Water: How much to Drink? Bottled or Tap?

by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

I noticed a lead article on Yahoo.com today ‘Water Facts: Bottled or Tap?”

The article looks at the often asked question of how much water you should drink and whether it should be bottled or tap water. The article was quite basic but the comments from readers were interesting. Some supported the author’s views and some didn’t.

As this seems to be a subject of interest for many people I thought that I would add my two cents worth. But first, I should mention that about seven years ago I researched this subject very extensively and these are my conclusions:

How much water should you drink?

There is no ‘right’ amount although some ‘experts’ have some pretty fixed opinions. To state a quantity is to ignore the obvious which is different people in different circumstances will require different daily intakes of water. Obviously a 200lb male laborer working in the hot sun is going to need a lot more water than a 105lb female office worker in an air-conditioned building.

The important thing is to ensure that you drink sufficient water when you are thirsty and do not become dehydrated. This is not difficult…just be aware of your body’s need and ensure you always try to drink water when you are thirsty.

A note here! Some people are not actually aware when they are becoming dehydrated, so try to be aware of the little signs that your body will give you when it needs water. If in doubt have a sip or two anyway.

Don’t use coffee, tea or sodas to quench your thirst. If you enjoy the taste of these have your pure water first and then have your coffee or tea after.

You don’t need to count the number of glasses you drink daily.

Should you drink when you are not thirsty?

As a rule no! But…in my opinion there is an exception. When you arise in the morning, have two or even three glasses of warm water! Not, out of the fridge!!! This is important. It should be as close as possible to body temperature so you can ‘drink’ it straight down, not sip it.

Do this each morning immediately after you arise! Leave it an hour before you eat, or at least 30 minutes. After a week or two you will notice a difference in your overall health, particularly if you suffer from constipation or any digestive problems.

This is one of the best things that you can do for your health. You will be amazed how much benefit it will give you. Virtually all health conditions will benefit from this simple little protocol.

I have been doing it for as long as I can remember and will do so until the day I die.

Tap Water or Bottled Water?

In general terms I would say neither! Why? Well, no matter how good your water supply is, there are contaminants within it. No doubt about that. I accept that the source of the water may be good and your water company does not pour large quantities of chemicals in it, but the water still has to travel through miles of piping which is subject to corrosion, therefore picking up a number of contaminants on the way.

At my home in Christchurch, New Zealand we are blessed with some of the purest water in the world. It comes from melting snow in the Southern Alps and then is filtered naturally through the underground shingle across the Canterbury plains before reaching Christchurch.

But…I still don’t drink the tap water because the water company still has to add various chemicals to the water, and of course it still has to travel through pipes of various ages. So, at home I have a reverse osmosis system and in the office a good water filtering system.

In Bangkok, Thailand I have a good filtering system. There, no one drinks tap water as it is unsafe.

Interestingly, I used to spend a lot of time in Florida a number of years ago. Most people then, as now would drink the tap water. At that time I was drinking distilled water and had a distiller in Florida and another one in Mexico where I would spend a reasonable amount of time.

Well, what was interesting is that when I distilled water in Mexico I would be left with a residue of dirty brown water in the container. BUT…when I distilled the water in Florida I would get an even darker residue of brown water, and even more disturbing it would have a silvery sheen on top of it. Don’t know what that was, but it would seem to me that the quality of water in Mexico, although poor was actually better than Florida.

I used to get some rather skeptical looks when I mentioned this to Floridians…but, the evidence was quite visible.

Bottom line…I would not drink tap water no matter where I was.

So, what about Bottled Water?

From listening and seeing the promotions for bottled water you would rightly expect this to be much better than tap water. And, in many cases bottled water certainly is, but very often it is not.

Much bottled water is simply as it says…”water in a bottle”. What is not said is sometimes this water is straight out of the tap into a bottle and as such the water does not even go through a filter let alone an effective purification process.

Then there is the bottle itself. Like water there is a big variation in the quality of the plastic used. Poor quality plastics will leach chemicals into the water and as such you may end up being worse off than had you drunk tap water in the first place. No doubt about that if there is straight tap water in the bottle.

The degree of leaching will be dependent upon how fresh the water is, how it has been stored and whether it has been exposed to the sun. I am sure that you have experienced the difference in the taste of water from a plastic bottle if it has been left in your car for a few days.

Which is the Best Bottled Water?

There is no simple answer to this question and it is impossible to compare unless you embarked on a major project to find out and carried out analysis on the different bottled waters on the market.

I know there are some ‘boutique’ bottled water manufacturers that take the issue of purity seriously and thoroughly ‘clean’ their water and then use high quality plastic bottles. Unfortunately it is not easy to identify them.

Personally when I am traveling I select bottled water from either a beer manufacturer, or water produced by either Coca Cola or Pepsi. The reason for this is that these companies maintain a certain level of purity of water for their beverage manufacturing so the chances of getting clean water from them is greater.

What is the Best Solution?

It’s quite simple really. Install a really good filtering system at home. If you are renting you can buy good countertop systems! Talk to your local filter company and find out what is the most effective for the water supply in your area.

An alternative is a reverse osmosis system. These are good and are viable in areas where there is no water shortage problem. This is important as these systems waste quite a lot of water.

When you have a good system installed at home, buy a good polycarbonate bottle. Polycarbonate is a type of plastic but is the closest thing you can get to glass in that it will not leach chemicals into the water. You can buy 1 or 2 liter bottles. Fill it up in the morning when you go to work, and you have your own water supply.

Problem solved…it will even save you money in the long run!

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