Driking water directly from the faucet in south africa: potable as it must be
Just like Lara Smallman and Sylwia Presley, I took some time to reflect on the water market - the bottled water division to be precise. It is not my intention to go over all that was discussed on the articles before, but I do want to tell you my story and give more information I have found around this subject.
You all know Brazil is blessed in relation to water resources and natural resources as well. But its wealth has never meant the equally distribution throughout the country. In fact, we have both droughts and floods issues and it is also known that the water pollution has reached high levels.
I have only drunk water directly from the faucet a couple of times - in places where I did not have a choice. In fact, it was necessary to go to another continent to drink water from the faucet. It was in South Africa, which different than many might think, is a country that has been improving its technologies and sanitarian system along with the water quality - of course, those improvements are still restricted to the big urban centres. But the thing is: in my city, Salvador, the biggest after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, people are not used to drink from the faucet, preferring to buy bottled water, which seems to be more potable.
As we are aware, the bottled water is, in essence, unsustainable. Its impact on the planet is much more negative than the treated water of our (not mine) faucets. According to the study Energy Implications of Bottled Water only in the USA, in 2007, were consumed 33 billion of liters (110 per capita) of bottled water. When we count the impact of production, distribution, storage we are talking about something between 35 and 54 million of barrels of oil. The report concludes that the energetic footprint of the bottled water is two thousand more than the treated water from the faucet.
The industry of bottled water grows at high rates. Only in 2007 were consumed 206 billion of bottled water, in an invoice for over US$ 100 billion, says the report.
So what to do? Which to choose?
Where there is water treatment, this (water from the faucet) is certainly the best choice, for many reasons: its quality is strictly accompanied by the environmental institutions; it is much cheaper and it generates less impact on the planet (they also say it can prevent cavities and fight tooth decay). On the other hand, Annie Leonard, of the Story of the Bottled Water, says that where there is no good-quality water the “solution” is to pressure the public institutions for more investments in treatment and cleaning the water as well to guarantee the equal distribution of this valuable resource to all population without distinction.
Anyhow, let us know from where you drink your water.