A few months ago, on World Water Day, I saw Stephen Colbert’s show dedicated to Water. Colbert Report, March 20, 2008
Regardless of the opinion you may have of him as a comedian or on his political views, he made some very valid points and had some very interesting interviews. Please visit Water is Life on Colbert to view some of the videos; especially thirst locally – drink globally and Visit to the American Museum of Natural History is extremely interesting (more info on this exhibit can be found here Exhibition H2O=Life)
Clean, plentiful water is not always available where and when it’s needed. Indeed, water shortages and pollution threaten individuals, communities and countries around the globe. But many water problems also have solutions. From households to huge cities, elected officials to entrepreneurs, everyone has a role to play in protecting Earth’s water.
How much water do people use each day?
573 liters (151 gallons) per person per day U.S., average domestic and municipal use
118 liters (31 gallons) per person per day United Kingdom, average domestic and municipal use
10 liters (3 gallons) per person per day Ethiopia, average domestic and municipal use
People in the U.S. and Canada use much more water than residents of most other countries. In the U.K. and most other European countries, people live more water-efficient lifestyles. Most Ethiopians, like many others in the developing world, can’t get enough water to ensure basic health and sanitation.
Message in a Bottle
The average North American in 2005 consumed about 80 liters (21 gallons) of bottled water. Globally, consumption nearly doubled between 1997 and 2005, and the U.S. is the largest total consumer of bottled water. Manufacturing all those bottles uses a lot of water—twice as much as the bottles contain. Worldwide, over 2.7 million tons of plastic are used for water bottles, but in the U.S. only about 20 percent of the bottles are recycled. The total estimated energy needed to make, transport and dispose of one bottle of water is equivalent to filling the plastic bottle one-quarter full of oil.
People often choose bottled water assuming it’s safer than tap water, and perhaps imagining it comes from a pristine mountain spring. Most bottled water is safe-but so is the municipal water that is the source of an estimated 40 percent of U.S. bottled water. About 25% of bottled water sold is simply re-processed/used municipal(city) water according to a 1999 study in the United States. Both Aquafina from Pepsi-Cola Company and Dasani from The Coca-Cola Company are reprocessed from municipal water systems.  Some bottled waters, such as Penta Water make unverified health benefit claims. While there have been few comprehensive studies, one analysis several years ago found that about 22 percent of brands that were tested contain, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. If consumed over a long period of time, some of these contaminants could cause cancer or other health problems at rates higher than those considered tolerable by the regulatory body setting the standards. In addition, 60 to 70 percent of all bottled water in the U.S. is packaged and sold in a state that is not regulated by the FDA
If you want to carry water with you, why not get a reusable bottle and refill it at the tap?
By the Numbers
Average price of tap water in the U.S. = less than $.01 a gallon
Average price of bottled water in the U.S. = about $10 a gallon
More on Bottled Water on Wikipedia