Water is the universal solvent. The liquid that is vital to sustaining life. The average adult human body is made up of 50-65% water.[1] It is something we drink to quench our thirst on a hot summer day. It is something we use to wash our clothes, dishes and ourselves.  Water is a basic necessity that we often take for granted. Furthermore, the idea of an endless supply of clean water for everyone has yet to become a reality in certain countries.

The majority of us have access to clean drinking water. In Canada, the responsibility for making sure drinking water supplies are safe for consumption is split between the provincial, territorial, federal and municipal governments. The day-to-day responsibility of providing potable (safe to drink) water to the public usually belongs to the provinces and territories, whereas municipalities usually supervise the day-to-day operations of the treatment facilities.[2]

Yet we will pay $1-$3 for a bottle of the clear stuff.


Perhaps you forgot your water bottle (I take mine almost everywhere with me. It’s like my security blanket). Maybe you don’t even have a water bottle. What annoys me is that the cost of water will sometimes almost be as much another beverage.  Here in North America, it is generally understood that if you order water at a restaurant, it is tap water and there is no charge. However, while travelling in Europe, whenever I would eat in restaurants, I actually had to specify that the water was to be tap water or else they would bring me bottled water and I would get charged for it. I was a backpacker who recently graduated university.  European bottled water was out of the question.

Expensive bottled water

via stevendepolo on Flickr

At Ray’s and Stark Bar, in Los Angeles, offering you sleek and sexy bottles of overpriced water from various parts of the globe is not out of the question. Check out the so-called “water” menu here. While they do offer the more popular and affordable fancy waters such as Perrier, San Pellegrino and Evian, there is a bottle of water listed at $16 (!) With that price, I’d rather fork over the extra cash and get a bottle of wine.  What makes me roll my eyes is the fact that the menu is designed and described like a wine menu. There is even a taste rating at the top grading the waters from sweet to salty and smooth to complex.

Since when did water become complex?

What’s even more ridiculous is that there is a water sommelier (similar to a wine sommelier, except they are trained in the aspect of “water” tasting and pairing) at hand. The term water sommelier was claimed to be created at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park City in New York eleven years ago.[3]  If you can’t decide which exotic water to try, you can sample three 3-oz servings for $12, using suggestions provided by your water sommelier.

I find it to be a bit pretentious for my taste.  I’m perfectly happy with my water being “tasteless”.

It’s just water.

[1] Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “How Much of Your Body is Water?” About.com Guide, 2013

[2]  Author Unknown. “Drinking Water”,  Health Canada, 2012.

[3] Thorn, Bret. “Water Sommelier”, Food Writer’s Diary, July 19, 2013

15 thoughts on “H2Overpriced

  1. My parents were buying bottled water for a good while. They had just had a new well dug and the iron concentration was insane. I got them a brita picher because it would be a much more cost effective option that would at least let them use the tap water.

  2. Water is so expensive. I don’t buy bottled water most of the time. The tap water where I am is actually pretty good so sometimes I drink it right out of the tap or after a britta filter.

    • My parents have a strong aversion to tap water. They refuse to drink it and buy cases and cases of bottled water when it goes on sale. I wonder if it has anything to do with where they grew up.

  3. I hate wasting money on bottled water, but hubby likes to take it to work, so we often get a 24 or 36 pack of the generic RO water. Usually, I pay under $3.00 for the case, and this last week, they had it on sale for $1.68. If I’m going to pay for it, I certainly am not going to pay very much. 🙂

  4. The only time I buy bottled water is if I ran out in my reusable bottle and there was no other option. Plus I hate what it does to the environment. Or I’ll buy it in a foreign country if I don’t trust the tap water (which for me is just about everywhere except Canada). 🙂

    • Cities should really encourage the use of reusable bottles by installing more water fountains in public places. I feel like I only see them in community centres and gyms, and hidden away near the public washrooms in shopping malls.

      I’m also pretty wary of tap water in other countries. I’ll only use the water to brush my teeth.

  5. I totally agree. It is so ridiculous that water in bottles is that expensive. What’s next? Bottled air!?? You do have to be careful though because some areas have fine tap water and others…it’s terrible. As well, if you are traveling in 3rd world countries –it’s safer to not to drink their tap water and even healthier to order a coke….trust me

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