


Guest's picture

Your concerns about bottled water are really concerns about people
making choices in a (comparatively) free society. You resent people
not following the government program by exercising their freedom of
choice and actually purchasing something in the marketplace.
After all, we don't know what's best for us, although I'm sure you
think you do - after all, you're the elite that has the right to advise and
even dictate the choices we make. In your collectivist mind, bottled water
has such a negative impact on the environment because it is purchased
and consumed, not because of its chemical composition. You would have
us all eating from coconut shells and banana leaves. In my opinion, one
less product or service from the government is one less degree of power
they have over our lives. For that, I'll pay a PREMIUM!

Guest's picture

I totally aggree, that the transportation creates a lot of pollution, however, you disregard that water may be bottled in glas bottles which are refilled after use. At least, thats how it is over here in Germany. Most of the water here is sold in glas bottles. You pay a deposit of about 25 Eurocent for each bottle (and a couple of Euros for the case). This deposit is returned to you, after returning the bottles to the store...

One more Point to your case:
In Germany (and I'd guess in most western cuntries), tab-water has much higher standards than mineral water. There are several Mineralwaters around, that would not be allowed as tab-water.

Guest's picture

What the article does not mention is that the tap water often contains a fair amount of pesticides, antibiotics ect, which although below the legal concentrations, are not without risk : cancer, hormone imbalance and other diseases. The legal limits of these pesticides are often higher than they should be thanks to the agricultural lobby. If I know the water in my area is pure, that is taped from an unpolluted source then I am happy to drink it. But drinking water taken from watersheds where industrial agriculture takes place, or in big cities where water is recycled many times and various drugs people take are concentrated is best avoided.
In Paris area the plastic water bottles are recycled.

Guest's picture

Me, I love our tap water. But then, I've always had a thing for chlorine.

Guest's picture

dude, i'm from new jersey. we pretty much invented cancer. anyone from jersey will tell you: you can't drink the water here. yeah, it doesn't taste that bad, i drink it sometimes, i make coffee out of it, it tastes like chlorine, but it's OK tasting. but it's what you don't taste that'll get you. plus the pipes are really old here.

Guest's picture

Your water tastes like Clorine BECAUSE of polution! They have to purify it with clorine so you can drink it BUT, if we all cut down on polluting and drnking bottled water, we wouldn't have to purify it!

Andrea, you rock out loud. This article has helped me so much with my project for science and taght me a TON about Bottled water and it's totally sad facts. Thank you, and keep it up!

Guest's picture

Drinking bottled water is better then drinking coke, beer, or anything else in a can or bottle.

Everything you say about water also applies to every drink that comes in a bottle except those drinks take even more processing and consume even more resources.

What kind a stupid idiot are you that you can't figure that out?

Always remember that if you keep your mouth shut people might think you are an idiot, but when you open it and say something colossally stupid then everybody knows you are an idiot.

Guest's picture


The funny thing is you criticize someone for voicing their opinion and then you attack it without making a point. If you read the article you would have noticed that she believes drinking water out of a bottle is ridiculous because not only is it bad for the environment, but because we get it for FREE! By the way, what drink doesn't come in a bottle and requires more consumption of resources than bottled water? If you are going to make a criticizing comment please back it up with a fact.

For everyone else:

Another solution is filling up the 5 gallon jugs of water and refilling a metal water bottle. Drinking from a plastic bottle is bad for your health and the environment.

Guest's picture

man You sound like a retard. That wasnt even the arguement being presented. I'm guessing everyone on your block got soda fountains hooked up in their house. Wish i stayed where ever you are..............

Guest's picture

The real irony is that the google ads on the right hand side of you page are urging everyone to buy - yep you guessed it - bottled water.

Guest's picture

I agree with one of the earlier comments, I buy bottled water because I live in a big city and I am sure it's filled with low concentrations of sewage and hormones and crap. You want to know why male sperm counts are down? I would start by investigating all the female hormones in the drinking water.

Guest's picture

To people in China,
Don't feel too bad. Our water here in the US isn't any better. It is usually "safe", but that is only because they dump so much chlorine into it. In many areas, the water is "hard" and they add additional chemicals to make it "softer". The tap water people claim you can't taste the difference. I know I certainly can.

I avoid buying water in small containers, but that is about all I really can do. Tap water tastes horrible and I don't see why I should be forced to eat and drink things I don't like.

Guest's picture
Ali Abdul-Rahman

Hi i'm Ali.

I'm 11 year old and i'm currently making a report on Persuading to drink tap water.

Bottled Water tastes better than tap but its good for you. If you can't take tap water, try getting a filter!
Those will make your tap taste better and not take the flouride out!

Guest's picture

Agreed Andrea, and to add what was not said -

Lewis Black actually did a stand up routine with a chunk of it dedicated to this subject, very funny. I live in Chicago where the water is top rated in the nation, but I too buy bottled water, and feel guilty about it.

The bottling companies don't have the same quality standards as municipalities do so the bacteria levels can often be higher then from the tap. The taste may not be the same, but now we have britta and pur water filters so there is really no excuse to buy a plastic sport/camping water bottle and refill it.

Waiting for part 2!

Guest's picture
Tom von S.

I haven't had a drop of tap water since I learned that the commies loaded it with fluoride.

You won't get your red paws on MY bodily fluids, comrade!

Guest's picture

I like to call bottled water Mother Earth's tears.

Guest's picture

I think you bring up some excellent points. While it's true, as someone else noted, that soda, beer, and the like also come in bottles which require time and energy and produce, a soda or beer bottle is, if you will, almost a necessary evil. That is to say, there is almost no other way no drink those. The vast majority of people do not install soda fountains or beer taps in their homes (although I'd sure like to). Water, on the other hand, IS readily available, WITHOUT packaging. So, to add packaging to a product which doesn't require it, yes, that does create quite a bit of un-needed waste. I've never really looked at it that way before. Thanks for the insight. PS: I live in NJ as well. I don't really mind the tap water all that much, but yeah, purified water undeniably tastes better. That's why I bought a Brita pitcher. As with so many problems, "bad water" also has multiple solutions. The first answer to come to mind isn't always the best one, and it's almost never the only one.

Guest's picture

I don't get this comments about how nasty tap water is. If the water has a few chemichals in it and tastes funny, just buy a good filter. We've always done that in my family and our filtered water tastes totally fine.

Guest's picture

A few things:

*Americans are paying for clean potable water through our taxes anyway. Might as well enjoy it.

*Check the source of the water on the bottle's label. I have seen some that state in small lettering that it's essentially tap water.

*Even if it's not tap water, it's certainly not from fiji or whatever glorious paradise the name or pictures conjure. That much is quite clear from just reading the label.

*The FDA monitors bottled water sold over state lines. That is, if it's not crossing state lines it is NOT regulated by the FDA.

*The EPA regulates tap water. As something that the government provides to nearly all of its citizens, the regulations have been much stricter than bottled water sold to consumers.

*I have never seen glass-bottled water in America. All those plastic bottles are incredibly wasteful when the water is already flowing directly into your kitchen for your convenience.

*Of course, there are occassions where bottled water might be a good solution (out on a hike, traveling, etc) but it generally just seems like a bad idea if your tap water is more closely monitored so as to be potable. (And in the US, it is.)

Guest's picture

I read through the article, and I appreciate the logic, but there are some exceptions to be made for bottled water -

For instance, at my office, we play basketball at a court were there is limited access to drinking fountains, which have no filter to remove the taste, as well as give us a "higher quality" of water (see references above about legal limits of pesticides, hormones, chemicals, and healthy limits). Not saying that all bottled water is better than tap water, nor that all bottled water was created equal, but if it makes the consumer feel better about consuming it, than that's their issue.

Additionally, as the commenter from New Jersey stated, America does have the infrastructure, but not all of the infrastructure is that modern, and indeed some of it is less than stellar.

Just some things to think about.

Guest's picture

we have some of the cleanest, best tasting tap water...

i was recently in thailand: since the tap water isn't potable, you can bring a bottle back to refilling station. but in neighboring laos, cambodia and vietnam, the poorer countries, these stations didn't exist. everyone just buys and discards. at least plastic collection (for the deposit money) keeps alot of it out of the water...

Guest's picture

NYC and Chicago DO have great tap water! The places I've lived, not so much. My morning shower smells like the pool at the Y. If you must buy bottles, then at least recycle them, AND hey, wear fleece! It's made from recycled plastic bottles, and buying fleece and other end-products of recycled materials creates a market for recycling, which makes governments want to help us do it. As for eventually recycling the fleece, I'm not so sure. If you drink soda/pop, buy cans...

Guest's picture

I usually buy ONE BOTTLE of water, drink it, and fill it again and again from tap water that has been thru Brita water filter. I use original bottle for several months before finally recycling it.

Andrea Karim's picture

I really appreciate the comments that have been made here. Please note that this is the first article in a series of three.

I'm going to go ahead and address Rabid McRetard here, just in case some of his inbred brethren stop by with similar complaints:

Drinking bottled water is better then drinking coke, beer, or anything else in a can or bottle. Everything you say about water also applies to every drink that comes in a bottle except those drinks take even more processing and consume even more resources. What kind a stupid idiot are you that you can't figure that out? Always remember that if you keep your mouth shut people might think you are an idiot, but when you open it and say something colossally stupid then everybody knows you are an idiot.

Nowhere in my article will you find me encouraging people to go out and purchase Coca Cola in lieu of bottled water. I don't drink much in the way of bottled Coke or Pepsi, BUT of course, they are as damaging to the environment as the plastic bottles used for water.

The difference that I was attempting to point out is that we are shipping in water from other parts of the world, which is wildly inefficient. Because it takes fuel to get it here. What kind of an idiot are you that you can't understand THAT?

Andrea Karim's picture

I'm really happy to hear that bottled water in Germany comes in glass bottles. That's a great thing. Having never been to Europe, I've never seen this, but I admire it. I really wish we would do the same here - but I don't think we will for two reasons.

  1. America is a large, large country, and the added weight of using glass bottles would seriously increase the cost of transporting the water. And anyway, I feel like we shouldn't be transporting it to begin with.
  2. Glass bottles break, and there's nothing we Yanks love more than suing for an injury caused, directly or indirectly, by something manufactured by a large corporation.
Guest's picture

You are misssing some things.

My American tap water:

- Stinks
- Tastes bad
- Looks bad
- Has chemicals in it
- Has hormoes in it (ever wonder what happens to all those birth control pills?)
- Has various drugs in it (no, treatment does not remove some of these)
- etc.

I'm sticking to bottled water and I recycle the bottles.

Guest's picture

1. The tapwater in this country is undrinkable (China).

2. People subsist entirely by collecting empty plastic bottles and returning them for the collection fee, whereupon they are recycled. They feed their entire family by doing this every day.

Besides, if you can afford to buy bottled water, you're greasing the economy. Further (and I know it's frivolous) - Italian water is vastly superior to most others (and comes in glass bottles).

My problem is with the Coca-cola and Nestle "purified" crap. It may not have too much cadmium in it, but really, the price is all profit.

I'm sure America just has a recycling problem, in this case.

Guest's picture

Great post on an important subject. I just wanted to point out something about recycling for those who mentioned it. We often believe that recycling is one of the best things we can do for the environment. Of course, it is extremely important and everyone should make an effort to recycle, but waste prevention is much more effective. The energy used to recycle plastic (or paper...) is also a precious resource. Honestly, I'm not sure how it works, but it requires electricity, fuel and water. The energy spared from not consuming (a plastic bottle in this case, but also paper...) is huge- not buying the plastic bottle saves the energy (and petroleum) of producing, transporting and recycling.
The same goes for much of what we consume. Less is better.

Guest's picture

and my dentist told methat bottled water doesn't have chloride (well some special ones do) so your teeth won;t be as strong as when u drink tap water

Guest's picture

I live here in Vegas, NV and the water is plain nasty and full of crap. Yes the water is clean at plant, but by the time is piped accross town, the water is brown and full of chemicials. I agree we need to do something to help the earth, but doing so right now is a serious risk. I will be drinking bottled water for life. Filter are just as bad a plastic they mak e Millions just like everyone else does.

Guest's picture

Just about every result is in favor of tap, and they're not even covering the negative effects on the environment.

"One of the reasons people choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water is because of the perceived purity of bottled water," the researchers observe, and indeed, 39 samples of bottled water were found to be purer than the tap water. However, 15 samples of bottled water had significantly higher bacteria levels than the tap water. Of these 15, the bacteria counts were more than twice as high as the most contaminated tap water sample and almost 2,000 times higher than the purest tap water sample."

"In our test of bottled waters, Kmart's American Fare -- the cheapest brand -- won. Big-seller Aquafina came in second.

Iceland Spring tied the ordinary tap water for third place. Fifth place went to Poland Spring, and in last place, by far, with almost half the testers saying it tasted bad, was the most expensive water -- the fancy French stuff, Evian."

"Dentists report a dramatic rise in cavities for the first time reversing the trend of decline. One possible reason: bottle water contains no Flouride, which protects teeth; while tap water is usually fluoridated."

Take a blind test of bottled water vs tap. You probably won't notice the difference. I live in northern Virginia and I don't notice any difference between my tap water and Deer Park. Stop wasting your money on bottled water.

And I'm talking to the people who live in the US or Canada. I can understand drinking bottled water if you live in Mexico or China.

Andrea Karim's picture

Last guest: Thank you! Half the bottled water sold out there is just tap water that has been filtered (or not even filtered).

Las Vegas Guest: I spend plenty of time in Las Vegas. Yeah, the water needs filtering. But if you are buying bottled water, well, hell - go ahead. Waste your money. You could save hundreds if you just bought a Brita filter or reverse osmosis system, but if you're really proud of your bottled water consumption, by all means, continue throwing money down the drain.

Andrea Karim's picture

What government program? You mean, municipal water supplies? You DO realize that the water that you buy in the bottle COMES FROM MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLIES, right? Unless it says so specifically on the bottle that your water is from a spring or artesan well, the bottled water you pay a premium for is just filtered tap water. So, not only are you giving the government control over what you drink, but you're paying large corporations more money for bottling the water and then driving it across the country for you.

But hey, if you truly are paranoid about government control, that's fine. Just make sure you're not half-assed about it, OK? Use bottled water to water your lawn, and to bathe. Otherwise, you're still letting the government run your life.

Nice to know that I'm a member of the elite, though. I hadn't received my membership card.

Guest's picture

Andrea, I agree the plastic is bad for the environment, but the water tastes like crap here (San Diego). The water is no better probably in Aquafina, but it is Reverse Osmosis, which takes out all lead, mercury, etc. We did a water tester on tap water vs bottled and the water we were drinking "filtered" (not RO) had a count of minerals (bad minerals) of 255, where Aquafina had a count of 4. For environmentally concious people buying bottled water...I would suggest a Reverse Osmosis system for your home, no plastic and tastes exactly the same as Aquafina.

Andrea Karim's picture

Yikes, those are quite the results! Thanks for the input.

Guest's picture

To call what comes from the taps clean drinking water is... well, not even close to correct. Nothing that you go to the bathroom in, bleed into, fill with toxic chemicals that can NOT be removed ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg, nothing like that can be called 'clean' ... I do not know anyone who drinks tap water... how terrifying... don't you know what's in it? *cringe* ... oh, and that flouride they add... it's not the kind that makes teeth stronger and anyone who says so is telling you a lie, they're not the same chemical at all... what is in the water is a waste product, not a health aid.

Guest's picture

Recently I have been doing some research on the debate over bottled water vs. tap water. Public water sources are often not as safe as they appear. In attempting to comply with EPA regulations, municipalities infuse the water supply with toxic chemicals like chlorine to kill pathogens, fluoride to prevent tooth decay, and lye to prevent corrosion of the pipes that distribute water to our homes. Many health experts believe that even low levels of these poisons are responsible for a long list of chronic disease, including cancer, acid reflux, and skin ailments. Most home filtration systems remove only odors and particulate matter, which makes the water look and smell better, but do not remove most chemicals. Water filters do not make tap water significantly safer to drink. To find out what’s in your public tap water, visit the Environmental Working Group’s web site (

The primary concerns of those against bottled water are false advertising and the environmental impact of unrecycled bottles. In states like Maine, where a mandatory bottle redemption program includes water bottles, more than 80 percent of plastic bottles get returned and recycled into new products. In states without bottle redemption programs, more than 80 percent of bottles end up in landfills. Ask your legislators to support the Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act of 2007. In my opinion, drinking bottled spring water is a healthier choice than tap water, and it is fine as long as the bottles get recycled.

Guest's picture

My thing is theat buying the water promotes good health in my case. I buy 20 bottles for 4 dollars and its in the back of my car so im always drinking water.

Guest's picture

Bottled Water is a prime example of the power of Marketing.

Guest's picture

they put fluoride in the drinking water and fluoride is very harmful for health! SOME (not all) bottled waters filter the fluoride out. as far as i'm concerned that's the best reason to buy bottled water (especially for babies. there is even fluoride in baby water and it's very harmful!! how crazy is that??!!) do ur own research people

Guest's picture

I atcually like my bottled water, and i know your probaly a big JOHN MUIR fan an what not, but just let us enjoy our lives whether it hurts the earth or not.

Guest's picture

Your "bottled water" is TAP WATER + HUGE PROFIT to the company who SUCKERED YOU!

Guest's picture

I live in Florida in an area served by a private water co-op. Our water comes from wells and us purified using reverse osmosis. This is about as close as you can come to distilled water, in other words, PURE. When we first moved here we noticed that the cat's water bowl NEVER got slimy, no matter how many days between washings. Point is, great water, and no funny taste like much of Florida water has. So into the house across the street moves an ex-cop and his girlfriend a few years ago. They and their dogs ONLY drink bottled water, despite my explanation of how good our water is. After a year or so of living here, the recycling truck accidentally missed picking up their bin one week. Though I offered to phone the county and have it picked up before the day was over, they have NEVER RECYCLED SINCE THEN! Every week, three to four large trash bags full of plastic bottles go into the dump from these two idiots alone! If I could just be given James Bond's license for just one day.....

Guest's picture

Now i know why our planet is being TOTALLY ruined. THANKKS TO YOU! Some people just don't care! Your talking about Global warming and other HUGE economic problems like they have NOTHING to do with you (some people! THAT IS SO WRONG! As for "enjoying the stuff adn life even if it harms the earth" person, YOU SUCK. You think it won't affect you?! You think that it won't effect you or your little possy because you don't want it to? How about your friends or family? DON'T YOU EVEN CARE? If we continue to heat up the world with Global Warming, the sea levels will rise DRASTICALLY which means drowning out most of CHINA, INDIA, AFRICA and other small islands. MILLIONS of people will die, MILLIONS of people will be homeless and will have to move... to the countries that havn't been water logged! You OBLIVIOUS SENSLESS people who think that Global warming is some kind of joke and are sucking up Stephen Harpers words, REALLY got to see the movie "The Inconvenient Truth" and Smarten up. It's the truth, so deal with it adn take charge.

Guest's picture

I also found a GREAT way to save the environment by using filtered water bottles, I love the NEW stainless steel from they carry a great line of filtered water bottles that adjust to your budget.. from $15 to $35, and you can use this great bottles over 3months or MORE, then just replace the filter and re-use them again... GREAT for the environment, and also for ON THE GO!!! :)

They are BPA Free and also donate $1 to Earth Share Foundation.

Guest's picture

I would love to buy water in glass bottles. Shame water companies don't start water stations - you turn up with your glass bottles, you fill up, pay and go. I've seen it done with wine - why not water?