Bottled water vs tap water

Does bottled water taste better than tap water?


 I was recently at a restaurant with some friends when I got the evil eye from the waitress when asking for a glass of tap water whilst my dinner companions sipped on fancy imported bottled water. When unsuccessfully advocating drinking tap water to my friends they gave this (not uncommon) reason: “but tap water just doesn’t taste as good”.

It takes 50 litres of water to make 1 litre of bottled water, not to mention the energy and resources which go into making the plastic bottle, which will be used once and undoubtedly end up in a landfill.

Perceptions need to change as drinking bottled water is just not sustainable.

To celebrate Earth Day the Project 90 team decided to conduct an experiment to discover whether bottled water really does outrival its less sexy counterpart, tap water. To do this our esteemed sommelier, Robert, set up a blind water tasting test.

We tasted 5 different types of water: Valpre, Hugenot Valley, Dennehof, Aquaelle and water straight from the tap. We gave each a mark for colour, smell, clarity, taste and aftertaste. One was deliciously smooth, another was overly salty, while another was way too sweet with hints of an old Oros juice bottle. One had overtones of a musty bathroom and another smelled like chlorine and left the throat feeling very dry.

And, while some of us were able to guess which of the specimens were from the tap, others of us had no idea.

What was our conclusion? Surprisingly we all rated tap water as the second best out of the five. The only bottled water that faired better than tap water was Valpre.

And then we looked at the prices.

Robert worked out that the cost of Valpre was R13,200/1000litres, the others all cost R7,500/1000litres and tap water only cost R16/1000 litres. Not really worth it for the increase in cost the group decided.

See below for photos of our water tasting on Flikr. And watch this space for more information on bottled water.


One response to “Bottled water vs tap water

  1. The other day I went to the Butcher Shop in Sandton. They refused to give me tap water for free, even when I escalated the issue to the manager. I won’t be back there and I would encourage anyone who reads this to boycott the place too.

    Joburg water comes from the mountainous and sparsely populated Lesotho, which is probably why it tastes so good.

    Huge amounts of energy are wasted bottling water and shipping it around the world. There’s an interesting article about it here:
    and another here:

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