Tap water and bottled water are often thought to have the same quality standards, with no reason to believe that one is safer than the other. This was confirmed when Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) was voted as the best drinking water provider in Minnesota by a panel of industry experts. SPRWS, along with Rochester Public Utilities, the City of Moorhead and the City of St. Peter, went on to the second round of evaluation.
There, a panel of experts conducted a blind taste test, drinking water served at room temperature, and Saint Paul was the unanimous winner. Older Americans are more skeptical than younger Americans when it comes to the taste benefits of bottled water. While two-thirds of Americans under 55 think bottled water tastes better than tap water, only 43% of people over 65 agree. When it comes to bottled water, it is important to check the label for information about where it comes from.
If it says “spring water”, then it must come from a spring. Holt explains that “giving back to nature involves investing in community water management projects” such as nutrient management techniques in agricultural fields, initiatives to reduce runoff, ways to return water to nature, wetland restoration and other water conservation and supply projects. The Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association (MN AWWA) recently held their Annual Conference in Duluth where Saint Paul was declared the winner of the “Best in Glass” competition. A recent project was a nutrient management plan in the Boone River Basin, Iowa, to help farmers avoid excessive fertilizer application and reduce nutrient loads that contribute to low-oxygen areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
The FDA does not require bottled water companies to use certified laboratories to test water quality or report test results. Therefore, it is especially important to use bottled water to mix infant formula or give water to babies under one year old. It is also important to check how much fluoride is in the bottled water if you buy it. An informative article by Dasani “Myth vs.
Reality” provided by Coca-Cola states that bottled water is a personal choice and does not compete with tap water. Tim Wilkin, president of the Minnesota Beverage Association, adds that it is important to separate facts from myths and make an informed decision. The Minnesota Department of Health enforces and administers the provisions of the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in the state and has a memorandum of understanding with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which is the regulatory branch of the FDA. Sometimes bottled water is simply public tap water that has been improved in some way, for example by changing its mineral content.
On EPA regulations for public water supply and FDA regulations on bottled water, Holt states: “The criteria are just as stringent”.