Reasons to drink tap water from AWWA

In an age when many people pay $1.50 for 20 ounces of bottled water, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) this week is reminding people of the value of tap water by distributing bottles that provide "Reasons to Fill This Bottle With Tap Water."

Reasons include:

  1. Free refills at participating faucets
  2. Refill vs. Landfill?
  3. No carbs: Go ahead and supersize it
  4. Undergoes more testing than professional athletes

An expanded list of reasons is provided at AWWA's consumer Web site,

"It's ironic that people will pay so much money for bottled water but sometimes resist small increases to pay for critical tap water service," said Jack W. Hoffbuhr, AWWA executive director. "These reasons we're putting forth to fill up on tap water are obviously humorous, but we hope they also remind people about the incredible value of tap water. It keeps us healthy and hydrated, protects us from fires, sustains our economy and provides a high quality of life. No other water does that. National Drinking Water Week is a good time to think outside the bottle."

Several hundred of the bottles are being distributed on the streets of Denver and San Francisco during National Drinking Water Week, May 1-7, 2005. An accompanying sheet provides further explanation of the "Reasons to Fill This Bottle With Tap Water." It reads in part:

Free refills at participating faucets: For the budget conscious, tap water is the "fiscally responsible" beverage. In this age of bottled water, people often pay $1.50 for a single 20-ounce bottle. The same $1.50 would buy you about 4,800 20-ounce servings of tap water -- without the bottle, of course. That's a 20-ounce serving of refreshing tap water each day for more than 13 years.

Refill vs. Landfill? According to the Container Recycling Institute, the number of units of bottled water sold in the United States grew from 3.3 billion in 1997 to 19.7 billion in 2003, an increase of 500 percent. Nationwide, only one out of every ten plastic water bottles sold is recycled. The rest end up in a landfill or as litter. Enough said.

No carbs: Go ahead and supersize it: You'll hear a lot of debate on what contributes to obesity, what leads to physical fitness and whose diet is right for you. But one fact is undeniable: In a world of sugary soft drinks, drinking refreshing tap water every day keeps you healthy and hydrated.

Undergoes more testing than professional athletes: It doesn't come with a fancy label, but when it comes to quality, tap water more than measures up to the competition. U.S. EPA regulates 87 contaminants and requires monitoring for 60 additional substances. States and municipalities have additional requirements.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.