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Newsnight

H2O snobbery

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jul 07, 01:04 PM

water_203.jpg
New Yorkers are being urged to switch to tap water for fear of the effect that the bottled stuff is having on the environment.

Environmental campaigners say that four out of five plastic water bottles end up in landfill sites, and the distribution process sometimes sees water being shipped halfway around the world.

Britons, too, have gone mad for bottled water in recent years. But has this led to a general snobbery associated with H2O? Would you now feel too embarrassed to ask for tap water in a restaurant, for example, opting to pay for bottled instead? Or do you regularly fly in the face of convention and request the free stuff? Have you ever asked for tap water and been refused? And is it time we were offered the choice of "tap or bottled" rather than "still or sparkling"?

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:16 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rachel wrote:

If you fill up a glass bottle regularly and leave in your fridge its just as good as bottled - and in reality, bottled water isn't as regulated as tap water and does tend to have added ingredients. bottled water is a scam in my mind and bad for the enviornment. If you are nervous about it, get a good filter attached to your tap!

  • 2.
  • At 01:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

I always ask for the 'house water' anyway - at last some common sense!

  • 3.
  • At 01:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Michael Isles wrote:

I've no problem with tap water, certainly not from a health perspective. I tend to drink bottled water; perhaps it's just me, but tap water can sometimes taste 'chemical', and that does put me off.

Point taken about the plastic bottles ending up in landfill. I'm certianly going to try to switch to the larger 5 litre ones (less plastic?) and take them to a local plastic recycling point.

  • 4.
  • At 01:20 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Iain McHardy wrote:

So - does the Newsnight office have a water cooler with disposable cups or a tap with mugs? Let the truth come out.

  • 5.
  • At 01:21 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • V Perkins wrote:

I always ask for a glass of tap water and so far, have never been refused. On the few occasions that I encountered raised eyebrows, I merely say I have some tablets to take. Though why one has to specify tap water as opposed to a glass of water, does irritate me.

  • 6.
  • At 01:21 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • denis buckley wrote:

I often request tap water in restaurants, and have never been turned down yet. But I am a Yank transplant, so am used to asking for what I want.

I also occasionally buy a bottle of still water, but only because I need a new sports bottle - the caps on lots of them are fragile and don't withstand repeated use. I think they moved away from the robust ones with the slide up - slide down action because they weren't selling as many bottles.

I also buy bottled sparkling water, but only the brands which I really like - Vichy when I can get it, San Pellagrino, etc., the ones with real flavour.

  • 7.
  • At 01:22 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Gavin wrote:

I've never found a problem getting tap water, if you ask for it. I do sometime buy bottled water though, it's handy if you want to take a drink of water with you on a day trip. I generally end up refilling the bottle a lot, and only buy new ones when I forget to bring my own (this happens too frequently).

I could see how people drinking bottled water *all the time* could end up being a problem. That would create a large amount of waste. The tap water's not that bad -- I always drink tap water, even in London. Filtering it can help if you object to the taste.

Also, you made a slight typo in this article -- it should be H2O not H20 (the letter O not the number 0 -- think two hydrogens (H) + 1 oxygen (O)). The 2 should be in subscript where possible.

Gavin

  • 8.
  • At 01:22 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Lucy Fulton wrote:

I always drink tap water at home and work and always ask for tap water in a restaurant. Why would anyone do otherwise. it's just messing up the planet and a waste of money. people should give their money to africa to dig wells.

Tap water is fine so long as the Chlorine has been filtered out and it has not been artificially Fluoridated.

It is no surprise to me that many people in the US choose bottled water over tap water, as most tap water in the US is Fluoridated with industrial waste Fluorides.

It seems that this practice is again being pushed in the UK and it is up to the consumer to educate themselves about Fluoridation and their right to refuse medication.

Drinking water should be provided in as pure form as possible, not contaminated with industrial waste nor used as a vehicle to deliver medicine.

  • 10.
  • At 01:23 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ian David OLIVE wrote:

It all started in those warmer countries where the tap water would certainly turn your insides out in no time at all, but these days...

It will be looked back on as one of the late 20th /early 21st century madnesses. Buying water in bottles!

  • 11.
  • At 01:23 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Patrick wrote:

By all means stop bottled water being shipped. But let us not stop there. let us stop the shipping of wine - which is after all not essential for health. Come to that stop all shipments of anything that we could make at home. Perhaps the "environmentalists" would prefer the world to have a backwards crofting economy.

When are people going to insist that these daft people have the right to their ideas but that no-one should take any notice of them.

  • 12.
  • At 01:24 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Stephen McGoldrick wrote:

Guilty as charged! I live in Scotland and despite the tap water being first class I often feel pressuarised into buying bottles in restuarants. Sometimes it is bottles of the same Scottish water you would get from the tap.

Restuarants should feel entitled to charge a token amount for providing a jug of water with fresh ice and maybe a lemon. Then it would become more acceptable to avoid the bottles.

  • 13.
  • At 01:24 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Benjamin Jefferys wrote:

The formula for water is H2O (letter O), not H20 (number zero) as used in this article, the article's URL, and the newsletter I found it from! Two hydrogens and an oxygen, not twenty hydrogens. Some basic science would be a useful addition to the knowledge gained from your history/politics/classics/journalism degrees.

  • 14.
  • At 01:25 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Michelle wrote:

I regularly request a jug of water at restaurants and don't feel at all embarrassed. At home I drink a combination of bottled and tap but mostly tap as it's more convenient.

I also recycle my water bottles but do feel it's a real waste.

Water coming from France by Lorries is unacceptable. Not only that at .30 per litre in France versus 1.30 in UK.

It is time that the local water companies are forced to provide drinking points and maintain them (clean) to enable them to get a water license. Why do you see this in other countries like Switzerland and a low requirement on actual bottled water.

Ken Liverstone should force water companies to provide drink points which are clean and provide tourists, travellers with running free water to prevent increases in CO2 or there has to be a cost for offsetting water travelling across the world. I agree with the New Yorkers.

  • 16.
  • At 01:25 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ernst Sigl wrote:

Yes, water has become very expensive and are we always sure that what’s in the bottle is really good for us? Have you seen where the water is bottled?
Plastics have also been in the news that the plastic leeches into the water and can cause even worse problems.
If the tap water is fine to drink, go for it. Obviously there are places where the tap water can leave you with 1/2 the holiday being on the toilet, that’s where the bottled water is a must.
YES, Stop the pollution of millions of empty bottles ending on land-fills. Think of our future generations digging up all that rubbish left by us when they want to build a home.

  • 17.
  • At 01:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Barrie wrote:

We usually ask for a jug of tap water and a glass for everyone at the table, when we place our wine order in a restaurant. Far from being refused we're usually asked if we'd like ice and lemon in the water. It never appears on the bill, but it inspires a better tip at the end of the evening.

  • 18.
  • At 01:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Hardik Shah wrote:

Hi,
I think bottled water usage is directly linked to snobbery - the whole (mis)conception of bottled water being cleaner and safer.

I sometimes feel embarrassed to ask for tap water when dining in some decent restaurant - especially if it is an official meal with my superiors.

Personally, I would never ask for bottled water. Primarily because I dont think my or my family's health would be at danger if we drank tap water. And, also because I dont think it is worth the price.

  • 19.
  • At 01:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

I sometimes buy bottled water, but I more often than not re-use the bottles.

I find it amusing however that people are fretting more over whether their water comes from a tap or a plastic bottle rather than worrying more about putting more research into alternative energy sources such as hydroden.

That says it all about Western culture: Concerntrate on the little things and the big problems will be sorted out by somone else.

  • 20.
  • At 01:28 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • James Kelly wrote:

On the continent I found that the tap water was very hard, so bottled water was the norm. It's also handy to have on your desk for drinking and spilling into your keyboard.
In some German factories it's possible to buy a bottle of full strength beer, coke or other soft drinks, some vending machines dispense water, usually in bottled form.

  • 21.
  • At 01:28 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Kris Jones wrote:

I regularly ask for tap water in restaurants and bars. I've had a barman tell me they don't provide tap water before, which tempted me to ask for a whisky and water, without the whisky. I believe it is unlawful for some licensed premises to refuse tap water, but I've never been able to track down ay legislation to back that up. A job for Newsnight researchers perhaps?

  • 22.
  • At 01:28 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • G Slater wrote:

It was around 1960 that the then MP for Carlisle got a law passed saying that you had to be provided with water with a meal, if you requested it.
The main problem is just that - how can you be sure it is from the main and not from a storage tank?
The thing I really don't understand is how people buy bottled water and then accept ice in it when they have no idea what sort of water the ice is made from. The making of ice is also an ecological problem.
I agree that the bottles are a severe problem. Maybe they could be saved and reused, filled with cement to provide housing bricks or foundations. Otherwise, disposable (waxed paper) bottles or reuasable ones should be brought in.

  • 23.
  • At 01:29 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Paula Varley wrote:

Have you ever seen New York tap water? It's grey! I didn't want to drink it either, so maybe bottled water could be packaged in recyclable glass? Much of New York has been built on landfill, which used to be called "reclaimed" land before the soi disants' great environmental panic. Happy days. The sun shone and crime had yet to be invented.

If I want tap water, I usually get it if I ask for "just a glass of water please".

  • 24.
  • At 01:30 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rita Gayford wrote:

Of course we should all drink tap water instead of bottled - as well as the problem of disposing of the plastic (or glass) bottles, consider the energy required to make them. Tap water in most areas is perfectly drinkable and if you are concerned about chemicals, a simple filter (a jug or under-sink system) will remove most of the nasties!

  • 25.
  • At 01:31 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • V Perkins wrote:

I always ask for tap water and have never been refused. On the few occasions I have encountered raised eyebrows, I merely say I have some tablets to take. It irritates me that I have to specify tap water though. Until recently one had merely to request a glass of water. Praise to those eating places that provide free drinking fountains and glasses, so no embarrassment is incurred.

  • 26.
  • At 01:31 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • ulric allsebrook wrote:

Yes i have been turned down in restaurants despite racking up a huge bill including expensive wines. Remember the fuss about posh restaurants charging £3 for house water from the tap ? I guess they were ahead of the game!

The bottled water is a craze and more often than not, it is either plain tap water, or water from a natural spring. Agreed that it might be better, but the damage to landfill more than outweighs any perceived benefit. In any city where the municipal authorities are responsible, there is absolutely no harm in taking the tap water. The hotels and big restaurants can have their own RO units and this obviates the need of plastic bottles.
Secondly it has become a craze to carry the plastic water bottle and they just keep on sipping it. Again, it is done not because they need it, but the peer group pressure makes them do it. I saw the other day, a person with bottle to the lips veer down and mow down a poor pedestrain. The sooner such fads end, the better it would be.

  • 28.
  • At 01:31 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Bev wrote:

Depends where you are. Nice jug of tap water from the Cotswolds - great. But I'm not convinced that all areas of UK have equally good tasting water. We were given a bottle of Welsh tap water when we got married and nmoved to Swindon 30 years ago, so perhaps we started the trend!

We're at the source of the Thames, so our water is great - we're the first of the alleged 7 people Thames water goes through between Cirencester and the North Sea - perhaps that also has a bearing on whether we choose tap!!

  • 29.
  • At 01:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • towcestarian wrote:

Only an urban snob would drink something in which fish fornicate - any pay for the privilege.

  • 30.
  • At 01:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • beryl lingenfield wrote:

Why do we have to hve everything we do picked up on and critisised or questioned. Life now is so stressful with the war and the problems of the word sitting heavily on us that we should not have to ask ourselves a question every time we go to drink a glass of water. Let us chose for ourselves for a change and make life just that little bit easier. I would love to see something printed that will make us feel happy not add to the lines of stress on the faces of the already burdened poeple. With so many health probles solved by drinking 8 glasses of water a day need i say more

  • 31.
  • At 01:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Scott Nicholson wrote:

I will always ask for tap water in pubs and restaurants and have never had any funny responses to indicate that it's a strange request.

Indeed, I've never thought, nor been advised by anyone else, that such a request is against convention.

I'm happy to pay for good wine with a meal, but just don't think it's necessary to pay for something that comes (effectively) free.

  • 32.
  • At 01:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rod Crawford wrote:

In the UK I always ask for tap water, in recent years hotels and restaurants have promoted bottled water to increase their profits. Nothing tastes better than local tap water with the addition of ice cubes and a couple of slices of lemon.

  • 33.
  • At 01:34 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rita Gayford wrote:

Of course we should all drink tap water instead of bottled - as well as the problem of disposing of the plastic (or glass) bottles, consider the energy required to make them. Tap water in most areas is perfectly drinkable and if you are concerned about chemicals, a simple filter (a jug or under-sink system) will remove most of the nasties!

  • 34.
  • At 01:35 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Paula wrote:

It's all very well saying that people should switch to tap water to save the environment but what about our health? Tap water in most areas tastes revolting, is cloudy and therefore who knows what impurities and bugs are in it?

  • 35.
  • At 01:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Julian Corner wrote:

EVIAN is NAIVE backwards.

  • 36.
  • At 01:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Cliona wrote:

There is an Italian restaurant in NY that I've been too a few times and when I requested the tap water was told that it was not suitable for drinking so the only choice you have is bottled. But when I asked how they wash/prep the produce, make ice etc, I've been told its their policy to serve only bottled water. The food is excellent, which is why I compromise and pay for the water.

  • 37.
  • At 01:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Wilson Strutte wrote:

I always ask for tap water. Many times I receive a snooty look but don't care. I just object so much for having to pay for something as simple as water.

  • 38.
  • At 01:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Christopher Abele wrote:

If I lived in New York, I would be happy to drink tap water. It tastes good and is of a high quality. As is the tap water in Birmingham. New York City's water comes from upstate New York, and Birmingham's is from Wales. But I am not prepared to drink tap water in London, which originates from not so pure sources !

  • 39.
  • At 01:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Marianne wrote:

I must admit I do tend to ask for tap water. But it depends what kind of restaurant I'm in. For example I find the most difficult places are the cheapest, or the ones who do not focus on repeat trade.

A particular (unamed) Indian restaurant in London's Picadilly for example refused to give us tap water one night until I explained it was illegal for them to refues (I still have no idea if this is true or not!). They did eventually give it to us, but did try and charge us 3.95 on the bill for it. It took a lot of heated negotiation before they backed down - and only when I said very loudly 'I don't look like a tourist, act walk or talk like one. So don't treat me like one!' In my experience, the better and more reliable restaurant the easier it is to get whatever you want - regardless of whether it's water or not.

  • 40.
  • At 01:38 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jack Morrisson wrote:

Water is water no matter where it's sourced from.

The only significant difference is...wait, is there a significant difference?

Tap water is derived from reservoirs and bottled water from rivers in the mountains.

H20 is H20 is H20.

The bottled water is a craze and more often than not, it is either plain tap water, or water from a natural spring. Agreed that it might be better, but the damage to landfill more than outweighs any perceived benefit. In any city where the municipal authorities are responsible, there is absolutely no harm in taking the tap water. The hotels and big restaurants can have their own RO units and this obviates the need of plastic bottles.
Secondly it has become a craze to carry the plastic water bottle and they just keep on sipping it. Again, it is done not because they need it, but the peer group pressure makes them do it. I saw the other day, a person with bottle to the lips veer down and mow down a poor pedestrain. The sooner such fads end, the better it would be.

  • 42.
  • At 01:41 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Andrei Skorobogatov wrote:

It's bloody water. Why waste money on something equally as good? It's the same thing and this one is free.

  • 43.
  • At 01:41 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • mukhobeh moses khaukha wrote:

This is mukhobeh Moses from Uganda the plastic and polythene bags are all un friendly to environment for us here in Uganda all the above mentioned items were baned.However they rather take well cooked water from the tape than spoiling the Environment
Thanks Mukhobeh Moses Khaukha From Uganda

Tap water in Spain should be drinkable by law but it can taste salty in coastal areas. But there is no excuse for serving up bottled water in cities like Madrid where tap water is excellent and comes straight from the Guadarrama mountains. Most Spaniards are embarrassed to demand "agua del grifo", specially in restaurants. Savvy travelers could help buck the trend. When in Spain splash out on wine, not water.

  • 45.
  • At 01:43 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I have never paid for a bottle of water in my life except once in France when I was dying of thirst on a blistering hot day and a bottle of Evian only cost ten cents in a supermarket (Frenchmen were astonished to see me pouring the undrunk portion over my head in the parking lot on my way out, they probably figured I was wasting money.) Having been born and grown up in New York City, I knew it always had a reputation for excellent city water coming from huge reservoirs in the Catskill mountains. I think anyone who pays for bottled water when their tap water is safe to drink and has no offensive flavor or odor is a sucker. I could never undestand why anyone would pay for it. Of course if they depended on me Starbucks would go broke too.

  • 46.
  • At 01:44 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • jp wrote:

i would like to drink tap water but it always comes with tidbits in and i don't like the taste of it when filtered at home. Why don't water companies upgrade the pipes?

  • 47.
  • At 01:44 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jacobs Mwambegele wrote:

Unless one wants to commit suicide, at this part of the world, we never ask for tap water. Tap water in the third world is not safe to drink. Bottled water, though not always available, is the best resort. So we choose here between the destruction of environment and our health, and a prudent man here will always opt fot the latter.

  • 48.
  • At 01:45 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Paul Burgess wrote:

Quite a few restaurants refuse to serve tap water, which is nothing but a way of inflating their profits. perhaps they should be named and shamed. It would be interesting to know the legal position on this.

Scottish tap water is much better than anythinhg out of a bottle anyway!

  • 49.
  • At 01:46 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Sandra Sedgwick wrote:

If you boil and drink the local water then you build up your resistance to where you are living or staying.

Most bottled water according to the survey done many years ago do not contain enough of the correct minerals, they are dead water. I think Volvic came out as the best bottled water. Water from the tap in most places is fine these days.

I think people dislike the fact that most tap water say in London has gone through many other bodies before we drink it.

  • 50.
  • At 01:46 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • JON CROSS wrote:

Why do we spend millions every year refining our tap water making it fit to drink if we are not prepared to drink it? What is it that bottled water has (that our bodies so desperately need!)that tap water does not. I have tried both and bottled does not quench the thirst any more than tap water, in fact I find it nowhere near as good. It tastes the same, almost, is not better for you and anyway, why pay for both and not use one of them! When we go abroad, we have to pay for water in most counties and isn't it a bore to have to carry all those heavy containers from the shop to our appartment etc. In the UK we should be grateful for our water system. This bottled water thing is just another of those american fads that has come over here, and with an intensive (mostly full of trivial script that means nothing) marketing campaign, has caught on. Why are we so gullible or have we got just too much money to spare! I ask for tap water in restaurants: why not, it's there for the asking and anyone who is too embarrased to request it is just..........well, words fail me.

  • 51.
  • At 01:46 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • jp wrote:

i would like to drink tap water but it always comes with tidbits in and i don't like the taste of it when filtered at home. Why don't water companies upgrade the pipes?

  • 52.
  • At 01:49 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • TraceyMPetsivas wrote:

We were refused tap water in a restaurant and forced to pay 3 quid for a bottle. We were also refused in a food court in a large shopping mall in M/cr, again we had to pay 1 pound for a 1/2 litre. Extortion or what?

  • 53.
  • At 01:49 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Trevelyan wrote:

I ALWAYS ask for a jug of tap water when I'm eating out. Bottled water in restaurants is a complete waste of money. But then I do tend to spend an obscene about of dosh on booze, so I guess it evens itself out.

  • 54.
  • At 01:51 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Given the inequality of access to water flying it across the world is utterly crass and indefensible.

Good god people - we get clean drinkable water piped into our houses! To then choose not to use it (because it tastes a bit tinny??) is incredibly self indulgent when you think globally. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

  • 55.
  • At 01:52 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ann wrote:

Nothing wrong with tap water in the uk. If are going to buy bottled water buy it in glass. Plastic,when warm, gives off noxious chemicals which end up as breast cancer!! It also gives you kidney stones in the end.
Ann.
Cheshire.

  • 56.
  • At 01:53 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • christine rixon wrote:

I have never understood the headlong rush to buy bottles of water, particularly the ridiculous price they charge in restaurants. I have been asking for tap water for many years now and do not recall ever being refused although sometimes some restaurants did seem relunctant, although I am not really in the habit of drinking large amounts of water with my food - what is this obsession in recent years for drinking so much water with your meal! I have only ever drunk tap water at home. I certainly think it's time we really looked at where it comes from and how it is manufactured and distributed and stop the pollution associated with it.

  • 57.
  • At 01:57 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

I have just returned from a holiday in Burgundy and restaurants over there actually offer you the choice between tap or bottled water.
Of course after a few glasses of red wine it doesn't really matter about the water any more.

  • 58.
  • At 01:57 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Sigrun Davidsdottir wrote:

Living in a civilized place like London there simply never is any reason to have anything but tap water in a restaurant - and I've never been in a restaurant there (or anywhere else) where the staff hasn't been most welcoming when I asked for it. At the Ritz they brought a big pitcher of water with ice... and at the Strada there is the exemplary service of putting bottles of their own free filtered water on the table without being asked!

As for the embarrassment: what is embarrassing about asking for tap water? You've got to be English and 'class-crippled' in order to see that side of the matter!

  • 59.
  • At 01:57 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • gerasimos wrote:

Not all countries have restaurants that offer just still or sparkling bottled water. In Greece, in most taverns, water comes from the tab and also when you ask for a glass of water you are not expected to pay.This has to do with numerous water sources found in many places, but also in the mentality of people which stands for free water. If we had preserved our mountains and eco-system better, water would not have been such an issue the past 10 years. Honestly, I do not understant why western Europeans demand a price for a glass of water, in many countries 25ml reach 3 euros!!!!, and are unexpectedly surprised when facing someone who asks for a simple glass of water.

  • 60.
  • At 01:59 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Irwin Fletcher wrote:

I live in Dubai where tap water is fine for brushing teeth although drinking large quantities is not really encouraged. However, given that it’s currently 43 degrees here people get through a lot of bottled water, but a 1.5litre bottle from the supermarket is only about 13p. We all get though a lot of bottles out here.
It surprises me that in a country where it’s scorching hot, mostly desert and water comes from desalination plants, it’s a very cheap commodity to buy. Yet in the UK it’s comparatively expensive to get a bottle of something that literally falls out of the sky on a regular basis.

  • 61.
  • At 02:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mary Mercer wrote:

In my opinion there is nothing at all wrong with our tap water and when dining out I always ask for a jug of tap water to be available. The only times I have ever bought bottled water is when on holiday in Africa. One of my granddaughters drinks only water. I took her to a coffee shop where I ordered a coffee for me and a glass of tap water for her. When the bill came I had been charged 50p for the glass of tap water. I protested vigorously and was told that had I ordered the glass of water for me along with my coffee there would have been no charge for the water. Can you believe it? I immediately told the waitress I had absolutely no intention of paying for water from the tap and asked her to assume that I had ordered both the water and the coffee for me. After consulting her manageress she agreed to do so.

  • 62.
  • At 02:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Thomas Roberts wrote:

-Tap water? Certainly...unless there are travel health advisories on the local water.
-Chemical taste? Fill a glass bottle and leave uncapped over night in fridge.
-Return to glass bottles and reuse often.

  • 63.
  • At 02:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jude wrote:

The dim sum restaurant in the Trafford Centre refuses to supply tap water and insists on selling bottled. However, when pushed they will give you a small glass of tap water at a charge of 50p!! I'm not planning on dining there again!

  • 64.
  • At 02:01 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Bottled water does seem to be a bit of a sub-conscious fashion accessory and is used in meetings by some as a comfort blanket. However, due to convenience I've picked up a bottle of water from Boots when I've been out and about in town when there have been no alternatives. However I will always take the bottle home and reuse or recycle it.

Councils should do more to provide recycling points in shopping centers for the likes of plastic bottles, snack wrappers etc etc.

  • 65.
  • At 02:03 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Caroline wrote:

In Australia a chilled bottle of tap water is brought to your table on arrival. The bottles are collected at the end of the meal. I think we should do the same here. Customers can always ask for bottled water if they prefer.

There is a culinary aspect to this and a difference between mineral water and spring water. Mineral water actually tastes of something and can add to a meal. I'm thinking of the sparkling waters like Badoit or San Pellegrino. That said I have a glass jug of London tap in my fridge at home. I either drink this, or wine or Badoit with meals.
It is water purchased whilst out that leads to the landfill. I do wish that Transport for London would provide recycling for free papers and water bottles. The exhortations to take your litter home fail and the carriages are littered with both paper and plastic, all of which seems to go into the same rubbish sack.

  • 67.
  • At 02:05 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Daniel Lawal wrote:

Its just funny to here that we have to cane the New yorkers before they know that their bottle waters are not environmental friendly.
I remember in the 80s in Nigeria that we don't have a single bottle water despite been a African country.All of a sudden, bottle water became a fashion.
With the situation of the world today, talking of the heat waves,tsunami e.t.c.everybody will learn the best way to tackle the global warming.
I have decided to reduce my cooking and the time i on the aircondition in my home in Guangzhou to show my concern.
I urge everyone to do the same so that we will not wait until we see the concicuence.

  • 68.
  • At 02:06 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Hugh wrote:

i have been asked to pay 30p to cover the cost of the glass when i requested a glass of tap water in a restaurant once. Refused outright; shameful behaviour.

  • 69.
  • At 02:08 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Sigrun Davidsdottir wrote:

(Obs: the below is an extended version of a comment I've just sent!)

Of course it's total madness, stemming from obsolete way of thinking, that every morning oceans and seas and rivers of bottled water are driven into cities and towns all around the world. At home in the UK it's easy to substitute the bottles with home-filtered water (ouch, coal in the filter...) or just plain tap water (perhaps cooled in the fridge using some nice re-usable glass bottles).

Living in a civilized place like London there simply never is any reason to have anything but tap water in a restaurant - and I've never been in a restaurant there (or anywhere else) where the staff hasn't been most welcoming when I asked for it. At the Ritz they brought a big pitcher of water with ice... and at the Strada there is the exemplary service of putting bottles of their own free filtered water on the table without being asked!

As for the embarrassment: what is embarrassing about asking for tap water? You've got to be English and 'class-crippled' in order to see that side of the matter!

  • 70.
  • At 02:13 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Susan Quick wrote:

Yes I use tap water. Just put it through a water filter and keep it in the fridge. But I guess I need to look for an environmentally friendly non-plastic bottle to carry it whe I go out, don't I? Any ideas?

  • 71.
  • At 02:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • david shepherd wrote:

step a-a-away from the bottle!

  • 72.
  • At 02:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • don bagley wrote:

I never drink tap water, where ever I happen to be.
I boil every drop of water I ever drink. At places to eat or drink I always refuse ice, because if you have seen how its made. One would just throw up.
Always boil your drinking water. That advise was given to me over sixty years ago.

  • 73.
  • At 02:28 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Lilian wrote:

If the problem is the plastic bottle, why not force water bottling companies to use glass bottles as they did in the past? I remember the days in which soft drinks and H2O came in returnable bottles. The government is so good at slapping laws and regulations on the public, let them tackle this issue. Come to think of it, the men/women in Brussels should make it law!!!

Bottled water in restaurants is just a drop in the ocean. What about beer, cider, not to mention the dozens of soft drinks that all come in plastic bottles? No wonder we are being smothered in plastic bottles...

  • 74.
  • At 02:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • James Bell Craig wrote:

For many years I have been filling a bottle with tap water and placing it in the fridge. In a taste test you cannot tell the difference between the cooled tap water,cost almost zero, and bottled water. Try the "blind test" and then save yourself money and help the environment.


Jim Craig

  • 75.
  • At 02:40 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Scott Nicholson wrote:

I will always ask for tap water in pubs and restaurants and have never had any funny responses to indicate that it's a strange request.

Indeed, I've never thought, nor been advised by anyone else, that such a request is against convention.

I'm happy to pay for good wine with a meal, but just don't think it's necessary to pay for something that comes (effectively) free.

  • 76.
  • At 02:43 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Isaac wrote:

I always prefer tap water, but I always have to ask if it is potable. I payed 3,5euros for a glass of tap water at a kiosk in a Festival, in Vienna. At least the glass was not plastic

  • 77.
  • At 02:46 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ross Bellette wrote:

I've never bought bottled water, only people that can't understand simple advertising buy bottled water. It's a con.

What did we drink before bottled water?

Was it perhaps tap water, seems to have done Ok for about four thousand years now.

  • 78.
  • At 02:48 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

In many New York restaurants tap water is poured as soon as you sit down. The more expensive places will give you a choice.

While dining at a fancy restaurant in New York's Upper West Side recently, the waiter started by offering to bring some water for the table. When we agreed, he enquired of us, "Still, sparkling or Manhattan Tap?"

So just give it a fancy name and there's no reason why you can't be a snob *and* drink tap water.

  • 79.
  • At 02:50 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • KATHLEEN FIDDES, EDINBURGH wrote:

Where I live in Edinburgh our tap water is so good there is no need to buy bottled water. I always have a (glass) jug of water in the 'fridge, sometimes with chunks of cucumber and/or mint leaves which gives a very refreshing flavour. I never have bottled water when eating out - I always ask for tap water and have never been refused. I have long been concerned about the effect on the environment, land fill sites, etc... of plastic water bottles. They aren't necessary - we don't need them. Have a glass bottle and just keep refilling it, either from the tap or a jug in the 'fridge

  • 80.
  • At 02:51 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Socrates wrote:

Well i think the problem is that New yorkers are filthy,throwing the bottles any where.I live in Jersey City by Exchange Places,this supost to be the posh area of J.C. and the water came out of the tap some times dirty as hell.How do you expect me to drink it.No way!!

  • 81.
  • At 02:58 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • George McAllister wrote:

I have no problem in asking for tap water, cause quite frankly sometimes it tastes a lot better than bottled and besides, surely using all these plastic bottles is bad for the environment. Who really likes sparkling aswell...

Be good, be green go straight for the tap!

  • 82.
  • At 03:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Julie McCabe wrote:

I drink tap water, but I do filter it first as I have a dodgy thyroid and the chlorine in tap water is supposed to have a negative effect. I thought that these days, tap water was the safer option anyway?

  • 83.
  • At 03:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

At restaurants here in the Netherlands it is quite common to ask for 'gementer pils' which translates to Mayor's water. It sounds a lot posher than tap and makes one seem more down to earth at the same time.

1.5 liter water bottles have a 10 cent deposit on them which is reason enough for the frugal Dutch to keep them out of landfils.

  • 84.
  • At 03:06 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Dinah Glover wrote:

Whenever we eat in restaurants with our order for a bottle of wine, we always ask for a jug or glass of tap water. We have never had any issue, problem or disapproving look or comment. I think they usually respect that if you're drinking wine you may well want some water with it. I have never understand the new found penchant for bottled water. If people can find something new to spend their money on, it seems to please them. Its the biggest marketing con ever.

  • 85.
  • At 03:08 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Naom[ Sukkar wrote:

After the bottle of water has been used,place in a bowl of boiling water and press on the cap downwards,this will reduce the bottle to the size of a teacup,much easier to get rid of, and space saving.

  • 86.
  • At 03:15 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Garnet Damson wrote:

We always ask for tap water in restaurants, and have only ever been refused it once, as being "not House Policy", about two years ago, at The Ivy!

  • 87.
  • At 03:22 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Robt. wrote:

The Hilton in Dallas, Texas, put a bottle of water in the room with a sign, '$5 charge if opened'. This is on top of a $299 per night opportunity cost for staying in a Dallas hotel with a dirty bathroom. The tap water smelled like egg salad.

In New Jersey, an overworked waiter in an overpriced restaurant with precooked food, asked 'Perrier or Evian?', when I asked for a glass of water so I could swallow a pill. 'Tap water, please', I responded; to which the waiter, hands on hips in true Jersey style, looked at me scornfully and simply repeated more loudly, 'Perrier or Evian?'

  • 88.
  • At 03:30 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • NaomiSukkar wrote:

Reduce the size of the bottle after use by placing the bottom of bottle in a bowl of boiling water and press down on the top to the size of a teacup,space saving.

  • 89.
  • At 03:30 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Eileen Wise wrote:

If there is perfectly safe tap water to drink it is rather excessive to order expensive bottled water. I have been ordering tap water for a long time now, apart from when travelling in countries where the water is not safe to drink.

Your report about water in New York was news to me. Now I understand why my brother, who has lived in the USA for 30 years - Iowa and Florida - when visiting a few days ago took me out for a meal and asked for 'a glass of water please - TAP WATER'

For a few years I used regularly to purchase filters for tap water, but recently have become too lazy and not bothered. Just drink it straight from the tap. We are lucky in our area as the local water is soft and has a wholesome taste.

At home & at work I use a filtered water fountain (the work one is plumbed in, I refill the one at home from the tap) but use it to make orange & mango squash... which also fills a battered sports bottle that dates from a course a year ago when they handed out water bottles on a hot day. I kept it but prefer squash to plain water.

  • 92.
  • At 03:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rebecca wrote:

I frequently ask for either a glass of tap water or jug of tap water in restaurants - I don't understand what the fuss is about? To me, water isn't the most pleasant and flavoursome of drinks anyway, so why pay for it? Tap water tastes just as good.

  • 93.
  • At 03:37 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • jeffettridge wrote:

Just like the Iraq war.You have the intelligence wrong.The correct formula for water is H2O [letterO] and not H20 [number zero].EDUCATION! EDUCATION!! EDUCATION!!! When are you gonna get real?

My wife and I often ask for tap water in a restaurant. however there are times when I enjoy a glass of Sparkling Italian water; so what am I supposed to do - blow bubbles with a straw! The answer was given above; as my childhood in Scotland in the 50's - glass bottles returnable for a refund; bottles that can be used again and again. It is this madness and obsession with plastic, free newspapers and takeaways - rubbish that cloggs up our streets daily. Make them all pay for the disposal of their cartons. Likewise with milk in supermarkets, it would be more friendly to use (despite the heat generated by the sterilising plant) returnable bottles rather than millions of cardboard containers. Unfortunately, the Global Warming Mafia have the upper hand at the moment, and it is big business with their pension plans and mortgages being accrued via flogging global warming, particularly the miss-selling of what is laughingly called a 'Carbon Footprint', who do they think they are, Davie Crocket. If they taught proper history in our schools rather than trendy empathy with a 'longbowman' prior to Agincourt children might be better informed. A good example of the naivity of our youth was on News 24 a couple of days ago on their Youth programm. (A schoolchild stated that they were more mature than a child of a similar age 200 years ago - total rubbish. A child of their age 200 years ago had a far harder and demanding life - and grew up a lot faster.) History teaches one that the world is a living thing and is far better at looking after itself - despite mankind; Al Gore and a bunch of pop stars. Let people drink their bottled water and worry about the most direct threat to this country since 1940 - Terrrorists who desire the death of innocent subjects (we are British Subjects) going about their lawful business. Remember - they only need to be lucky once!

  • 95.
  • At 03:38 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Adam Christie-Grant wrote:

I never REPEAT never ask for bottled water : Why? Because there really is naff all between them, anyone who thinks they are healthier really should be sent back to school and taught - "Don't believe what the snake oil salesman tells them"

  • 96.
  • At 03:39 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Naom[ Sukkar - Contribution 85.

Are you familiar with the top tips page in Viz? Priceless

  • 97.
  • At 03:41 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • KATHLEEN FIDDES, EDINBURGH wrote:

Where I live in Edinburgh our tap water is so good there is no need to buy bottled water. I always have a (glass) jug of water in the 'fridge, sometimes with chunks of cucumber and/or mint leaves which gives a very refreshing flavour. I never have bottled water when eating out - I always ask for tap water and have never been refused. I have long been concerned about the effect on the environment, land fill sites, etc... of plastic water bottles. They aren't necessary - we don't need them. Have a glass bottle and just keep refilling it, either from the tap or a jug in the 'fridge

  • 98.
  • At 03:43 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mary Lindgren wrote:

I've been too embarassed to ask since the early 70's. Coming from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" (Minnesota, U.S.A.) it never occured to me to order bottled table water. But after my first time asking, I quickly realized from the first puzzled and then condescending look the waiter (in a moderately-priced restaurant) gave me that asking is considered gauche.

These days, though, I would argue "social conscience" and no longer feel ill at ease.

We switched to drinking bottled water because we kept getting stomach pains from the tap water, since we drink bottled our pains have disappeared.
We do recycle our plastic bottles and its up to the recycling plants to ensure its properly done.
We are not willing to jeopardise our health by drinking tap water here in East London.
In fact we should get a refund on the water charges as the stuff is not safe to drink.

  • 100.
  • At 03:53 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Cathy Worthy wrote:

I have always asked for a jug of tap water in restaurants, usually it is not a problem.
Recently I made a similar request in a Chinese restaurant and was informed that there would be a charge. I left.

  • 101.
  • At 03:54 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • stephen frankling wrote:

I always not only ask for bottled water but demand that I open the bottle.
If the seal is broken I send it back and demand another one with an unbroken seal.
Why so fussy?
I worked in restaurants in Paris and London during my student days, and saw some discusting behaviour with glasses, or jugs of water destined for the diners.
Also when in the middle or far east my Father told me to get the unopened bottle or tin chilled, and ignore the offer of ice cubes from unknown H2O sources.
I have witnessed many tummy upsets, where people have not carried this through.
So I shall try to save the planet another way thanks....

  • 102.
  • At 03:56 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Robin Eastham wrote:

It was a hot summer’s day, and I was enjoying some highland fresh water. Then I realised that my bottle of water, that I had purchase had travelled thousands of miles before it had got to me! Bottled in Scotland, it was shipped to the USA, and then returned by to the UK via Germany. It tasted great! but no way could you say it was fresh! Where has your bottle been?

  • 103.
  • At 03:58 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • countrywino wrote:

I keep a plastic jug full of tap water in our fridge and after half an hour or more it tastes better than bottled water.

  • 104.
  • At 03:58 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Bernard Knight wrote:

Here in Bristol most restaurants, pubs & bars advertise that they supply tap water free of charge.

  • 105.
  • At 03:59 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Geoff Rone wrote:

Drinking bottled water is just a fashion thing. If you really can't walk down the street without suckling a plastic teat,get a proper cycling bidon and fill up at home,it'll hold more and you'll stop being ripped off!

  • 106.
  • At 03:59 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Vicki Nielsen wrote:

Tap water just doesn't taste nice and I'm not convinced that it is as good for you as mineral water.

I filter tap water to use for making tea or in cooking. Believe me, you can taste the difference when you drink tea that has been made with unfiltered tap water.

Other than that, I drink bottled mineral water but I try to use fewer, bigger bottles and recycle those that I use.

  • 107.
  • At 04:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • countrywino wrote:

I keep a plastic jug full of tap water in our fridge and after half an hour or more it tastes better than bottled water.

  • 108.
  • At 04:01 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

The only time I use bottled water is when I'm out and I've developed a thirst (and I don't have access to a tap) or when I'm at the gym. So I don't generate much bottle waste, and we have plastic bottle recycling where I live. I mainly drink filtered water, though water straight from the tap where I live smells horrible.

  • 109.
  • At 04:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Andrew Raker wrote:

I personally prefer the taste of most tap water. Bottled water too often picks up the taste of the plastic bottle.

I've never been refused tap water, although a woman in Germany was once confused when I asked for it (but part of that was also due to my poor skills in German).

For those who reuse plastic bottles they have bought, I would suggest purchasing a sturdier bottle (like a Nalgene, the new big craze for the younger generation in the US, which I've been trying to spread amongst my friends in the UK). I have one that I've been using for four years and it's just as sturdy as ever, plus it holds more water, which means I don't often need to worry about finding a place to refil it. And if I ever do need to get rid of it, well, it's still recyclable plastic.

  • 110.
  • At 04:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • j wrote:

Interestingly, restaurants like ASK are no longer delivering pitchers of water to the table. What can be inferred is that they are trying to get you to purchase mineral water, which doesn't have the same health and hygene requirements. What comes across is a cynical ploy to pursuade customers to buy water, what happens is that the staff have to work harder to replace your glass of tap water more frequently...imagine a large table of guests all wanting water with their wine, and the extra work load for the staff..reprehensible.

  • 111.
  • At 04:05 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • John B wrote:

If tap water is heavily chlorinated and it is common to use a lemon slice to kill the taste, what is the tree-hugger horror story about using all these lemons?

  • 112.
  • At 04:05 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Alan Benson wrote:

I usually drink tap water but two years ago I was visiting my daughter in Australia. The bottled water on sale in the supermarket said "Bottled in China"!!! and it tasted terrible.

  • 113.
  • At 04:07 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jill Jago wrote:

For a start, all plastic bottles can be recycled - so no excuse there. I have just come backto London from Toronto where, in several restaurants glasses of tap water were served as soon as we sat down - and constantly refilled. I do ask for tap water in this land rather than bottled and have only rarely had even a funny look.

JJ

  • 114.
  • At 04:12 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Barry8 wrote:

Hard water may clog one's water pipes eventually but it is much healthier to drink. Bottled water is more of a fad than anything more serious. Soft water tastes better and needs less detergent. Who can tell the difference between genuine soft water and bottled stuff. There are more important issues. Like organic or non organic. Don't know of anyone dying due to hard water!

  • 115.
  • At 04:16 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Dicko wrote:

Has anyone noticed what EVIAN spells backwards?

  • 116.
  • At 04:22 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

I have absolutely no problem with tap vs bottled water - I never drink the stuff at all. Like most Slavs I have a genetic aversion to pure water - probably an evolutionary adaptation to avoid cholera. I have survived years in all kinds of countries by totally avoiding all kinds of water and drinking only tea, coffee, alcohol, or fruit juice. I can recommend this course even to those who do not have my aversion and have never suffered from any ill effects in tropical countries. However, my water-imbibing colleagues would succumb to Delhi belly, cholera, hepatitis or worse.

  • 117.
  • At 04:22 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • mark n wrote:

James Allan Post 94.

You made some interesting points and highlight an over-looked connection between drinking bottled water and terrorists in the UK.

Glad to her you and your good lady wife enjoy tap water, I also enjoy the tap water where I live. However, unlike your water supply my local aurthority do not spike our water with LSD.

  • 118.
  • At 04:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Michael A H Lewis wrote:

Since the proliferation of bottled water companies, i have always ask the question,is the government of the day for most countries not interested in the health of it's citizens?, spending billions in a water purification system that is worthless!.This is enough proof that with proper marketing, one can sell practically anything.

  • 119.
  • At 04:32 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • dave hood wrote:

Have tap water in Gloucestershire.
It's vile!!

  • 120.
  • At 04:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Kelly Donovan wrote:

I live in Brooklyn, NY and usually drink tap water, both at home and in restaurants. We have a Brita filter decanter in the fridge filled at all times for hot days (like today); on the odd occasion we do buy bottled water, the empties are tossed into our recycling which is picked up weekly by the city sanitation department.

  • 121.
  • At 04:39 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • VERNON wrote:

MY RELATIVES CAME FROM CANADA,ONE WAS ILL, BUT ALSO HAD CANCER.
WE REQUESTED TAP WATER (AS BOTTLED WATER DISAGREED WITH HIM )AND I SAID I WAS HAPPY FOR THEM TO CHARGE ME FOR BOTTLED WATER.
THEY TOLD ME THEY ONLY DID BOTTLED WATER. I TALKED TO THE OWNER AND HE TOLD THE STAFF TO GIVE ME TAP WATER FREE. WHY DO THEY INSIST ON BOTTTLED WATER, EVEN WHEN YOU OFFER TO PAY THE SAME PRICE FOR TAP WATER.

  • 122.
  • At 04:39 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jessy wrote:

I was at a party in a hotel, and asked for tap water, and was shocked and delighted to be offered ice and a slice of lemon! there's nothing wrong with tap water, and although I occasionally buy bottled water (usually for long trips) I always re-use the bottle.

However, what does annoy me is that, after i have completely finished with the bottle, I recycle it, and yet i know that at least some of my bottles will end up at a landfill site. I think that this issue needs to be seriously considered! other countries have the facilities to fully recycle almost all household waste. Why don't we? And, why can't we all be shown how and where to recycle properly!!!!

  • 123.
  • At 04:51 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Daniel-John Housley wrote:


Mary Lindgren wrote:
"I've been too embarassed to ask since the early 70's. Coming from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" (Minnesota, U.S.A.)"

huh....i always thought that particular sobriquet was used only for Finland

*shrug* must be me

in the UK it is illegal for any premisis serving food or drink to refuse your right to free tap water*
*(or so i have been told by all my employers)

imho the best water in the UK is northern hard water. especially around barnsley.

but then again the cleanest (and by this i mean u can taste and smell the chlorine) is that of manchester.

love from manchester

  • 124.
  • At 04:59 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Cameron wrote:

Bottled water?
A fool and his money is easiy parted

  • 125.
  • At 05:00 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Merson Tuffers wrote:

I was brought up in Scotland where most of the tap water is quite delicious. I got the shock of my life when I moved to live in Central London - the tap water there was SO disgusting it actually made me vomit. I only ever drank London tap water that once. The very next day I made my first purchase of bottled water. That was nineteen years ago. The only time I ever drink tap water these days is when I go back to Scotland to visit my mum. The first thing I do, after walking in the door, is to have a big glass of water out of the tap. Even my cats won't drink tap water - they prefer the puddles and rain water bowls out in the garden.

  • 126.
  • At 05:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Charlie B wrote:

In my office in Vancouver we have recently bought a new water cooler. It's plumbed straight into the mains water system (took about an hour) and basically gives us chilled and hot tap water on demand. It's a really good system and I encourage it's use. We don't have any paper or plastic cups available, if you want any, you use a glass or your own container kept on your desk.
The reason for the change from the conventional delivered option was due to it's freshness, the tanked option could sit there for months before it was eventually used.
I can determine no difference in taste...

  • 127.
  • At 05:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Water Baby wrote:

Honestly, PAYING for water in bottles? Whatever next???

  • 128.
  • At 05:06 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Steve G wrote:

This whole bottle of water at a dinning table is a European thing. Until us Brits were forced to frequent European style cafes and wine bars (rather than traditional pubs) water was served at the table in a jug from the tap.

  • 129.
  • At 05:13 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Kay Sutherland wrote:

I live in Nottingham & only drink tap water-filling a bottle from the tap & keeping in the fridge-the water here tastes better than bottled water!In Nottingham restaurants it is acceptable to ask for tap water & the good ones ask if you would like ice & lemon with it.

I find it is only frowned on to request tap water in London & the South-East where the tap water is so awful that I prefer to pay for bottled water! In all good restaurants in France & Italy (even in Paris & Rome) jugs of tap water are routinely placed on the table when ordering a meal.

I think bottled water is indeed 'snobbery' & another indication of the North-South divide!

  • 130.
  • At 05:13 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Charlie B wrote:

Also,

Whatever happened to the public water fountains???

When I was a kid (in the UK) they were in the city centre. I remember spending 15 minutes looking for one at Bluewater recently, only to give up and by a bottle of water from a kiosk...

I have never seen any water fountains in the North American malls. I suspect it's some discreet way of getting you to spend money on cans and bottles or go to Starbucks!

  • 131.
  • At 05:21 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ben and Ruth wrote:

We always ask for tap water - but we do get the impression that we are being punished, when it invariably arrives warm, straight from the tap.

In France we understand that you have the right to obtain a free glass of water in any bar, and they are obliged to serve it with a smile!

  • 132.
  • At 05:34 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Marc wrote:

Refusing someone tap water is illegal for all bars and restaurants (it's called the human right to water). So no need to feel bad asking for tap water, it's a right!

  • 133.
  • At 05:39 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Annya wrote:

That it's socially frowned on is news to me - I've been asking for tap water for years and no one has ever raised an eyebrow. Round here they'll even put a bit of lemon in it for you.

  • 134.
  • At 05:52 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Paul & ElizabethTipple wrote:

We ALWAYS ask for tap water and have never been refused

Maybe if flood water was made de riqueur at the table it would solve two problems at once:)

Bless. A few weeks ago a piece in Newsnight highlights the fact that the loss of carbon sink through deforestation is in excess of the USA's entire annual output... and it gets just 30 posts, mostly shared billing with the next cold war.

But to worry about the snobbery of bottled water we're up to 130 and counting!

Still doesn't make much sense to me, but for a special non-alcoholic complement to the meal (I'm guessing all are still OK with a nice bottle of Aussie Chardonnay and some airflown whatever, drizzled in stuff and topped with a dusting of more stuff) I'm not sure the tap can quite match the sparkle of a Perrier (sans benzene, of course).

But we seem again to be getting into 'what's necessary' territory here.

As the majority are discussing the affronts endured at a dining venue that is not their home, one could possibly also ask how eco it is shunting one and all to another place to have a meal.

Bigger questions could be directed to those who know about such things as to how such imports are allowed, and what their relative carbon footprints are compared to other food and beverage options. And, if deemed acceptable in the consumer choice chain for sale (and taxing) by the authorities, why there are not better mechanisms to share the responsibility for viable, economic, decent enviROI recycling process amounts all through the delivery chain, from manufacturer (bottler), through consumer (sorry) to reclaim rather than landfill. Of course there are reuse options a wee bit higher up the waste hierarchy, and at https://www.junkk.com we have quite a few and are more than happy to see uploaded lots more.

However, to get with the flow (more water puns, sorry) of this pressing debate, just for personal fun, I have never understood paying for the still variety as I can't taste the difference. And how special an event is with a plastic bottle amidst the setting is also in my view an aspect to consider.

So... a sexy blue fizzy Ty Ant or bulbous green glass Perrier (see them made into gorgeous lights here: https://www.junkk.com/newsarticle.asp?slevel=0z608&parent_id=608&renleewtsapf=97 ) would be sadly missed.

The plastic flatties less so, for sure, though there is quite an industry out there that may have trouble surviving supplying only the needs of those with less comprehensive piped delivery systems. Me, I'd prefer to unemploy a few Amazonian or Sabah loggers before the staff of Pelegrino.

Kill plastics off if that's the priority to save the planet. But be careful what you wish for, as there is plenty more on your table that is really not necessary or ecologically that desirable either, and once the fingers get pointing, who knows where next they may get directed?

Nice to see Newsnight still tackling the big issues though, especially to let pass without much consideration as to why a few days ago the global concert to sort out climate awareness managed to score 1/3 the audience of the one from a sadly missed Princess. I guess it's all about priorities. And ratings.

Cheers!

  • 136.
  • At 06:09 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • David Reilly wrote:

Bottled water is a stupid trend, we never got dehydrated in the 70's or 80's. When I ask for J20 to be diluted for my children in the pub (to avoid giving them aspartame which is in all other pop) The bar staff usually put the glass under the tap then turn it on so instead of the juice being diluted with fresh cold water they get the stuff that's been sitting in the pipe warming up for who knows how long. Also When asking for tap water how do I know the supply is under mains pressure or fed from a tank containing pigeon poo.

  • 137.
  • At 06:29 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Katherine wrote:

It's the norm to ask for tap water in restaurants here in the US, though the flavor can certainly vary depending on where you live. Funnily enough, I never drink the stuff at home!

  • 138.
  • At 06:34 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • paul wrote:

Here in zurich it is normal to ask for a glass of tap water when ordering an espresso coffee.
But why people buy bottled water here is beyond me, we have the best tap water in europe.
although we also recycle the most plastic drink bottles in the world.

  • 139.
  • At 06:40 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • paul wrote:

In Switzerland almost all tap water is of a high standard, though the sales of bottled water is very high.
Switzerland is the world leader in P.E.T plastic bottle recycling.
Why can we do it? because we care!

  • 140.
  • At 06:43 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mike Stamets wrote:

I find that the tap water is different in every city I visit, and it's hard for me to adjust to the taste of some. I buy bottled water in Chicago and in Austin, Texas. I also buy it in third world countries. New York water is great, and I love the water in San Francisco, London, Amsterdam and Maui. At home in Round Rock Texas I drink filtered tap water, but I always have a 10 gallon jug of bottled water on hand in case some construction worker cuts the pipes somewhere. At most US restaurants, iced water is served gratis to all guests upon being seated. No need to ask (except to ask for more), but I often also choose the Southern Abomination, "Iced Tea". I know it's not very British, but when in Texas, drink as the Texans do, and they keep refilling your glass for free!

  • 141.
  • At 07:15 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Kate wrote:

During live earth at Wembley on Saturday we were all told about the way that these water bottles were affecting the environment and to reuse them whenever we could. I try to fill up bottles when I can instead of buying new ones but this was made considerably more difficult on Saturday by Wembley's policy of taking all caps of bottles as you enter and throwing them away. We were told that this was for security purposes which made a strange kind of sense until we realised that the caps were left on the bottles that they sold at the bar.

  • 142.
  • At 07:18 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jennifer Ratcliffe wrote:

I drink filter water fitted in my house which removes any impurities left in tap water. Tap water obtained from streams, lakes, rivers is collected in reservoirs and is often subject to impurities including bacteria, pesticides, parasites, chemicals and toxins. Chlorine is added to public water to kill off harmful micro-organisms, but microfiltration systems (many different systems from Brita carbo type filter to ion-exchange resin filters) are designed to collect impurities, contaminants and heavy metals so that they don't become an extra burden for your body's detoxification system. I use a Swiss brand (Sigg) camping bottles (1 lt) for my water intake through out the day, and fill a glass jug to get water quickly.

What a lovely idea if restaurants could invest in a filtration system and serve filtered tap water in glass - possibly charge for it...not perfect, but they say if you drink tap water, you're surely drinking someone else's water 6 times round. Yuck.

I do bring my own water out with me, rarely use bottles, but do buy bottled water in restaurants.......it is a very provocative subject.

  • 143.
  • At 07:18 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • JON CROSS wrote:

Most people don't know that it is in the wording of a Pub Drinks Licence that they are required by law to provide free tap water to customers if they ask for it. I wonder if the same applies to restaurants and the like! If you have been refused tap water free in any eating establishment it might be worth mentioning that free tap water is a right and insist they give you some. Try it and see. jc

  • 144.
  • At 07:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Gaz wrote:

This might sound snobbish(!!!) but what kind of restaurant doesn't provide a pitcher/additional glass of ice water for a diners table?(probably the same ones that serve condiments in sachets?)
I do think eating out is a luxury and if you can't afford to push the boat out for a water then you probably should eat home, but I do agree with the customers right to choose and tap water should be available if desired, and free! Surely loss of tip would offset the cost of the $3 water!

  • 145.
  • At 08:03 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

Environmental issues aside, the bottled water fad may have a negative effect on dental health in the United States. The widespread flouridation of tap water has been largely responsible for the drop in the need for dentures and other kinds of reparative dentistry. If kids stop drinking tap water in flavor of bottled drinks, their adult teeth will be weaker and more prone to decay.

  • 146.
  • At 08:16 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

It's actually a widely-held myth that restaurants must provide tap water when requested. That said I always ask for tap water with a meal because I refuse to fork out for a basic commodity. There are a number of restaurants in this city which make it quite clear that they serve only mineral water, which for this reason will receive neither a return visit nor a recommendation from myself.

The whole bottled water craze has its roots in the wider obsession with health and strict control of every atom that passes our lips, and is hugely popular amongst fairtrade, organic, whole-food loving Guardianistas. Maybe they'd think twice if they realised that far from being socially conscious, feeding the demand for this pointless product is highly irresponsible environmentally - yes, even more so than an EasyJet weekend in Prague...

I'd actually go so far as to say that in an ideal world we should return to the provision of public fountains in town centres (as in Victorian times) but no doubt that would be shouted down by manufacturers of overpriced soft drinks. Besides, in a nation which now fails to provide such essentials as public conveniences, no doubt water fountains would end up filling in, serving the urinary needs of drunken revellers instead.

In short I have no problem with so-called 'Corporation pop' which is why I'm so vehemently opposed to those who would medicate the population by using tap water to distribute fluoride to the masses. If you dislike the taste, it's not difficult or expensive to have a in-line filter fitted to the plumbing which removes any remaining residues and impurities.

It baffles me why Americans drink Dansani by the crate, which is of course nothing more than purified tap water sold back at about 200% profit. Thankfully in the UK we had the sense to reject this cynical attempt to separate fools from money...

  • 147.
  • At 08:27 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • bongo wrote:

having worked in a commercial kitchen i would never ask for tap water in a restaurant.

i don't think things have changed that much since Down and Out in Paris and London was written.

  • 148.
  • At 08:31 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Phil Williams wrote:

I buy bottled water for the family but re-use the bottles for several months. I read that some monomers can come out of the plastic and harm me but I think this defies all the laws of physics and take no notice.

Am I in danger?

  • 149.
  • At 08:33 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Mrs Susan C Carson wrote:

When I visit a restaurant I always ask for tap water, why pay for something that should be free.

  • 150.
  • At 09:01 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jens Poschet wrote:

just fill the reusable bottles with water, leave the lid lightly unscrewed and put them in the fridge or leave them outside overnight. The chemical taste will disappear since the chlorine base products will "evaporate".

Alternativly get a jug with a resin based water filter.

  • 151.
  • At 09:08 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • vijay K Vijayaratnam wrote:

For goodness sake, this topic of whether one drink from the tap or from bottled water was debated almost two decades ago .As a water engineer specialising in water treatment process and systems quater of century ago, i would advocate people to drink from the tap and not from bottled water,many may not have the adequae minerals and even for babies bottled water not encouraged.There were TV programmes decades ago giving the impression that some sell tap water as bottled water and make huge profits from unsuspecting customers.We are living in an era in which the comedians decide the rule highjacking scientific issues like global warming for their own popularity and it looks like scientific aspect of water now in the hands of fasion industry which promote bottled water as a fasion item on hand whether on the move wheher walking or cycling.

  • 152.
  • At 09:16 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • John B wrote:

If the concern was pollution, the standard solution is make the container 10% of the purchase price so that it becomes a cottage industry to recycle.
As expected this conversation is about social engineering by the sandals and lentil crowd. Amusing that carrying a bottle of water for no apparent reason is a trademark of that group.

  • 153.
  • At 09:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Jessica wrote:

I live in the US and the tap water in my area is horrible. It has a bad smell and a funny taste. I have always drank bottled water because of this. I enjoy my bottled water and refuse to drink tap.

  • 154.
  • At 09:39 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • kathleen wrote:

My choice to use bottled water just depends on what country I'm visiting. If i have a "health" issue with an areas water then and then only do i choose bottled water. If there is a plastics bin in the area I'm sure to use it.

  • 155.
  • At 09:45 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

I have a plastic bottle that I half fill with water then put it in the freezer overnight. Next day, I top it up with tap water. The result is a bottle of chilled water that lasts most of the day. Cost zero.

  • 156.
  • At 09:46 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Michael Rank wrote:

Bottled water is the biggest ripoff in the history of world capitalism. It simply shows the power of packaging and branding (horrible word). And there is bottled water snobbery with water imported from as far away as Fiji. Well, if people are prepared to pay silly prices for H2O it's the ultimate in more money than sense, but I hate having to pay the environmental price for other people's stupidity. We always ask for tap water in restaurants and have never been refused.

And may I suggest that people give their real names on this and similar forums, what are you afraid of? (admittedly when discussing eg religious fanaticism it's a bit different, but water/environment...???)

  • 157.
  • At 09:50 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Joseph, Maastricht wrote:

Oh good,

Another group of environmental campaigners trying to tell us all what we should and should not do.

Why don't people who wish to drink tap water go ahead and do it, but please do not try and tell me what I should do.

This site seems overrun with 'green' activists who seem to think they have the moral high ground over the rest of us poor mortals.

I dread to think what these campaigners will come up with next?, perhaps people will only allowed to read the 'Guardian' as it is the only paper that the chattering classes seem to think worthy of existence?.

I thank my lucky stars that I live in The Netherlands where the green fascists are drowned out by people who do not have to bow to their idiotic ideas and policies.

I do use tap water at home - but only after it has been filtered. Until I started doing this a couple of years ago I was buying new electric kettles every 8-10 months, so I can only imagine what the water was doing to my digestive system! When I'm out though I always rely on bottled water. As well treated as tap water is said to be, you never can tell what the authorities are putting in it, especially when you're away from home.

  • 159.
  • At 09:58 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

i prefer the 'tap' variety due to the chlorination. If even a trace of bacteria is present in non-chlorinated water it becomes a breading ground for bacteria.

  • 160.
  • At 10:17 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Peter Hyde wrote:

I have never bought a bottle of water. I will never buy a bottle of water. I pay the water company to deliver it to me via a tap.

  • 161.
  • At 10:34 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Alan Jessopp wrote:

Evian spelt backwards is naive......

  • 162.
  • At 10:35 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • coomare wrote:

Tap water is cheaper. But i would have to raise two points.

Recently in Ontario, Canadian provinces legislature they found that the tap water contains excessive amount of lead which is very bad on the longhaul. It should be the same story for residences.

Also i was suffering from allergy problems and hence was not able to drink cold water. So everytime i asked hot water lots of places offered me the hot water that came in taps...

  • 163.
  • At 10:51 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • jeremy cassidy wrote:

Transporting water in pipes is INTELLIGENT.

Transporting water on a lorry is, err... NOT!!! unless there is no other option.

Tap water with a water filter, for example the reverse osmosis system, gives excellent quality water. Systems are available at a very reasonable cost especially from the USA.
We should still be aware florine is being added to tap water as standard, for the benefit of poor children, who don't use toothpaste. So British tap water is of a high standard, but we can have excellent quality supplied with VERY LITTLE waste and extremely efficiently.

There are people who complain about others 'telling them what to do'. Once it is understood the true cost of bottled water... and for it to be reflected in it's financial cost, will the complaining to really begin. BY OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN!! err and all other life forms that somehow manage without our luxurious essentials.
The saddest thing is we flush our toilets with drinking water.

That's all from me, thanks for reading!!

  • 164.
  • At 10:55 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Judy wrote:

I disagree strongly with the idea that limiting or stopping bottled water sales is some kind of attack on the consumer's liberty and choice, as suggested earlier by Patrick. For a start, it's insanity to use dwindling oil resources to produce plastic bottles that are used once and then dumped. Many brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water anyway. Re wine bottles, why not start cleaning and reusing them like the glass fizzy drinks bottles of old - there's no need to even recycyle them.

  • 165.
  • At 10:59 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Ju wrote:

I went to a bistro-style pavement cafe in Warminster and asked for tap water. When I got the bill, they'd charged £1.50 (outrageous), saying it was filtered. After complaint they halved the price. Needless to say, I won't eat there again!

  • 166.
  • At 11:04 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Bryan Yates wrote:

Drinking tapwater is an excellent idea.
BUT, withthe healthy additive that the Army use--O2GO which is a small sachet of minerals and taste which would encourage more tap water to be drunk.
To encourage water drinking you should add O"GO and get 6 different tasteswith a healthy mineral content

  • 167.
  • At 11:07 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Karen Smith wrote:

We live close to the Buncefield site and I don't care whatever anyone says our water has never been the same since Buncefield went up! We wouldn't dream of drinking the water that came out of our tap without boiling it first - we all drink bottled water on a daily basis - there is no "twang" in the bottled water as there is in the tap water (taste wise)!

  • 168.
  • At 11:08 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • matt keen wrote:

Finally.

I've been banging on about this for ages. Can we even allow ourselves to consider the (economic) fact that this stuff flows from the ground, yet costs more than Petrol, which the last time i saw, had to be drilled from beneath the ocean bed, refined, and transported accross thousands of miles?

Please, please someone at Newsnight get in touch. I'm a commercials producer (no water ones yet thank god). Please call me. Get in touch. Let's give this issue (as apposed to trend) the room to be discussed in a stand alone programme (advertised) which single handedly shows bottled water for what it is, the definition of waste in all forms. We'll need a producer, mind...

You have my email. Thanks.

  • 169.
  • At 11:09 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Eileen Quin wrote:

Our family drinks tap water at home but at work some 5 miles away the water tastes of bleach and is undrinkable. Authorities should be very careful what they add to our drinking water and people allowed a choice.

  • 170.
  • At 11:12 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Gavin Esler was nothing short of heroic tonight in defence of drinking tap water when interviewing the man from the drinks association. However, he might have mentioned the larger ethical problem – that the world spend on this stuff is now over $50 billion – more than the integral western aid spend from now till the year 2010! People should ditch the bottle, drink tap water (just as good) and give the cash to the charity Water-Aid.

  • 171.
  • At 11:12 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Interesting to note that neither Gavin Essler or the man from the drinks industry mentioned that the customer has the choice about whether to buy this product. Simple, leave it to the market.

I thought Gavin Essler was a bit self righteous banging on about the energy cost of transporting water. Pretty rich coming from the representative of an organisation which has just wasted untold energy broadcasting the pointless Live Earth concert.

  • 172.
  • At 11:16 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Karen Smith wrote:

Ho Ho Ho - I have just gone through and read everyone's comments on your site. We live close to the Buncefield site and I wouldn't even consider drinking our water without boiling it first. Obviously everyone that has posted messages on your site have never experienced a problem. If you could see our water when you fill a glass out our the tap you wouldn't touch it. It is therefore our choice to buy bottled water (and boil our tap water) for consumption - all those people who want to drink tap water then let them. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole !

  • 173.
  • At 11:18 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Robin Watkins wrote:


Dear Newsnight,

Re; Bottled water

My family and I are forced to drink
bottled water by the Department of Health because this Department insists on putting an industrial effluent into our tap water. This chemical is called hexafluorosilicic acid and is supposed to help your teeth. This practise is illegal under the Convention of Human Rights and is medical treatment without informed consent. This chemical is associated with many health problems just talk to the Producer of the Inside Story? at the BBC in Newcastle. He tried to make a programme on the relationship of bone cancer and fluoridated water. The DH put obstacles in his way. This is what you people in London should be debating as you may be next on the list for these toxic chemicals in your tap water.

This is a very serious matter.

  • 174.
  • At 11:19 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • salina wrote:

i would like to comment on tap water. what i know is tap water is recycled like anything else but i just remembered a program can not remeber the nAme of it but this is what i majorly remember:1) re- using plastic bottles for water IS NOT HEALTHY BECAUSE APPARENTLY EACH TIME THE BOTTLE IS SQWEEZED BY CARRYING IT KIND OF PUTS SOME OF THE PLASTIC INGREDIENTS BACK TO THE WATER(MY WORDING IS NOT SCIENTIFIC BUT IT RESEMBLES THE FACT ,2) TAP WATER IS NOT GOOD BECAUSE IT IS RECYLED AND SOME INGREDIENTS DOES NOT GET ELEMINATED IN THE PROCESS LIKE THE CONTRASEPTIVE PILLS THE HORMONS AND OTHERS WHICH AFFECTS HEALTH AND SEXULITY AND HUMAN PRODUCTIVITY (BABIES)

  • 175.
  • At 11:21 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • David A. Henderson wrote:

The article was cut off by Newsnight Scotland I am Scottish and this really get me very annoyed etc etc BBC please finish before switching to some silly issue involving the Holyrood numpties

  • 176.
  • At 11:23 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • Andrew Quilley wrote:

In this complex world there are usually many different sides to every question. This one, however, is refreshingly simple: water from the tap is less wasteful of energy and materials than bottled water. (If you don't believe it, turn on the tap and wait for a delivery van or plastic bottle to appear. On second thoughts, don't - you'll waste a lot of water.) It always makes me laugh how people with a vested interest are so ready to delude themselves or, worse, tell blatant lies to defend their position. The apologist for the bottled water industry on tonight's programme was a perfect example.

  • 177.
  • At 11:24 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • John Dewe wrote:

I would like to know why the school authorities especially in Gloucestershire are banning the use of water fountains in schools. Supposedly this spreads disease, my sons who were 16 and at school were not allowed to go for water in class time, were told 'if they wanted water they were to buy it in 200ml bottles at 85p' if they required any other water they were to get it from the lavatory basin in the boys toilet whether or not the taps were contaminated, At one point there was a lot of sickness at school.I wonder how much pressure is brought on to the schools by high preasure salesmanship by the water companies. and lack of commonsense by those in command.

  • 178.
  • At 11:55 PM on 10 Jul 2007,
  • walter plant wrote:

I have NEVER bought bottled water,I drink three pints a day of tap water,which I pay for in water charges but do not have to carry a bottle about and with meals either in or out,I usually drink wine but if I need water I ask for it from a tap.The arguments about the costs of bottled water have been already made.

  • 179.
  • At 12:09 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Bottled water is bad for the environment by
a) plastic bottles discarded in land fill sites
b) plastic bottles having to be manufactured from oil and using energy from oil for a one off use
c) water having to be transported between places by burning oil in lorry engines.

Its madness. Possible the most efficient way to poison the atmosphere for your children. It is equally as mad to be wasting rapidly depleting oil resources for such a frivolous purpose.

  • 180.
  • At 12:10 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • miguel wrote:

Filtered tap water at home and bottled when getting carry-out. At the office I drink a litre and half using a reusable plastic hiking canister. All that being said, if the water tastes "funny/not right" I get bottled and recycle the empty.

  • 181.
  • At 12:19 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • sally lawrence wrote:

the problem of plastict bottles wasted into the environment is too evident. i have travelled extensively through india, for example. india do not know how to manage plastic waste. look out of a window and all you can see are huge piles of plastic bottles thrown into a back yard , or onto the roof of a building. out of a train window along the whole 10hour journey scattered plastic. they will never be removed.. their sacred cows chew on plastic bags. there is no thought of how to dispose of them. this is not just limited to india though. look all around and you will see plastic bottles deliberately left never to decompose. there is the topic of using biodregradable plastic, but the majority of bottles are not made yet of this material.. plastic is forever here to accumulate and contaminate

  • 182.
  • At 12:50 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Ian Wonnacott wrote:

Tap water? Yes it's excellent for sterilising surgical equipment, removing varnish,putting fires out etc. Drink it? Only someone with damaged taste buds - probably due to drinking tap water - would be able to. As for carbon footprints, lets have some proper scientific evidence from somebody who isn't funded by the Green Brigade.

  • 183.
  • At 02:47 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • ashni behal wrote:

tell the bottle water companies such as coke and peopsi to stop marketing it so strongly--but that would be unamerican--profit at any cost,freedom of choice, etc!!! damn us yanks!!!

ash

  • 184.
  • At 02:51 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Nattha wrote:

I used to drink Tap water regularly when I was in London. It is fine and I feel good not to use too many plastic bottle. However when I ask for tap water in a restaurant, they seem not happy at all. The manner of waiters make me feel embarassed. That's because my bill will be much lessened if I drink tap water. Some restaurant even charge 50 cent for a glass of tap water. That's ridiculous. I advocate for drinking from tap water to save environment.

  • 185.
  • At 03:09 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Lynne wrote:

There was a time when a covered jug of iced tap water was placed on a restaurant table as a matter of course. Some foodie establishments do not offer tap water, preferring to make a profit from the sale of bottled waters. At home, there is a filter on the tap. I would like to see restaurants placing water jugs on tables instead of needing to ask.

  • 186.
  • At 03:12 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • RJKT wrote:

By all means keep gulping your Perriers down .Torrents and avalanches of it.And turning your noses up at something as plebian as 'tap water'.

Just bear in mind , in the not-too-distant future ,the few that survive ,will be running around -tongues literally hanging out , chasing sparsely falling raindrops. To the exclusion of all else: as,water will always be the stuff of life.

The nights may well see most ,huddled around campfires in the depths of caves, listening with bated breath, to some bard conjuring up visions of ancestors quaffing Cabernets, Champagne and Chablis by the rivulet.

Talk of fiddling while Rome burns..

  • 187.
  • At 03:36 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • RJKT wrote:

By all means keep gulping your Perriers down .Torrents and avalanches of it.And turning your noses up at something as plebian as 'tap water'.

Just bear in mind , in the not-too-distant future ,the few that survive ,will be running around -tongues literally hanging out , chasing sparsely falling raindrops. To the exclusion of all else: as,water will always be the stuff of life.

The nights may well see most ,huddled around campfires in the depths of caves, listening with bated breath, to some bard conjuring up scarcely credible visions of ancestors quaffing Cabernets, Champagne and Chablis by the rivulet.

Talk of fiddling while Rome burns.

At any rate ,how much more cavalier-or arriviste -can we get .

  • 188.
  • At 03:49 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Arianna wrote:

As a child, I used to always drink tap water in restaurants and cafes in Holland. But a few years ago that started changing and from then on bottled water was your only option.

It's ridiculous, and I agree that it was done to increase the amount of money you cough up after a lunch, brunch or dinner. Thankfully, it's starting to become popular again to have large glass bottles containing tap water to be provided by restaurants instead of small plastic bottles.

I always drink tap water, and when I do buy bottled water I always re-use the bottle. I honestly get tired of people complaining about the taste of tap water. It's water! Consider yourself lucky you have it! I've grown up in Africa, where our (filtered!) water tasted like milk. But trust me, if you're thirsty, you'll drink it!

I've lived in London as well, and was frowned upon by many when I said I drank the tap water there - it was fine! I've never understood the 'evian' craze - i've tried evian and really, it's not that amazing?

We need to start understanding that this is a precious resource that we cannot keep wasting or complaining about. Furthermore - for those that think this is a "lefty" movement - move to a village in Africa, Bolivia, Australia, where ever there isn't water, and try and live there! I highly doubt you won't comeback a changed person. This isn't just a 'green' movement, it's one of simple logic.

  • 189.
  • At 05:32 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • RJKT wrote:

This insane craze for designer bottled water, Perrier , Evian and so on , is so very typical of how profligate and how cavalier we've all become about our Earth's resources .( We'll have none of that "the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof " bit.)

While on the topic ,this particular one would be hard to top .Media reports have it that Catherine Zeta Jones ( as British as they come ) washes her hair with nothing less than fresh Beluga caviar flown specially in for her ,all the way from (believe it or not ) Iran. Then rounds it all off by using a special truffle-based shampoo.

(One shudders to think of her lustrous locks, wilting to nothingness ,once Cheney gives the green light to nuke Iran.)

The most delicious water I've ever had came -not from some fancy sounding wellspring deep in the Pyrenees - but straight from a mountain stream in Darjeeling (of all places) -back in 1961.

For all the arrivistes and snobs among us - ever tried tender coconut water ,straight off the palm. Beats Perrier or Evian -hands down.

  • 190.
  • At 06:44 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Cat wrote:

This movement has started, the train has left the station, we are all aboard, there is no opt out, when we donated money to comic relief, what we were actually saying was we no longer want poverty in the world, poverty is accentuated by a warming climate, what we were actually saying was we are willing to give up the luxuries in our society so that others can have basics in theirs, the train has left the station, bottled water is perhaps one of the early stops, let those associated with the commercial side of bottled water be sensible, look at distribution and cut emmissions, knowing that other industries will be later stops on this train to remove luxury items destination.

  • 191.
  • At 08:26 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Brian Hudson wrote:

I am chairman of a community cricket club in Gloucestershire that has a bar and was fascinated by the comments by the apologist for the Soft Drinks Association about recycling.

We have set up facilities to separate plastic bottles, and cans and glass bottles for recycling. However the local council have told us that this is illegal!

  • 192.
  • At 08:57 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Max wrote:

I put bottles of tap in the fridge. Once chilled, tap water tastes just like bottled. I challenge anyone to say differently.

  • 193.
  • At 09:04 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • jeff wrote:

water should be free anywhere.
A small surcharge to cover the commercial cost relating to hygene,ice and cleaning charge is ok.
Water is crucial to all form of life,
and must be available to preserve life, and protect the environment, with-out the need to worry about plastic trash.
How do we make people care?

  • 194.
  • At 09:15 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Joshya wrote:

Does anyone else agree that perhaps Gavin was a tad harsh on the representative of the BSDA? he sat there while Letwin and Miliband had an unstructured arguement but when the poor bloke from the BSDA tryed to talk he was slightly unfair on him. I rarely feel sorry for the guests on Newsnight but this time I believe he was a tad unfair, I am also not one to critisize Gavin Essler as he is a personal favourite. What do people think? x

  • 195.
  • At 09:32 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Water's water.

  • 196.
  • At 09:55 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Peter Ingot wrote:

Buying water in bottles?
Come on people, don't you know a rip off when you see one? Bottled water is a crime.

the cost of a public drinking fountain is marginal compared to the cost of disposing of plastic bottles. Bottled water is any water that doesn't need treatment. The water coming out of your tap tastes bad BECAUSE people pay so much more for the nice stuff to go in bottles.

Always demand tap water, demand drinkable water from your water company and name and shame restaurants that won't serve tap water (some of them train their staff to pursuade you to have coca cola instead)

  • 197.
  • At 10:11 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Peter Ingot wrote:

If you are worried about water from near buncefield, boiling it won't do any good. Boiling kills bacteria. Pollution won't go away if you boil it.

A solar still is a very simple and cheap technology that deals with both pollutants and bacteria. You can easily make one yourself, collect water off your roof and tell the water companies and their cronies in the bottled water industry to go hang. Maybe someone should set up a solar still by the Thames on a hot summers day. That would be a great protest against all the people selling extortionately priced Evian.

This stuff about not refilling water bottles sounds like propaganda. Is it being used as a reason never to buy bottled water or a reason to buy a fresh bottle every time you get thirsty. From the way some of the idiots on this board are talking I suspect the latter. The bottled water companies have already made the bottles extra flimsy to deter refilling. Get a good sturdy water bottle if it bothers you.

The quality of tap water in Yorkshire is second to none but I still filter mine at home because that makes a noticeable difference in the taste. Water ompanies have great expertise and are very successful at removing both sedimentary and dissolved components in the water to achieve the standards set by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. However, those standards are the best that can be practically achieved (they don't remove every last bit of things like pesticides, lead, arsenic etc) and the filter is an extra protection.

Adequate water is essential for health so I use carefully chosen bottled water when on the move, at meetings in warm rooms, etc. Bottled waters from natural sources vary in their mineral content giving another element of choice to the public. Locally bottled water may be available. Recyclable glass bottles are hard to find. Plastic ones are not ideal but are light to carry and can be recycled.

The biggest current threat to our tap water is Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 under which the Government may add fluoride, ostensibly to reduce tooth decay in children. Evidence of fluoridation's efficacy is scanty; evidence that it is cumulatively harmful is overwhelming, known to biochemists and to doctors in India where it has crippled millions but misunderstood by many in politics and in the professions of dentistry and medicine.

It is a Fundamental Human Right not to be medicated against my will so it is totally unacceptable for tap water to be used as a means of medicating the population. What next, aspirin because some people have headaches, Prozac beacause some are depressed?
The National Pure Water Association opposes water fluoridation for scientific reasons and to uphold Human Rights.

  • 199.
  • At 10:33 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • jeremy cassidy wrote:

Transporting water in pipes is INTELLIGENT.

Transporting water on a lorry is, err... NOT!!! unless there is no other option.

Tap water with a water filter, for example the reverse osmosis system, gives excellent quality water. Systems are available at a very reasonable cost especially from the USA.
We should still be aware florine is being added to tap water as standard, for the benefit of poor children, who don't use toothpaste. So British tap water is of a high standard, but we can have excellent quality supplied with VERY LITTLE waste and extremely efficiently.

There are people who complain about others 'telling them what to do'. Once it is understood the true cost of bottled water... and for it to be reflected in it's financial cost, will the complaining to really begin. BY OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN!! err and all other life forms that somehow manage without our luxurious essentials.
The saddest thing is we flush our toilets with drinking water.

That's all from me, thanks for reading!!

  • 200.
  • At 10:51 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

House Water? urgh, unless its to fill the kettle or wash up with. It tastes awful. I just wait for BOGOF offers on water in the local supermarket and stock up for weeks.

  • 201.
  • At 10:55 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • L Jones wrote:

The only comments I hear from people is that bottled or filtered water tastes better.

The next sentence is likely to continue with concern and futile actions over rubbish disposal, carbon footprints and global warming.

Trivial isn't it.

Nothing that a dress-down, or worse a dress-up day at work won't fix. Or perhaps a rock concert, getting emotional and having a good time - today's panaceas.

  • 202.
  • At 11:03 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Stefan Paetow wrote:

Tap water only works if it is pleasant to drink. Bristol's tap water (well, Hotwells' to be more precise) is so chlorinated that the bathroom used to smell like a swimming pool when I ran a bath. Leamington Spa and Hitchin in Hertfordshire have great tap water. Abingdon is not bad either. I ask for bottled water in a restaurant because I like carbonated water when going out, which you don't get with tap water (unless you have a SodaStream machine in the kitchen).

  • 203.
  • At 11:15 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Luci Smith wrote:

Not being a soft drink drinker, I drink major amounts of tap water.I occasionally also buy a bottle if I am at a club where the music is free and they need to make money to pay for live music. Then I use the bottle for school or cycling.
Sometimes the water in Copenhagen is too heavy and one should either boil it to reduce the calcium or take a two-liter bottle for the day to lighten up one's kidneys.
We have just been permitted to recycle the plastic bottles. One ought to be careful using them too long as refills, since they have a tendency to collect bacteria. An old Irish method for rinsing plastic baby bottles is to use them for tea once in awhile, but not too hot.

And my French friend taught me that the trick when coming to France, where the water often takes getting used to, is to start with one or two bottles, if you are very thirsty. And as soon as you have the chance, go into a cafe and order a pastis which is served with tap water. The mixture of Ricard and water soothes the stomach and (normally) helps your stomach flora to adjust. After that, you can drink from the tap. One can also get accustomed to drinking water which is closer to room temperature, since it is better for the stomach. Then you don't open the fridge all of the time and use energy.

Water is an issue. In the 1970's, Doris Lessing, my favorite sage, said that in the future, wars would be waged over water and so they are.

Since the plastic is not leaving the planet, I try to get along on water from the tap and teas instead of all of the sugary and carbonated drinks. Better for you and easy if you have a home. One is only happy to be able to discuss this "problem" while whole villages in Africa are full of women who spend their lives getting water. And all of the spectators watching the Tour de France who are delirious if they can pick up a plastic water bottle that their idol has discarded on the route.

The idea of saving water by brushing your teeth in the shower is silly. If you limit your shower time and turn off the tap while you brush, you save even more. Actresses aren't always renowned for brains.

I became aware of the plastic problem while watching a French tv programme about 15 years ago, when they showed the bottles being ploughed down on a landfill on a beach. Right then, I knew that in my situation, I would try to conserve. Glass bottles have been phased out by the EU, partly becuase they are so heavy for the people who move them and ruin their backs. Denmark fought the directives on cans and plastic for ages, but lost.
And Scottish water does taste good and the water from Greenland and Iceland tastes even better! I smoke cigarettes and eat lots of chili, but I can taste water. Also if it is wonky. One can buy water instead of champagne, which I personally always found overrated. And get your local authorities to recycle the plastic.

We just had a short -term crisis in Denmark with e-coli bacteria in the water supply of a provincial area that hosts a popular water park that is a closed-in bubble and a very popular family holiday venue. These things happen more and more often. Luckily, our media chose to be open about it, and the authorities found the source after two days. Because water really is an issue of death and life!

  • 204.
  • At 11:33 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • EdwardIngle wrote:

I never drink bottled water unless I am absolutely desperate.

What's the point when as one of your other correspondents says, tap water is as good if not better, not to mention FREE.

  • 205.
  • At 11:41 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Alex Rothney wrote:

Many brands of bottled water are processed more than tap water. Some years ago a certain brand of bottled was banned by the USA. In "blind" tests tap water generally wins.

  • 206.
  • At 11:44 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I just simply don't trust our tap here in the US. I'd just as soon trust a politician. I grew up drinking tap water but my wife has me buying bottled. I've realized how "funny" our tap water tastes whereas the bottled stuff - not at all. Not snobbery - paranoia, maybe, but not snobbery.

  • 207.
  • At 11:45 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Lottie wrote:

I always ask for tap water but occationally still get given bottled...

I see people in the supermarket buying huge amounts of bottled water and its really beyond me why they do it. The water in this country is high regulated and in a practical sence, where are they going to keep it all?

I really dislike the taste of some bottled water and the idea that it has been sat in a bottle for weeks, or even longer, really puts me off drinking it! Why have stale water when the tap provides fresher and cleaner water then the bottled?

  • 208.
  • At 11:53 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Judi Reid wrote:

I work in a secondary school. If I tell a pupil to get a drink of water from a tap they think I am trying to poison them! They will only drink water from the cooler or from a bottle. I'm afraid the younger generation have been taken in by the ad campaigns and pseudo 'health' benefits of bottled water.

  • 209.
  • At 11:54 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Ian Mather wrote:

Our tap water is excellent. Better than most bottled water.

As many items, water is being sold as a lifestyle choice, and the label is more important than the contents.

A bit like "official beer of this sporting contest." Doesnt make me want to drink it though.. If anything, quite the opposite.

  • 210.
  • At 11:57 AM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Dr S Banerji wrote:

I remember the travails of travel before the advent of bottled water It was a toss up between dehydration by thirst or by diarrhea! It is not just a matter of drinking water, but the running water used to wash salad ingredients. Water lines may be mixed accidentally with sewage, and the source can on occasion have surges of infection levels which average disinfection cannot handle. Tap water may also get infected on storage through dirty containers, or even by hands and the muck under finger nails. Bottled water is better unless you drink straight off a reliable reverse osmosis filter.

I had to drink bottled water when I lived in London because the tap water in my flat was making me so ill. Thames Water never came to look at it and so I faced with no other choice other than to drink bottled water. Now back in Kent, I drink the tap water without any problems. I don't mind drinking either, as long as it's safe!

  • 212.
  • At 12:33 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Nia wrote:

I always ask for tap water...it tastes good and it's free. Who cares if it makes you look cheap!

  • 213.
  • At 12:41 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Sian wrote:

I think it's a real wonder of modern marketing that bottled water has taken off in such a big way! Who would have thought you could persuade people to pay for something that's virtually free from a tap?! I'm glad the issue has been raised, it involves so much waste and transportation.

  • 214.
  • At 12:46 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

We always ask for a jug of tap water when we go out for a meal and are not ashamed to do so. We also filter our water at home and will decant this into bottles when we go out rather than keep buying small bottles of water. When we do buy bottled water we try to buy something sourced in that country rather than imported brands. We never go for the 'trendy' brands they charge far too much for the kudos.

  • 215.
  • At 12:47 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • john wrote:

Depends where you live - in Oxford the tap water is rank, but when i was in Angus, Scotland it tasted fine. So we buy bottled drinking water in Oxford, but it's quite cheap at around 20p a litre from the supermarket.

  • 216.
  • At 12:51 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Raymond Hopkins wrote:

Here in Finland, it is taken for granted that tap water is freely available in restaurants and cafes without necessarily having to ask for it. Why should there be any embarrassment?

  • 217.
  • At 12:59 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Ka-lok Kan wrote:

It depends where I travel. If I am in London, I will never ask for tap water, knowing the recycled water from the river would make ppl sick.

I wouldn't mind to ask for tap water in country side restaurants.

  • 218.
  • At 01:06 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Why would you want to drink water bottled or from the tap? Can't remember when I drank the last glass of the stuff let alone paid for it

  • 219.
  • At 01:07 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Restuarants and pubs are legally obliged to serve you free tap water if you ask for it. They may not charge so don't be too grateful for what you are entitled to

  • 220.
  • At 01:13 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • RJPierson wrote:

I use bottled water for the handiness of the bottle. We have 600ft well and the water from that is cold and clear but even so we run it through a couple of filters just to remove sediment. I consider bottled water handy to carry though I have been known to snap a 2 quart army canteen to my computer carrying back pack.

  • 221.
  • At 01:19 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Tap water all the way, sometimes with the addition of a fruit squash of some type. That's about all I drink.

This reminded me of the Red Dwarf Episode "Better Than Life" where there's a news report along the lines of:

"The man was attempting to poison the mineral spring in france which is the source of all the world's Perrier water. Had he succeeded experts believe the middle class would have been wiped out within three weeks."

  • 222.
  • At 01:54 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • doug wrote:

There's nothing wrong with corperation pop. Over priced,over "rated. What next water waiters. Misure would one like to taste the Chatux Nurf du Tap July07 vintage".

Ho they already do!! stop the world I wanna get off

  • 223.
  • At 01:59 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Christina Spybey wrote:

Now I feel guilt free asking for tap water in restaurants. Sometimes when we ask for tap water in restaurants, they give us a guilt look.

  • 224.
  • At 02:39 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Julie wrote:

I always drink tap water. The last time I bought some bottled water, it tasted of plastic and chemicals.

  • 225.
  • At 02:53 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • nadine wrote:

I always ask for tap if I'm in a restaurant. I only drink bottled water for convenience when I'm on the go or at the gym. Some places don't make this easy! I've been to a couple of fast food places that refused to give me tap water. It went something like this:

Me: I'll have a cup of water to drink.
Cashier: Sorry, we don't have cups of water, we just have bottled.
Me: Well I see that you have cups, and you must have tap water, right?
Cashier: No.
Me: So you're saying that the people working here don't wash their hands?
Cashier: Well we have water for washing our hands, but that's not safe to drink.

This was in Washington DC, not some third world country. I didn't pursue it because I know it's probably not the cashier's fault, and he's probably just following the directions of a very mean, stingy franchise owner. But this has happened at more than one place, and it's ridiculous!

  • 226.
  • At 02:58 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • S Iyer wrote:

In some parts of the developing world, we have no option to bottled water because tap water is too unhygienic. If tap water is hygienic, and the level of chlorine and other components added to the water is disclosed, and if that is of acceptable level, I will.

  • 227.
  • At 03:23 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I always as for a jug of iced tap water - a few surprised looks, but I've never been refused.

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