“Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? Stephanie Soechtig’s debut feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water.” – www.tappedthemovie.com
While up to 40% of bottled water is just filtered tap water, Americans are buying over 25 billion bottles of it every year. That’s BILLION with a B. These bottles take 714 million gallons of oil to produce every year – enough to fuel 100,000 cars.
Despite water’s “manufacturing” cost of .06 to .11 cents per gallon it often sells for over $6 per gallon retail when broken out into single serving containers. That’s twice the price of gasoline. Tap water can be delivered to your home for about a penny a gallon. Bottled water was an 11.5B business in 2007, with corporations like Switzerland’s Nestle making over 3.5 billion dollars in bottled water sales in 2008.
Before studying the topic and watching movies like Tapped, my brain was filled with the marketing story of bottled water. I wasn’t really sure where it came from and I drank it for my health, truly sad considering recent findings around BPA.
Many years ago we had our own water distiller at the house. The water that came out of it tasted great and the residue left behind was horrific. It took almost all day to distill a gallon of water. I guess I imagined that bottled water went through some kind of process like this and just assumed it was worth paying for. Much to my surprise, a lot of bottled water is “mined” from some small town, where a large truck pulls up to a lake and using a hose, sucks up the water and drives off.
Towns spend tax dollars to clean up their local sources of water to improve the quality of their drinking water and overall ecosystem. This would seem to make it a tremendous asset for a local community, but in most cases ground water is legally controlled under, “absolute dominion” which means that often only a simple permit is required to pump out water from a local pond into an awaiting truck.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, but only 1% is drinkable. The World Bank places the value of the world water market at 800 billion dollars, and by the year 2030, it is estimated that 2/3rds of the world will be lacking access to clean drinking water.
Is clean drinking water the next commercial empire? Watch Tapped and decide for yourself.
You can watch this movie on Netflix streaming.