|Water is a sacred gift and, as Franciscans, we address Water as our Sister.As water scarcity becomes a bigger issue, struggles over control of water resources and systems area growing. The "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign of Corporate Accountability International specifically challenges the bottled water industry for turning water into a profit-driven commodity. There is growing concern about the impacts of bottled water on the environment and people's confidence in public water systems. Do you know where your bottled water comes from?|
Do you know where your bottled water comes from?
Probably not, because bottled water corporations like Pepsi, Coke, and Nestlé are reluctant to disclose this information. Instead, they prefer to use misleading branding to undermine confidence in public water systems and shape consumers perceptions of bottled water without revealing information about the sources or sites of the water they bottle. For example, the most popular bottled water brand, Aquafina, is just processed tap water, despite the image of the snow-capped mountain that appears on every label.
Every year, millions of dollars are spent to undermine the public's trust in their municipal water systems. What we don't realize, however, is that the water we get out of the tap is regulated far more than the bottled water we buy.
- Ads do not disclose that more than one-fourth of bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from municipal sources, just like tap water.
- Pepsi's Aquafina label features a beautiful picture of a snow-covered mountain, even though Aquafina is filtered municipal tap water.
- Bottled water corporations spent $158 million on advertising in 2005, promoting bottled water as better than tap water and undermining confidence in our public water systems.
- Bottled water corporations are changing the way people think about water. Today, three of four Americans drink bottled water, and one in five drink only bottled water.
The air we breathe, the water we drink - in these common elements we are one: one with each other, one with all life, connected with all creation. From the sacred rivers of India to the rite of Christian baptism, water is recognized as the source of life and salvation: a special "sign" of the Creator's bounty.
But water has become a commodity, a "thing" to be bought and sold. The very source of life on Earth is fast becoming available to only the highest bidder. It is being used as a tool, a weapon for achieving political / economic power. It separates the rich from the poor, the healthy from the sick, workers from beggars.
Today, over one billion people around the world don't have access to enough water. For instance, if you had a family of 6 and your home were a microcosm of the world population today, someone in your family wouldn't have access to safe drinking water. More than two billion people do not have adequate sanitation. Four thousand children die daily from an unsafe and inadequate water supply.
The UN estimates that if current trends continue, by 2025 more than two-thirds of the world's people won't have access to enough water. Already, privatization is making water service too costly for communities that were able to afford municipal service.
And where does that water in the bottle come from?
If not straight from the tap resulting in overuse of local water supplies, it is water extracted from places such as India where Coke operates bottling plants that have been drawing nearly 100 million gallons of water per year for over 15 years causing groundwater levels to fall by 40 feet. That means wells, irrigation systems and small rivers literally dry up. The poorest of the poor are now without even water.
INTERNET RESOURCES Circle of Blue
Food & Water Watch
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Story of Bottled Water is a short film that explains how bottled water has become the second largest commercial beverage sold in the U.S. In 2002, producers-primarily Nestlé, Coke and Pepsi in the U.S. - spent $93.8 million to advertise their "pure," "safe," "clean," and "healthy" products. In fact, water bottling is one of the least regulated industries in the U.S. and bottled water is no safer-and often less safe-than tap water.