Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Drink Tap Water for Your Health … and Wealth!

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but sometime over the past decade or so, the general population of this country formed a belief that bottled water is better than tap — safer and healthier, too. It is easy to figure out where this idea originated. It was with bottled water suppliers. It was pretty ingenious to convince otherwise normal people to pay between 240 and 10,000 times more to purchase water in a bottle than to get it from the supply we’re already paying for that comes out of the taps in our homes.


These days a 16-ounce bottle of “spring” water goes for about a dollar. That’s $8 a gallon — twice the cost of milk, about on par with soft drinks purchased in the same manner. Home delivery of water in those great big, heavy bottles is less per gallon but still around $40 a month, according to online averages.

The average cost of town water for U.S. households typically ranges from $1.50 to $3 per cubic meter. This cost can vary widely depending on the location, local water utility rates and the specific pricing structure of the area. One cubic meter equals 265 gallons, or 4,240 8-ounce glasses of water — enough to last the average person 530 days (consuming eight 8-ounce glasses per day). Another way to price it: Sixty-two 8-ounce glasses of water cost about 4 cents.


This may startle you, but it is absolutely true: Tap water is safer than bottled water. How could that be? The reason is simple. The U.S. water supply is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under very strict guidelines and heavily enforced rules. Bottled water is subject to Food and Drug Administration rules, which are far less stringent. For example, tap water by law requires disinfection. Testing for bacteria must be conducted hundreds of times a month. On the other hand, bottled water is not required to be disinfected; bacteria testing is performed fewer than five times per month.


Tooth decay in children is making a big comeback. The culprit? Bottled water. It’s not the water that’s causing the decay, according to the World Dental Congress. It’s the lack of fluoride. Parents believe they are giving their children a superior product in bottled water, but in fact they are depriving kids of the fluoride and minerals they need to build healthy teeth and bodies. Fluoridation, present in most public water supplies, has become recognized as a key intervention in tooth decay.

So, the next time you feel thirsty, don’t reach for a bottle. Instead turn on the tap. You’ll be drinking water that is just as safe — or safer — than bottled and saving money, too. Get the kids to switch, and you also just might head off big dental bills down the road.

Pro Tip: Don’t like the taste of your tap water? Invest in a filter pitcher such as ZeroWater or Britta, or install an inexpensive faucet filter.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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