Despite a few spring rains that have helped ease drought conditions in Texas, residents should still consider conserving water in all they do, because the world’s most important resource is not getting any more plentiful. Austin remains a candidate for future “water stress,” and so in honor of World Water Day (March 22) here are some uncomfortable facts about how we abuse water and could run short of it.
Ready to banish the plastic water bottle? You can choose to drink water straight from the tap, which the federal government says is largely safe, or you can filter that tap water for contaminants and chemicals, and to freshen the taste.
If you choose to filter you be joining an apparent migration away from disposable bottled water to more efficient home filtering. The estimated revenue for the water-filter pitcher/carafe market last year was $183 million (excluding Walmart), a 24 percent growth rate since 2005, according to one research group.
There are at least a dozen systems to choose from, starting with market-leader Brita (owned by Clorox), which has dominated the water-filter pitcher market in the U.S. for years, and including number two seller, PUR, and an array of other big and boutique brands. All offer a variety of styles, safeguards, bells and whistles.
Here are the highlights of 12 brands on the market:
It’s no secret Americans are suckers for convenience. Consider how we’re losing the ability to make our own coffee. Or the fact that there are 2.8 cup holders per passenger in U.S.-made cars.
Of course what we’re putting in those cup holders may prove to be the most successful of convenience gambits, the plastic bottle of water. Once we got water from wells and then the tap; now we have factories bottle it up, package it, truck it around and then sell it to us. But you know that story.
Here’s a new one: That clear plastic marvel of modern marketing probably contains nothing much more than plain old tap water from somewhere that may or may not have been filtered as well as the water you could get from your own tap.
At the risk of sounding like Joe Biden, let’s say that again: It may or may not have been filtered as well as your own tap water.
That’s the gist of findings by the Environmental Working Group, which decided to look behind the “image of purity” promoted by bottled water sellers by lab testing water samples from ten common brands of bottled water.