Water Torture

water billboard.jpg

Water, being the single most important thing on earth, is an issue Treehugger gladly discusses. And the provocative comments raised recently in response to an article on bubbly water--about the evil forces dosing us with chemicals against our wills and the vile taste of some tap water—has motivated us to begin a series on the subject.

Treehuggers want to drive the success of sustainable products by personal choices, but what a choice: municipal or well water of questionable taste and chemical quality versus disposing of the bottles from 153 billion liters of water sold annually according to the International Council of Bottled Water Associations. So how do you make the sustainable choice?

Or perhaps the better question is, why should we have to make this choice since our tax dollars are paying for clean, tasty water? Would you pay for a firedepartment that doesn't put fires out completely or a police department that only patrols during daylight? No, you would rightly demand better service. Why shouldn't the same be true for tap water?Of course, it isn't quite as simple as that. Once merely a necessity of life, water is now a lifestyle choice in much of the world. The hippest restaurants have "water sommelieres". The profit margin is sufficient to spur free-market frenzy, for example entrepreneurs seeking capital so drinking water for the US and Canada can be imported from Armenia? Nonetheless, water from the tap remains the cost-effective, environmentally sound choice. A recent poll of Americans (conducted jointly by both Democrats and Republicans) reports that 67% prefer government spending to guarantee clean water over tax cuts.

To help you make the best choices, Treehugger will give you the facts and open a forum for opinions. This series will address whether your water is safe to drink, recognize those towns and cities that are going the extra mile to give their citizens good drinking water, look at the best products for making your water better, and ask whether some bottled waters are more treehugger than others, for those times when you need portable or want the champagne of waters for that special occasion.

So let's start today with the easiest of choices: if the water is good, drink it. Treehugger therefore congratulates the best of the best, the winners of the awards at the largest and longest running water tasting competition in the world:
In the category of Municipal Water:
Best in the World Gold: Town of Gibsons, BC, Canada
Best in the United States: Daytona Beach, FL
Silver: Putaruru, New Zealand
Bronze: Tie--Rice Lake, WI & Metropolitian Water District of Southern CA
4th: Washington County, VA
5th: Chilliwack, BC, Can

For winners in other categories and previous years, just follow the link above. [by ©C. Lepisto, 2005]