There is no reason that the universe should be designed for our convenience.
John D. Barrow - English physicist and mathematician
I am going to ask that you read this book, Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water. No, scratch that. I am going to INSIST that you read this book. Everyone needs to read this book and I promise you I am not going to shut up about it. And sorry there will be no short cuts. There is a documentary on the subject called Tapped, but it is not good so skip it. You are going to have to read the book.
I am going to start with an excerpt from the last chapter on the future of water.
The world's rapidly growing dependence on expensive, commercial bottled water is a symptom of the fundamental failure to provide safe and affordable drinking water to everyone on the planet— which should be a basic human right. Those of us who live in the richer nations of the world are buying more and more bottled water because we increasingly fear or dislike our tap water, we distrust government to regulate, monitor, and protect public water systems adequately, we can't find public fountains anywhere anymore, we are convinced by advertisers and marketers that bottled water will make us healthier, thinner or stronger and we're told that is just another benign consumer "choice." If we let our tap water systems decay, however, soon bottled water won't be a choice—it will be a necessity, as it is already in countries without safe tap water.
And how about that tap water, one of the reasons most people that I know turn to bottled water. People who are wary of tapped water bring up cleanliness and taste. Government water systems are required to test the water hundreds of times a month which means municipal water is tested multiple times throughout the day. There are no such regulations for the bottled water industry. In fact it is one of the least regulated industries and is run by the Food and Drug Administration which is already overworked, overwhelmed and has bigger things to worry about than bottled water. Federal regulations only apply to product that is traveling between states and state regulations are rarely followed up on because it is assumed that bottled water is safe. Circular reasoning. The times when problems were found in bottled water voluntary recalls weren't issue until six months or later in many cases because the industry is not required to have outside testing or to report problems. And taste test after taste test have found that people can't tell the difference between bottled and tapped.
That's just one problem with bottled water. There is so much information in this book, this just scratches the surface. The book covers areas like the damage to the environment with these large companies setting up shop on streams and clean water resources, paying the municipalities fractions of a penny for the "product" and then making millions upon millions of dollars while they deplete the resources. Then there is the waste and trash from disposable plastic water bottles. No matter how much people recycle only the smallest fraction is actually being reused. The water bottle companies are fighting bills around the US to add water bottles to bottle bills which charge an extra 5¢ to help in the cost of recycling. 5¢!!! And then there are the advertisers who have convinced us to pay thousands of dollars more for individually packaged convenience containers with something we get for free (ish).
There are certainly times where bottled water is convenient and necessary like during disaster relief, but I think all of us could make a more conscious effort to use tap water and reusable water bottles. For a sturdy spill proof water bottle I recommend the Intak Hydration Bottle by Thermos. I have bought three and got them on Amazon and at Target. I bought those before I read the book, but I will be even more fanatical about using them. I also just bought some anti-bottle bottles from Vapur. These are small foldable plastic bottles that are convenient for on the go. When empty they can be folded up and put in a bag or purse and can be refilled from taps anywhere.
We are in a fight against the big corporations who have on record declared tap water as poison and vowed to relegate tap water to taking showers and washing dishes. Think about the fact that when we were growing up there were working water fountains everywhere and as bottled water has become more ubiquitous they have fallen away. And look around next time you are out and see liter on the road. More often than not it is going to be a plastic water bottle.