What’s in your drinking water?August 23rd, 2023 | Water and Taste
Milin Patel – Water Sommelier and ambassador for LUQEL is back to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different drinking water sources.
As a water consultant, water sommelier and advocate for safe and reliable tap water worldwide, I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding the diverse water sources available to us.
Making informed decisions when it comes to drinking water is not only crucial for our individual health but also for the well-being of the environment. This blog will delve into the various types of water and the water treatment techniques employed to ensure great drinking water. We will look at how these processes work, and how they directly impact the safety and purity of the water, as well as the financial and environmental cost.
Throughout the blog, we will discuss the merits and drawbacks of various water options available in the market today. These include filtered jug water, bottled water, bottled mineral water, processed tap water sold in plastic bottles, and drinking water dispensers. Each of these options comes with its unique characteristics, and understanding their differences will empower you to make a more educated choice that aligns with your health and environmental concerns.
Tap water is the primary source of drinking water for the majority of the global population. The treatment of tap water involves a multi-step process that includes coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection, and distribution. Municipal water treatment plants ensure that the water supplied to our homes meets strict safety standards set by regulatory authorities. In the majority of developed countries tap water is more regulated than bottled waters. Having access to clean drinking tap water within 30 seconds is a remarkable privilege. Tap water is treated to meet stringent quality standards, offers unparalleled convenience, safety, and sustainability, and plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. .
Tap water can contain various essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and small amounts of trace elements like zinc and copper. These minerals contribute to the water’s taste and have health benefits, helping to promote strong bones, they support our natural electrolyte balance and overall well-being.
However, when it comes to taste some individuals may not like the chlorine that is added to the water to combat microbiological growth.
Filtered Jug Water
A jug filter is a very popular way of improving the taste of tap water. Filtered jug water is tap water that passes through a filtration system within a pitcher. The filters are usually activated carbon which should remove chlorine, and larger impurities such as lead, and some bacteria.
The benefits of filtered jug water include improved taste, odour, and the removal of certain contaminants. However, it may not eliminate all impurities. There is also research that shows that if the filter isn’t changed regularly, it can in fact increase the number of bacteria in your water, rather than reduce it. Then of course is the need to disposal of the spent filter cartridges environmentally, as most have a plastic outer-casing.
Bottled Mineral Water
Natural water (such as spring water) is sourced directly from the earth, offering a unique blend of natural mineral salts, which can be beneficial to health. However, it may vary in quality depending on the location and it may also be exposed to potential contaminants, such as micro plastics or pesticides.
Mineral Water Brands
The dominance of big bottle brands has significantly shaped our perception of water. These companies invest heavily in marketing and branding, leading consumers to associate certain tastes and qualities with their products. People buy into not just the taste that comes from the mineral source, but also the lifestyle that the brand portrays. The trouble with all bottled water though is the carbon footprint of the product. You are in essence transporting filled bottles of water across the world, as well as using plastic, glass or a carton in which to transport it.
Processed Tap Water Sold in Plastic Bottles
Drinking highly processed tap water sold in plastic bottles like SMART water results can be seen to waste a significant amount resources. The process of purifying and bottling tap water requires substantial energy inputs for filtration, purification, bottling, and transportation. Additionally, a substantial amount of water is wasted during the purification process, which further strains water resources, especially in regions facing water scarcity and environmental challenges. This inefficient use of energy and water resources further reinforces the argument against consuming highly processed tap water in plastic bottles.
In recent years, alkaline water has gained popularity due to claims that it can help regulate body pH and provide numerous health benefits. However, many experts argue that the human body has sophisticated mechanisms to regulate its pH level and that consuming alkaline water does not significantly impact the body’s pH balance. Instead, a balanced and healthy diet plays a more critical role in maintaining pH equilibrium.
Standard Water Dispensers
Water dispensers are commonly used in offices, public spaces and the home. They can provide both chilled and hot water. The water supplied to dispensers is taken from the municipal supply, which has gone through the normal water treatments. The water dispenser then often has an active carbon filter, which removes the taste of chlorine and other impurities, such as some bacteria and herbicides. Dispensers reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles, promoting environmental sustainability for water on the go.
LUQEL is a cutting-edge water purification and enhancement system. It employs advanced filtration techniques, including reverse osmosis, activated carbon, and UV purification. The filtration removes most known impurities, but also the smallest impurities, such as nano-plastics and viruses LUQEL’s innovation lies in its ability to customise water according to individual preferences, optimising mineral content and carbonation level to suit specific tastes and the drinking water experience . This technology promotes focused hydration with personalised, safe, and delicious water without contributing to plastic waste.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Water Source
- Benefits: Easily accessible, affordable, and meets current safety standards.
- Drawbacks: Taste and quality can vary depending on the location, pipes of the distribution network and pipework in home, some people may prefer additional filtration. Often has chlorine added to combat bacterial and biofilm growth.
Filtered Jug Water:
- Benefits: Improved taste and odour, with the removal of some impurities from tap water.
- Drawbacks: Limited filtration, cost of exchanging filter cartridges and reduced capabilities of retaining all essential minerals.
- Benefits: Convenient and readily available for on-the-go consumption.
- Drawbacks: Environmental concerns due to plastic waste and energy-intensive production, higher cost, and potential microplastics released into the water from the packaging.
Bottled Mineral Water:
- Benefits: Refreshing taste and natural mineral content.
- Drawbacks: Environmental impact and higher cost compared to tap water. Cost of packaging, branding, transporting and chilling, plus potential micro-plastics released into the water from packaging
Processed Tap Water Sold in Plastic Bottles:
- It has no benefits: unless it is the only source of water available for your immediate hydration purposes.
- Drawbacks: Lack of natural mineral content, cost and environmental impact of plastic and the huge amount of energy required to filter or distil the tap water that has already undergone treatment.
- Benefits: Convenient, safe, and reduce plastic bottle waste.
- Drawbacks: Initial setup costs and maintenance requirements, doesn’t get rid of smaller impurities such as viruses, pharmaceuticals, heavy-metals, micro and nano plastics.
- Benefits: Cutting-edge technology, personalised hydration, reduced plastic waste.Removal of viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, micro and nao-plastics
- Drawbacks: Initial investment cost and availability in certain regions.
Understanding the various sources of water we consume is essential for making informed choices about our hydration. Tap water, when treated properly, can be a safe and reliable source of drinking water, supplemented with beneficial minerals. Filtered jug water and water dispensers offer practical solutions for improved taste and safety, with reduced plastic waste.
While bottled water and bottled mineral water provide convenience and taste, their environmental impact should not be underestimated. LUQEL stands out as a revolutionary water technology that addresses many concerns related to experiencing hydration, personalisation, and sustainability.
As water advocates, let us promote responsible water consumption that provided experiences.
Written by Milin Patel