Bill Packard: Water and bottled water

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 2:15pm

Up until about 20 years ago, I never gave water much thought. There was plenty to swim in, both fresh and salt. It came right out of the tap at the house.  My friend, Mike Fong from Phoenix, visited a few years back and gave me an appreciation for just how abundant water is around here as he was amazed that there was water everywhere.  Probably coming from the Arizona desert had something to do with that amazement, but it brings a certain amount of appreciation and awareness.

What I really can’t wrap my arms around and find completely amazing is bottled water.

The whole hydration thing was not a topic for years.  Back when I was a foreman on a paving crew, we had a cooler mounted on my pickup.  I would fill it with water from the tap at home in the morning and then we would stop at a store for coffee and buy a bag of ice for the cooler. Later in the day, we’d buy beer and put it in the cooler to stay cold. That’s what the water was for.  But, like so many other things in my younger days, I wasn’t doing it right and my priorities were out of whack, so hydration became a hot topic.  I’m good with that. Today, it’s out of control.

Bottled water is everywhere.  Have you ever looked at the size of the bottled water shelving at the grocery store?  I know I’m simple and you know I’m simple, but how many varieties of water can there be?  They all claim to have something special besides water but have no additives.

If you believe that the quality of anything is directly connected to what you pay for it, you’re in luck with water. Since I’m not a water connoisseur, I had to Google bottled water in order to claim that this article is based on extensive research that spanned almost an hour and a half.  There are lots of choices when it comes to water.  Probably not for you, as you have done your research and only consume the best water available, but to someone like me, it was overwhelming.

Of course, the best artesian water is Fiji water.  Any water you drink sourced closer that Fiji makes you a loser.  Here’s what the reviews are and why I say that.

“They described Fiji as “refreshing” and “mild” and were pleased with its lack of odor or aftertaste. (“It lingers very little,” one tester noted.)” “

Only the smallest, 11.15-ounce bottles are likely to fit into your car’s cup holder, but you’ll look pretty classy serving it at a wedding or party.”

There you go. There’s not much sense to go on from that, but I haven’t been accused of having any sense in a long time, so how about the best cheapest water? That’s a category almost any product wants to be in. The best cheapest. Crystal Geyser wins that category hands down, the experts say.  There is no mention of crystals or geysers in where this water comes from.

Another water that is exciting is Evian.  Testers raved about its “more notable taste and mouthfeel of its robust minerals to the comparable tastelessness of purified water.”  Exactly what I thought. 

Lastly in this comparison was Just Water. You would think that Just Water would be simpler and more affordable than these other brands.  You silly water drinker, you!

Just Water is about double the price of water that is not just water, but it comes in a box rather than a bottle and is completely recyclable, even the cap. It’s “a slightly alkaline water with mid-range electrolyte levels that testers described as “refreshing,” with sweet, mineral-heavy undertones. Like Fiji, JUST Water is slightly alkaline, with a pH of 8, but its electrolyte levels are comparable to Crystal Geyser at 3.9 Siemens per meter.” Also, “The carton is also surprisingly comfortable to hold — the material is less slippery than most plastics, making it easy to keep a keep a good grip even if your water is sweating.”

So, if you’re sweating and having trouble getting a grip on yourself, your Just Water is cool.

Now, I get it.  Staying hydrated is important to health and sometimes a bottle of water is the best way to stay hydrated. 

Long road trips are an example.  Local excursions hiking or boating or camping, I suppose you could take a big jug of tap water in a cooler, but bottles are more convenient.  It’s all good, but I can’t help but think that drinking certain brands of water is some sort of status symbol. I know.

Call me a cynic, but I can envision a heated debate that might end up in fisticuffs at a high end gathering when a Fiji Water drinker has an interaction with a Just Water person. That might not end well.  Here’s something I find interesting.  Watching video clips of meetings about global warming and the effects of hydrocarbons on the planet with experts on a panel speaking at some hotel or conference center somewhere with bottles of water all over the tables. The hotels must have water that could be in pitchers and poured into glasses.  I’m just saying.

If you are a devout water drinker and your feelings are hurt because I didn’t mention your favorite, Smart Water, it was purposely left out of the discussion. 


p>Bill Packard lives in Union

Bill PackardBill Packard lives in Union and is the founder of He is a speaker, author, small business coach and consultant.