Most eco-friendly people know that one of the best things you can do is to carry a water bottle with you and refill it at water fountains and taps. Drinking tap water is cheaper than buying bottled water, and it’s easier to bring water with you than to always be looking fo something to drink.
It starts to get confusing when you look at all the different kinds of water bottles: there are plastic, metal, small, large, pop tops, screw tops, and everything in between. How do you know which is best for you?
It depends on you! I have two water bottles that I rotate between — a large 32 oz metal bottle and a smaller 16 oz plastic bottle. I take the plastic one with me when I know I’ll be carrying my bag for a while (for example, when shopping, or when walking around somewhere). I take the bigger one with me when I know I’ll be in one place, at the office, or at a friend’s house. For me, it’s about the weight of the bottle I’m carrying. I don’t always carry water with me, but I usually do (and when I don’t, I regret leaving it at home!).
Society’s impact on how we view water
Here’s my thing, though. I shouldn’t have to carry a water bottle full of tap water with me. I should be able to ask for a cup of water anywhere I go and not get strange looks or have the cashier wonder what to do. I should be able to find a drinking fountain and drink from it without hearing friends and strangers tell me that it’s gross. Why are we so convinced that our public water system is bad? And if it is bad, why did we let it get that bad without fixing it?
The problem: Society doesn’t value water
I took a water policy class in graduate school, and one of the discussions was about why the price of public water works is so hard to raise. Basically, because the water works are run by the state, there must be public hearings to raise the rates. But the public hears that they will have to pay 8 cents instead of 7 cents and refuses to approve the change. So the public utilities are left with not enough funding to properly update the pipes, which leads people to believe that the water isn’t good to drink. But that same public that refuses to pay a few cents more to a water utility, will rush out and pay 5 dollars or more for a case of bottled water.
The other side to this is, of course, that our water is bad because there is no possible way to filter out all the chemicals we consistently pour down the drain. To this I say – regulate polluters and think twice about what you pour down your household drain! That will eventually end up in your water supply whether you like it or not.
I hate lugging a heavy bottle around all the time. I really do. I would love to live in a place that sees that value that clean water can have. I believe that we can be that place someday. So mind what you add to the water supply, and for god’s sake, if the water utility wants to raise its rate a few cents, let them do it!