Drinking water price craziness

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Mudpuppy
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:06 pm

I'd second the recommendations to filter it yourself. I'm in a part of California with several ground water contaminants, but a double-pass over activated carbon is sufficient to deal with those particular contaminants. In fact, the water company's method of dealing with the new state mandates to control the levels of one contaminant is to install activated carbon filters on the affected wells (and then double our rates over the period of 3 years to pay for it). There are some contaminants which activated carbon cannot remove, but your district's water quality report should outline what contaminants are of concern in your area.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:26 pm

azurekep wrote:
The Dan wrote: Turns out Aquafina water is pH 5, which I found surprisingly low.
That's amazing. I'm not sure how they can get away with calling that water.

If you're going to drink something with a pH 5, you might as well drink something fun like beer. :P

Okay, so beer is more like 3.5 - 4, but still...
I'd bet that Aquafina is softened using an ion replacement method that generates excess hydrogen. This will lower the pH, along with softening the water, since higher hydrogen concentrations result in lower pH values (the pH scale measures the concentration of hydrogen).

Brita pitcher filters operate the same way, or at least they did many years ago. I used to keep a Brita pitcher around just to cheaply make softer, more acidic water for my peat-bog fish, but then decided it was too difficult to keep peat-bog fish when the municipal water is coming from limestone aquifers. I switched over to rift-lake cichlids and tropical fish that are happy in high pH, high hardness water.

Angelus359
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Angelus359 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:01 pm

I use a zerowater pitcher.

Comes with a tds meter
Shows 000 on filtered and 180 on unfiltered
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Always passive
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Always passive » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:20 pm

Just get a quality filter and filter tap water at home. You can accomplish the same for less money. A reverse osmosis (RO) filter combined with a carbon (or other type) filter are nowadays standard. I installed the system in my kitchen under the sink and have a company come and change it annual for about $50. I could do it myself for less money but I am lazy.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by weltschmerz » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:48 pm

vitaflo wrote:
The Dan wrote:Turns out Aquafina water is pH 5, which I found surprisingly low.
This doesn't surprise me. A long time ago we used some extra Aquafina to fill a small fish tank (with one small fish). The fish died shortly thereafter. Never drank Aquafina again.
I just pHed some water from Crystal Geyser, the result is pH = 7. This will be me new go-to botted water.

One thing I didn't see mentioned yet is the cleanliness factor. I like buying botted water (for drinking away from home) because I know they are clean, and when I'm done they go in the recycle bin. I have had reusable bottles in the past, but they get funky and moldy. Yes I could clean them more often but it's a PITA. Where I live water is a scarce resource, so using a gallon of fresh water to thoroughly clean a bottle may not be the best thing.

Back to the OP's concern about toxic metals, if you just want something simple to drink at work using a mug, seems like one of these $40 Brita dispensers is the way to go:
Image

azurekep
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by azurekep » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:07 pm

It seems the choice is between Zerowater and Brita for portable filtration. I had a nifty chart comparing the two but can't find it. Zerowater came out ahead in numbers and levels of contaminants removed.

I'll have to look into the ins and outs and economics of using one of these units vs buying gallon-water jugs at the store. Being lazy, I like the simplicity of just walking into a store and picking up a jug. There's no thinking involved and no wondering if a filter is still good. But I still don't have any idea which product is "better" -- the purified water or the mountain spring. The lower pH of the purified water is a minus, however, so I will stick with the mountain spring for the time being.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by weltschmerz » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:22 pm

azurekep wrote:I'll have to look into the ins and outs and economics of using one of these units vs buying gallon-water jugs at the store. Being lazy, I like the simplicity of just walking into a store and picking up a jug.
One thing in favor of filtering the water yourself is that there is less time for bad stuff to leach out of the plastic into the water. A few years ago, I decided to stockpile about 30 gallons of water in case of emergency. I bought a bunch of the 2.5-gallon whitish plastic containers full of Arrowhead water, like this:

Image

After about 2-3 years of storage in a cool indoor location, I decided to crack one open and check the water quality...it was undrinkable! It had a strong, nasty plastic taste. Granted, it took several years to develop that taste, but I assume there is some constant rate of leaching, even if you can't taste it yet.

The filter pitchers (like the Brita or Zerowater) seem to be made of a different type of plastic, so maybe they are less prone to leaching.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:59 pm

azurekep wrote:It seems the choice is between Zerowater and Brita for portable filtration. I had a nifty chart comparing the two but can't find it. Zerowater came out ahead in numbers and levels of contaminants removed.
There is also the Pur brand. The Pur dispenser has a high enough capacity that I only have to refill it every other day, which I prefer over the smaller pitchers. I prefer the shape of Pur's dispenser (long and narrow) as it fits better in the fridge than Brita's. It looks like Zerowater may have a similar long and narrow design to their dispenser, but it has a push-button spout which is probably why I skipped it. I have an elderly relative with arthritic hands staying with me and a lever is more accessible than a push-button.

Here's a little tip: Storing the dispenser/pitcher in the fridge cuts down on the "funkiness" that The Dan mentioned as the cold inhibits mold growth. Also with respect to the funkiness, consider the fact that your pipes or the water tube to a fridge water dispenser never gets changed.... washing a pitcher every couple of months when you change the filter isn't quite so odd.

I also use dishwasher-safe water bottles to refill from the pitcher. They go in the dishwasher just like a glass or mug would, which keeps the funkiness under control for the water bottles.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by acanthurus » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:25 pm

Removed
Last edited by acanthurus on Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

virgingorda
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by virgingorda » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:33 am

munemaker wrote: The convenience is: If I decide to go for say, a 3 mile walk on a warm day. I grab a cold bottle of water from the fridge (I don't have to fill a bottle). When the bottle is consumed on my walk, I can just dispose of it in an appropriate public waste container and not carry it home with me. When arriving home, I don't have to clean it. That is a summary of the convenience to me. Admittedly small convenience, but also small price.
It costs energy and chemicals to make plastic bottles. It costs energy to transport heavy cases of water in fossil-fuel powered trucks. Recycling plastic is not cost free-either. So there is a cost for ones convenience.

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munemaker
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by munemaker » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:20 am

virgingorda wrote:
munemaker wrote: The convenience is: If I decide to go for say, a 3 mile walk on a warm day. I grab a cold bottle of water from the fridge (I don't have to fill a bottle). When the bottle is consumed on my walk, I can just dispose of it in an appropriate public waste container and not carry it home with me. When arriving home, I don't have to clean it. That is a summary of the convenience to me. Admittedly small convenience, but also small price.
It costs energy and chemicals to make plastic bottles. It costs energy to transport heavy cases of water in fossil-fuel powered trucks. Recycling plastic is not cost free-either. So there is a cost for ones convenience.
Not sure what your point is. Of course there is a cost. That's what this thread is about...the price of bottled drinking water and is it worth it. When I buy a case of bottled water, I am paying for the cost of energy and chemicals to make the bottles and transport the bottles of water, and pay the merchant who sells them. The amazing thing is these costs are pretty low. I recently bought cases of water for 10 cents per bottle. That's a pretty small price for convenience.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:30 am

munemaker wrote:
virgingorda wrote:
munemaker wrote: The convenience is: If I decide to go for say, a 3 mile walk on a warm day. I grab a cold bottle of water from the fridge (I don't have to fill a bottle). When the bottle is consumed on my walk, I can just dispose of it in an appropriate public waste container and not carry it home with me. When arriving home, I don't have to clean it. That is a summary of the convenience to me. Admittedly small convenience, but also small price.
It costs energy and chemicals to make plastic bottles. It costs energy to transport heavy cases of water in fossil-fuel powered trucks. Recycling plastic is not cost free-either. So there is a cost for ones convenience.
Not sure what your point is. Of course there is a cost. That's what this thread is about...the price of bottled drinking water and is it worth it. When I buy a case of bottled water, I am paying for the cost of energy and chemicals to make the bottles and transport the bottles of water, and pay the merchant who sells them. The amazing thing is these costs are pretty low. I recently bought cases of water for 10 cents per bottle. That's a pretty small price for convenience.
I think virgingorda was also referring to the non-financial, but significant, long-term costs of all of the plastic and transportation involved in moving water around. I read the book "The Big Thirst" last year and it certainly does change one's perspective on how we use water in the USA compared to other parts of the world.

But let's go purely financial. The cost for a dispenser pitcher (Pur, Brita, or Purewater) is around $30. A three-pack of pitcher filters is also around $30 and each filter lasts about 2 months / 40 gallons. So your total first year cost for a simple pitcher filter is around $90 and that will filter about 240 gallons of water, at a price of $0.375/gallon. The second year is just filters, so $60 for the year, at a price of $0.25/gallon.

Assuming your $0.10 bottle case was a case of 500mL bottles, that means each bottle was 0.132 gallons, for a cost of $0.758/gallon. You're paying almost 3x as much for the convenience of not filtering it yourself. Now, if your water has contaminants which cannot be easily filtered by home filtration systems, like lead, this price makes sense. Safety comes first. But if your water has contaminants that can be adsorbed by activated carbon, it's quite the sticker shock to sit down and figure out just how much the convenience of bottled water is costing you over filtering it yourself.

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munemaker
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by munemaker » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:09 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
munemaker wrote:
virgingorda wrote:
munemaker wrote: The convenience is: If I decide to go for say, a 3 mile walk on a warm day. I grab a cold bottle of water from the fridge (I don't have to fill a bottle). When the bottle is consumed on my walk, I can just dispose of it in an appropriate public waste container and not carry it home with me. When arriving home, I don't have to clean it. That is a summary of the convenience to me. Admittedly small convenience, but also small price.
It costs energy and chemicals to make plastic bottles. It costs energy to transport heavy cases of water in fossil-fuel powered trucks. Recycling plastic is not cost free-either. So there is a cost for ones convenience.
Not sure what your point is. Of course there is a cost. That's what this thread is about...the price of bottled drinking water and is it worth it. When I buy a case of bottled water, I am paying for the cost of energy and chemicals to make the bottles and transport the bottles of water, and pay the merchant who sells them. The amazing thing is these costs are pretty low. I recently bought cases of water for 10 cents per bottle. That's a pretty small price for convenience.
I think virgingorda was also referring to the non-financial, but significant, long-term costs of all of the plastic and transportation involved in moving water around. I read the book "The Big Thirst" last year and it certainly does change one's perspective on how we use water in the USA compared to other parts of the world.

But let's go purely financial. The cost for a dispenser pitcher (Pur, Brita, or Purewater) is around $30. A three-pack of pitcher filters is also around $30 and each filter lasts about 2 months / 40 gallons. So your total first year cost for a simple pitcher filter is around $90 and that will filter about 240 gallons of water, at a price of $0.375/gallon. The second year is just filters, so $60 for the year, at a price of $0.25/gallon.

Assuming your $0.10 bottle case was a case of 500mL bottles, that means each bottle was 0.132 gallons, for a cost of $0.758/gallon. You're paying almost 3x as much for the convenience of not filtering it yourself. Now, if your water has contaminants which cannot be easily filtered by home filtration systems, like lead, this price makes sense. Safety comes first. But if your water has contaminants that can be adsorbed by activated carbon, it's quite the sticker shock to sit down and figure out just how much the convenience of bottled water is costing you over filtering it yourself.
We do use a Brita dispenser pitcher for water we drink at home. We use bottled water only outside the home.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by sport » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:13 am

Now, if you want to get serious about bottled water, this is what you need:
https://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signatu ... 44425.html

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by azurekep » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:31 am

acanthurus wrote:The pH of distilled, deionized, or reverse osmosis water is of no real importance. There is virtually nothing in the water except for a trace amount of carbonic acid, formed when the water came into contact a little bit of CO2 in the air. Because the filtering process removed all the buffering agents in the water, you could breathe across the top of a glass of the stuff and the pH would plummet. In chem lab in college the pH of the deionized water was around 4.5 - and it was exceptionally pure except for some dissolved CO2. If you added a single granule of baking soda to a liter of it, it would shoot up to neutral. So even if the pH is acidic, there is no "strength" behind that acidity. It's not like a highly buffered acidic solution or a concentrated solution of a weak acid with that pH. Those would be bad for you, much in the way soda is bad for your teeth (much more concentrated carbonic and phosphoric acid). Purified water just gets it's pH pushed around super easily because there's nothing in it to maintain any kind of stable pH. It's basically fine, although remineralized purified water is probably better for you.

Interesting. Thanks for the explanation.

The purified, so-called "drinking water" (as opposed to distilled water) available in stores where I live does have minerals added for taste. So the purified water I tested as having a pH of 6 is remineralized.

Since I'm really pretty indifferent to the taste of water, I'd be willing to drink mineralized or nonmineralized water as long as it met my other demands. It's good to know though that the mineralized water is more pH-stable. If I measure the pH at a certain level, I can be sure that it stays at that level and won't jump around due to air currents or whatever. :) (This assumes I understood everything correctly.)

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by daveydoo » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:39 pm

mhalley wrote:Distillation also removes the good stuff from water.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/37247 ... led-water/
So I checked on this since I have an interest in water. Livestrong cites a WHO report. WHO is pretty respectable so I looked over the actual report. There is nothing to suggest that removing the good stuff makes water "worse." It starts off by explaining that magnesium and calcium are important and that deficiencies in the body cause problems. Of course. It then goes on to address the presence or absence of any public health implications were a region to switch entirely to distilled water (the contributors are from Israel and Dubai, etc., where this type of thing happens). And there is no real conclusion. It's worth noting that the USRDA for magnesium and calcium are like 400 and 1000 mg, respectively. And drinking water has maybe 10 - 20 mg/liter of these things. So you'd need to drink ten liters of the stuff to meaningfully impact your daily "mineral" intake.
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by JaneyLH » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:48 pm

dm200 wrote:I refuse, in almost all situations, to use bottled water. I believe that tap water, in 99%+ locations is just as safe (or safer) than bottled water.
Unless you live in my municipality where unsafe levels of cyanide are routinely reported. PH levels are way down my list of concerns.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Angelus359 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:32 am

My area has unsafe levels of lead

So... Zerowater it is
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takeshi
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by takeshi » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 am

hicabob wrote:Years ago at mega-corp I used to work next to a friend's chem lab and he had high quality distilled water on tap. It was OK for coffee but not very pleasant to drink straight.
Interesting. General recommendation with coffee is that water should ideally have a small amount of minerals.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:45 am

Angelus359 wrote:My area has unsafe levels of lead

So... Zerowater it is
Lead is one of those contaminants where it can be wiser to use bottled water instead of treating it yourself. Personally, I would test the treated water to make sure the home filter is removing the contaminant in that situation. There are home tests for lead or you can send it off to an independent water testing laboratory.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:17 am

Consider the effect on the environment/nature when buying water bottles. One can always use a reusable water bottle and a kitchen sink filter at home for similar quality water.

If you're concerned about your municipality's water, each is required to publish an annual report with independent tests.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Angelus359 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:51 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:45 am
Angelus359 wrote:My area has unsafe levels of lead

So... Zerowater it is
Lead is one of those contaminants where it can be wiser to use bottled water instead of treating it yourself. Personally, I would test the treated water to make sure the home filter is removing the contaminant in that situation. There are home tests for lead or you can send it off to an independent water testing laboratory.
Zerowater filters are built for lead, and come with an electronic meter for measuring contaminate levels

Lowered my tds value from 184 to 0
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bberris
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by bberris » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:26 pm

Expensive bottled water is strictly a US thing. In Italy and France, a 1 L bottle costs less than 25 c at the grocery store, even the neighborhood minimarts. The fact that people will pay high prices is due to what economists call an inverse-demand curve. The higher the price, the more people want it. And the reason for that is obvious. It makes them feel special.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by avalpert » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:06 pm

bberris wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:26 pm
Expensive bottled water is strictly a US thing. In Italy and France, a 1 L bottle costs less than 25 c at the grocery store, even the neighborhood minimarts. The fact that people will pay high prices is due to what economists call an inverse-demand curve. The higher the price, the more people want it. And the reason for that is obvious. It makes them feel special.
That is not what an inverse-demand curve is - an inverse-demand curve is when you flip the x/y-axis (instead of describing price as a function of quantity you describe quantity as a function of price).

What you are describing is elasticity/inelasticity of demand - which can be relative to price or income. If the demand increases when income increases it is called a luxury good, when demand increases with price increases it is called a Veblen good.

As I recall, there is evidence that bottled water is a luxury good, but I don't believe it behaves as a Veblen good.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:39 pm

Angelus359 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:51 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:45 am
Angelus359 wrote:My area has unsafe levels of lead

So... Zerowater it is
Lead is one of those contaminants where it can be wiser to use bottled water instead of treating it yourself. Personally, I would test the treated water to make sure the home filter is removing the contaminant in that situation. There are home tests for lead or you can send it off to an independent water testing laboratory.
Zerowater filters are built for lead, and come with an electronic meter for measuring contaminate levels

Lowered my tds value from 184 to 0
A TDS meter does not measure for lead. As noted on https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/r ... d-in-water
Can a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter be used to detect lead in drinking water?

No. There have been some misconceptions around TDS Meters. These meters cannot measure lead specifically; they detect the conductivity directly related to the concentration of combined total dissolved solids such as minerals, salts and metals. The typical sample of tap water in the U.S. contains approximately 350 parts per million (ppm) of TDS,3 which, as a whole does not on its own indicate a health concern and in many cases is used as a means to enhance taste of water. Lead concentration is found 1000 times lower at the parts per billion (ppb) level, and is too small to be detected without sophisticated instrumentation. Moreover, because TDS meters don’t measure individual ions, lead cannot be detected on its own.

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pfrank
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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by pfrank » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:26 am

Lead in drinking water comes from old lead service lines, old fixtures, or newer cheap Chinese fixtures. It happens when the drinking water is corrosive. That is what happened in Flint. They changed the water source but did not properly adjust the pH of the water. It caused lead to leach from the old lead sevice lines.

When you read your annual Consumer Confidence Report from your water supplier it will provide sampling results. The sampling results for lead are from samples taken at people's homes throughout the area. It will also provide results for other contaminants as well.

Filtered water (like Aquafina) is actually municipal drinking water run through reverse osmosis. In fact, Aquafina water around where I live is actually sourced from the Town of Ayer, MA. If it doesn't say spring water it is most likely tap water.

Don't forget, EPA only regulates municipal drinking water. It does not regulate bottled water, the FDA does.

In the end most people are paying a lot of money for bottled tap water.

You need to watch out for the home water filters for two reasons: one breakthrough because the filter is old and "used up" and two they can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by azurekep » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:07 am

pfrank wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:26 am

If it doesn't say spring water it is most likely tap water.


That's really what I was getting at with this thread. The "purified water" available at supermarkets is tap water that has been purified by RO and/or distillation. I accept that and in the past it has been less expensive than the water sourced from springs. That seems reasonable.

And yet, there have been stories about spring water. There have been benzene, uranium and other additives/contaminants in "spring water" that have made the news or at least the rumor mill.

So one has to wonder, if spring water is suddenly cheaper than purified water, has the source of the spring water suddenly turned bad?

Or is this just a weird supply and demand thing going on?

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by BW1985 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:22 am

I think it's just Marketing and Branding. Dasani, Aquafina, Absopure, etc. are all purified bottled waters. Ice Mountain is a spring water but because of marketing some people probably choose the other brands even if they cost more.

Personally I just use a Berkey water filter at home and fill my Takeya glass travel bottles for the road. There's really no need to buy bottled water on a regular basis.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:51 am

The real marketing and branding fad currently is in "enhanced" water. Basically, start with RO/DI water, then add back certain minerals, electrolytes, and/or vitamins. Tout how healthy it is and sell for a significant markup. Originally, enhanced water was limited to flavored water marketed as soda substitutes, but it's becoming its own thing now, particularly with flavor-free versions.

I was traveling the other week in a region where I didn't care for the tap water taste (normally I just use a portable carbon filter when traveling). The chilled water section of the corner market was full of various brands of flavor-free enhanced water. The plain old bottled water was in the bottom back corner of the section and was half the price of the enhanced brands.

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Re: Drinking water price craziness

Post by Wakefield1 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:22 pm

I believe that a certain International large food company/conglomerate has been acquiring bottled water brands and supply sources and perhaps trying to dominate the business.

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