Tap vs Bottle: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

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Tap versus Bottle: How safe is your drinking water? Water is one of the basic and most essential needs to sustain life. With the expansion of the world, the demand for safe drinking water has seen an exponential growth. 97% of water is seawater and unfit for human use. Two thirds of the fresh water is locked up in glaciers, leaving only 1% of the earth's water for human consumption (The World Water Organization). Global warming, urbanization and increasing demand have posed challenges for the quality and availability of drinking water globally and in the U.S. as well. The U.S. has one of the safest public drinking water system. There are around 60,000 Community Water Systems (CWS) serving 300.2 million people. In addition, there are over 100,000 Transient and Non-transient Non CWS serving 20 million people (EPA). Approximately 80% of the CWS rely on surface water as their primary source. Water supply in the Salt Lake City uses a variety of water sources, primarily ground water in the from of melted snow pack, and the alternative sources could be basin and range aquifers (Division of Water Resources). All of the surface water receives full treatment before distribution. Despite this fact, US is the largest consumer of bottled water in the world. Many reasons, like concerns about tap water quality, purity, convenience, and aesthetics are the drivers behind this basic essential being sold at a premium in the form of bottled water. From $60 billion industry in 2006, the global bottled water market valuation has exponentially grown to $99 billion in 2010 and projected to reach a value of $126 billion by 2015 (EPA) (see fig.1). According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, in 2012, the total volume of bottled water consumed in the United States was 9.67 billion gallons, a 6.2 percent increase and sales increased by 6.7 percent from the 2011 (see fig.2). Safety,

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