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When we first moved here, we went out for a meal somewhere in the mountains. Just as I was about to order mineral water, we noticed everyone else just had carafes of tap water. Trying to act as locals, we ordered one too - not only was the taste OK, it was free. At City Hall there's a notice, updated regularly, with an analysis of the local water. When we receive the water bill, there's an overview of exactly which sources are used for our village. It also states how often the water was checked and any abnormalities found. The procedure is crystal clear as is the water, and the taste is superb.
Adrian Froon, France
Here in north Scotland we have the biggest concentration of properties with private water supplies. My supply has been "poisoned" at least three times in the past two years, so now we only drink bottled water. For me to have a mains water supply installed would cost in excess of £20K. As someone who carries home dozens of bottles a week, I'd be delighted to sign up for a regular delivery.
Colin Turnbull, Scotland
Our water is from our own well, not uncommon in the US, which is why we have our drinking water delivered. However, if I lived in the UK again where the mains water is nothing to complain about, I would never go back to lugging 5 gallon bottles about. Never mind the taste, just thinking of my back.
Heather S, US/UK
Germany has introduced a refund on plastic bottles where the deposit costs more than the water. I recently took in a bag of empties to a superstore in Berlin and came out with a four-step aluminium ladder. I've had home water deliveries for seven years and use an energy-saving ceramic cistern, not an electricity-hungry cooler.
Gregg McKenzie, UK
What about the cost to our environment of the extra vans on the road delivering plastic bottles of water?
Adrian Clarke, UK
Here in Texas where it is 100+F for weeks, our refrigerator has an ice maker built in. It also has an ice (cubed or crushed) and water dispenser in the door. It is plumbed in and filtered. Taste is great. No muss, no fuss. Helps us to cope with the heat. Rather typical here.
John H, Texas
If you want to drink cold water without the chlorine, just fill a bottle or jug and stick it in the fridge. You don't need fancy filters (which can harbour bacteria) or expensive bottled water. Just remember to replace the water after 24 hours, as the loss of the chlorine will enable bacteria to grow... that's why they put the chlorine in in the first place.
Lisa T, UK
Bottled water? Pah! To all the people that drink it, Evian spelt backwards is NAIVE.
Peter Hewett, Canada
US tap water is great, unless you live in a really big city or Arizona. And water collers are ugly - why would anyone want to ruin their kitchen like that? They make too much noise, and what about the extra freons?
I've seen adverts for gadgets to soften water. Since we pay over the odds for our water bills, why don't water companies fit these to their own pipes for better tasting water without limescale?
Andy T, UK
Soft water may taste better than hard, but is not advisable to drink. Most water softeners advise against connecting to your drinking water supply. The lime in hard water is beneficial the cardio vascular system. This is backed up by medical studies that link the lower incidence of coronary heart disease in the south (hard water) and the north, where it's soft. [And softened water is not suitable for consumption by babies or those on a low-sodium diet.]
Martin Wingate, UK
The main reason bottled water is such a big thing in the US is the level of chlorination in tap water is so high as to make it practically unusable for anything except bathing. Our tap water is much more palatable, so it seems unlikely the market will ever be as big here.
The water from these bottles is no good for boiling in kettles because the minerals coat the elements in scale. We use these bottles to fill our kettle at work, and it is absolutely coated in gunge.
We switched from a cooler with bottles in the office to a plumbed-in filter. It tastes no different and I don't have to worry about lifting 19 litres of water at a time.
I defy anybody to notice the difference between chilled tap water, chilled & filtered and chilled bottled. Except in their wallet. I don't care what other people spend their money on, but all those bottles going to landfill annoys me.
Rik, Norfolk, UK
I've been using a water cooler for over eight years now. I will accept Rik's challenge any time - and my bottles are collected fortnightly and taken away by the water company for refilling.
Chris Boote, UK
Having moved from the north-east (soft water) to Surrey (hard), I have to say the difference in water quality is very marked. I had a tap water filter fitted in my kitchen simply to save my kettle from being destroyed by lime scale and to make the water taste more palatable.
Lisa K, Surrey, UK
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