Water Works


Here’s some astonishing news: a small town in Australia has just voted to get rid of water. Bottled water. The riled up community has declared that all the bottled water on all the shelves in all the places that it is sold, has got to go.

This declaration may be the beginning of another great rethinking of our priorities. What’s starting as a tiny trickle could become a tidal wave, a ‘just in time’ return to common sense. The idea of getting rid of plastic bags began like this with a few voices and several fingers pointing to the environmental impact of hauling water from one part of the universe to another. The cost of littering the landscape with millions of non-biodegradable plastics is pretty much incalculable.

The odd thing is most of us can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap water. This is possibly because bottled water comes mostly from municipal supplies. Some folk think if they dip their crust of bread in virgin olive oil and drink bottled water, they will live for ever. Only plastic bags and bottles live for ever. There’s absolutely no health benefit from drinking straight from a bottle.

The Archive of Family Medicine discovered nearly 1/4 of bottled water from Cleveland had significantly higher levels of bacteria, yet it can cost between 250 and 10,000 times as much as a glass of water from the faucet. Add the cost factor.

Ounce for ounce water in a plastic bottle with a fancy label costs more than gasoline. We’re spending $15 billion a year on it.

I’m not a believer. I don’t believe Wayne Enterprises’ claim that drinking their product, Holy Drinking Water, will be “a daily reminder to be kind to others.”  Nor can I entirely swallow the marketing message from the bottled water sold under the brand name of OM (OMMMMMMM). Its “manufacturer” says the product contains enough energy to  promote a positive outlook that is reinforced with the striking of a very large gong (GONGGGG) that causes Tibetan bowls to vibrate. (Ummmmm)

This whole deal with bottled water, though, has gotten terribly out of hand.

Here’s some good news: Americans flush 4.8 billion gallons of water a day. New urinals contain a few wood chips. No water. No odor. Nearly 100,000 are already in use. Each waterless urinal can save enough water to fill three swimming pools a year.

Here’s some more good news: Japanese scientists are now able to convert seawater into drinking water and produce electricity by exploiting the difference in temperatures between the surface of the sea and the depth of the ocean. The technology depends on producing condensed steam. It has no environmental impact, and costs less than $1 to produce 250 gallons–roughly the same cost as producing (rigorously tested) city tap water.

You might have noticed, in the unlikely event you go to a bar and ask for a glass of imported water, the bartender adds a couple of ice cubes made from water that came right out of the tap.  Add a wedge of lime and it’ll cost you as much as a martini.

Here’s something else to think about: It is said that French people drink wine rather than water. This is because frogs live in water and if you drink the stuff, you will eventually die while making little croaking noises…

Could this also be true?

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