Apr 26 2010


In June, 2007, Mayor Gavin Newsom signed an order banning the use of City money to buy single-serving bottled water. He said at the time that the tap water of the City of San Francisco, which comes from Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite, was cleaner than a lot of the bottled water that was called “pure.” In addition, he pointed out that bottled water was a great stress on the environment.

In the movie below, the woman explains how bottled water has become so popular. She explains that the soft drink companies needed another way to improve their profits, so they decided to sell bottled water. They “manufactured demand” for it. That means they advertised in ways that would make people want something that they really didn’t need. Among the things they did was to try and make people afraid to drink the water that comes out of the tap. However, even some of the bottled water that is sold is just filtered tap water. And many blind taste tests (where people don’t know which water is tap water and which is bottled) show that tap water tastes better. In some countries, it is true that tap water is not safe to drink; however, in San Francisco, the water is very good.

Carrying tap water with you requires a little bit of planning. You can buy a reusable water bottle and fill it before you leave your house. It would save you a lot of money too.

I think the following movie is worth seeing, but it might be hard to understand. There are some things you can do to make it easier. First, the woman talks fast, but there are also subtitles. You can make the picture (and the subtitles) bigger if you press the Ctrl button on the keyboard, hold it down, and push the + key. You can also stop and start the movie at any time, or go back to see something you missed. Ask if you need help.

Here is the rather long movie about bottled water:

You can probably guess that there are two sides to this argument, and which side I am on! How about you? What do you think about bottled water? Do you use it a lot? Do you drink tap water? Is the tap water in your country safe to drink?

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Water”

  1.   Leaon 26 Apr 2010 at 10:33 am

    hey lauri!
    of course I’m on the “tap-water-side”. It’s just so silly what the water companies are trying to tell us about tap-water!
    when i came here from germany, i was not used to drinking tap water. in my country we usually drink bottled water, because our tap water is not very healthy.
    but my host dad told me right from the beginning that I can drink tap water without any problems. Now it’s just me who’s drinking it, because my host family only drinks Seven Up or Dr. Pepper. But at least, I’m, as a german, doing something good for the american environment. :-) But in the end, it’s good for the environment of the whole world!
    But I know when I’m back in germany, I will drink bottled water again!
    This is gonna be my last week at college, I hoped to see you before I leave. But I wish you all the best and a fun last year in class!

  2.   DeborahLon 26 Apr 2010 at 11:03 am

    Dear Lauri,

    Everyone in our family has a reusable water bottle. We have a water filter machine because of the salt water fish tank in our house. Since we have the water filter, we have been drinking tap water for years. Even if we hadn’t bought the water filter for the salt water fish tank, we would have drunk the tap water. Before leaving the house every morning, we fill up the tap water in our reusable bottles. The tap water tastes as good as bottled water. Bringing your own water can save a lot of money and also it is good for the environment.


  3.   Rosaon 26 Apr 2010 at 11:15 am

    Hello Lauri,

    I am on the tap water side! I used to buy bottled water but after San Francisco Mayor banned bottled water in all city premises then I started to read more about where our tap water comes from – now I have a filter for the tap water and drink from it. I do not taste any difference but it saves money and especially the environment. I think it is a good thing to do!
    But I know when I am back home in Hong Kong – I will drink bottled water since I am not sure where the tap water comes from and if it is safe to drink!


  4.   Lisa Won 26 Apr 2010 at 11:55 am

    Lea, Deborah, Rosa, and Lauri,

    Water — has been a political and health matter for as long as I have lived in California —–30 years… I used to work as an assistant in the advertising world…so I KNOW how fear and desire are two of the major components of successful advertising campaigns.
    I use tap water myself…. but I like it cold, with a slice of lemon, and a bit of chemical sweetener.
    So, I wonder, if my chemical sweetener is more harmful than any bacteria in the tap water?
    Healthy Lisa

  5.   Laurion 26 Apr 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I’m sorry I will miss seeing you. I hoped you enjoyed your time at our school. Not only is there a problem with bottled water instead of tap water, there’s actually a health problem with people who drink too many soft drinks like Seven Up and Dr. Pepper! Of course, if your tap water isn’t good, you don’t have much choice. I’m surprised the water in Germany isn’t better.

  6.   Laurion 26 Apr 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Congratulations on your family being kind to the environment (and saving money too!). We are lucky in San Francisco to have good tap water.

  7.   Laurion 26 Apr 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I think the San Francisco mayor saved you a lot of money! I don’t blame you for using bottled water in Hong Kong though. Tap water in some countries isn’t as safe as it is here.

  8.   Laurion 26 Apr 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Ugh how can you put chemical sweetener in your tap water? ;)

  9.   Lisaon 27 Apr 2010 at 9:33 am

    I also wonder why I use that garbage chemical sweetener instead of honey, or natural sugar cane —–
    It’s vanity… I am convinced that using any healthy sweetening substance will add calories ! I’m a lifelong Weight Watcher — and that organization is pro-chemicals—-not really very healthy at all.
    Do you use a natural sweeteners?

  10.   Laurion 27 Apr 2010 at 10:23 am

    I don’t use any unnatural sweeteners that I have to add to anything, but I’m not sure whether or not occasionally I have something with a sweetener in it. I’m more concerned about eating the wrong kind of fat than a little sugar. 16 calories a spoonful isn’t so much.

  11.   Lisaon 27 Apr 2010 at 10:55 am

    You are correct about the fat intake as well. Olive or other vegetable oils are healthier than animal fat, but I confess to consuming beef on occasion. I also have tried the less fatty buffalo/bison meat…. and the occasional ostrich meat is tasty.

    Now I’m hungry. But not for sweets.

  12.   ibtisamon 27 Apr 2010 at 10:59 am

    Dear Lauri and Lisa,
    I’m on the tap water side. I think it’s so silly to buy bottled water since that we know San Francisco has been a leader in educating people about negative impact of bottled water, and it has the best tap water in the United States and maybe in the world. It’s easier for everyone to enjoy the great tasting tap water and reduce waste from all those plastic bottles that are also a great source for environmental pollution. A clean environment is a human right and not a privilege so it’s our responsibility to keep it clean, and it’s very important to save our money for useful things not for nothing.


  13.   Laurion 27 Apr 2010 at 11:07 am

    You explained yourself very well, Ibtisam. I agree that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the environment clean. I’m glad San Francisco is in the lead on many environmental issues.

  14.   Lisaon 28 Apr 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Your reply about the human right to have a clean environment caught my attention.
    Your English was written very well and the ideas you expressed were well-thought out and organized. Your information regarding San Francisco as a leader against bottled water reflects your knowledge of current events.


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