Canada is said to possess over 20 per cent of all potable water in the world, much to the chagrin of many nations, especially the U S A.

Yet Canada imports millions of dollars worth of bottled water from every imaginable country including France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Italy, Croatia, and even from Fiji, more than half a world away. Of course Canada exports a lot of bottles water mainly to the U S A.

Only 40 years ago, few Canadians ever thought of buying bottled water let alone imported bottled water. Today, young people habitually buy bottled water ignoring the fact that the most famous and popular bottled water Aquafina and Dasani are merely filtered tap water marketed in fancy plastic containers.

Environmentally conscious people should refrain from such purchases. Plastic bottle production consumes considerable amounts of energy, and in most cases empty containers litter streets and parks. Needless to say, they consume a lot of space in the volume of solid waste.

Companies in the business of bottling tap water should be forced to levy a bottle charge, much like beer in Ontario, and when consumers return empties they should be compensated. A mechanism to do this efficiently can be devised, either with large grocery store chains, or by means of automatized machine that would crush returns and dispense deposits.

In Europe due to large population and relatively scarce water, rivers were tapped, and all along the bed, towns would consume treated water from another town upstream. Occasionally, the water was contaminated and in most instances in European homes that could afford, bottled water is on the table. Tap water is for washing and a few other limited purposes.

Today in most western industrialized countries tap water is safe to drink in large urban centres.

Authorities responsible for water supply test the “safety” daily, often several times daily, as is the case in Toronto. By and large, in large Canadian cities, tap water is safe to consume and much less expensive than bottled filtered water.

Of course, in small cities, rarely the supply may be contaminated, as was the case in Walkerton, Ontario a few years ago. This was an exception and hopefully will never occur again.

On the First Nations reserves, water supply requires more monitoring, and purification equipment. Although Canada’s potable water riches is considerable, there are only definitions that distinguish between spring-, source-, mineral- and bottled water.

Worldwide manufacturers use approximately 2.3 – 2.5 million tons of plastic to produce water bottles.

More than seven billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills annually in North America.

Bottled water production wastes considerable amounts of water in production, cleaning equipment etc.

An estimated 25 litres per capita of water was consumed in the world in 2004.

Bottled bottle profit margins for companies are unconscionably high (240 – 10,000 times more than tap water).

Some are simply filtered tap water filled into fancy bottles with no claim to anything, then there are others that brag about taste; none claims health benefits since this is unlawful. Yet Europeans have long known about the health benefits of consuming mineral waters in fact created spas in small villages with famous natural curative water sources.

Bath in England was already famous when Romans were occupying the land. Any German city with Bad in its name is a jurisdiction with a curative water source and capitalizes on it.

German national health insurance pays for doctor-prescribed spa vacations of two to three weeks duration.

All water is not created equal, although they look similar. Their composition varies a great deal.


is essential to maintaining vitality. Its involvement in virtually all of the body’s functions, from digestion, to delivery of nutrients to cells, and elimination, is well documented. Over two thirds of the human body is composed of water and in fact the quality and purity of the water we consumed are of paramount importance.

There is sparkling-, tap-, seltzer- (carbonated, filtered tap), natural- (any water bottled as it comes from a natural source), spring- (as it comes out of a spring naturally and bottled as is); flavoured- (any water to which artificial flavouring has been added); mineral-water (must contain 500 mg dissolved mineral solids TDS= total dissolved solids) per litre; moderately mineralized 501 – 1500 mg; highly mineralized more than 1500 mg).

Laws are being promulgated both in the U S A and Canada to codify standards. The above are only guidelines.

European countries have developed stringent natural and mineral water standards with regard to composition and bottling practices. In Switzerland spring water must be bottled and sealed at the source, in France mineral water must contain a minimum of 2000 mg. of dissolved solids per litre.

Mineral water

contains calcium, chloride, fluoride, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and trace elements of chromium, copper, iron, lithium, manganese, selenium, strontium, zinc and others. Each of those performs a function in the body.

Calcium is essential for sound bones, teeth and proper functioning of muscles; chloride helps maintain the pH balance in the blood, fluoride is an anti-decaying agent for teeth, magnesium assures healthy bones, nerves and muscles, potassium helps maintain electrolytic balance in both blood and body fluids, and sodium in conjunction with other minerals facilitates proper muscle functioning.

Trace elements occur in minute quantities, yet even in very small doses they are essential for a well-functioning body.

There are many bottles waters in the market place. Some are better known than others because of savvy marketing. Consumers should read labels carefully before making purchasing decisions. Tastes play an important role, and before settling on a brand, taste a range to determine the one that suits your palate best.

The most enthusiastic mineral water consumers in the world are Italians with 586 brands, followed by Germans 531, France 216, the U S A 184, and the United Kingdom 158.

Practically every country in the world has some mineral water including Zimbabwe- one.

The following mineral waters are recommended:

San Pellegrino, Aqua Panna, Fiugi, Santelena (Italy); Calistoga, Napa Valley Springs, Manitou, Nectar (U S A); Badoit, Contrexeville, Evian, Perrier, Vichy, Vittel, Volvic (France); Ramlosa (Sweden), Henniez, Zurzacher, Walzhausen, (Switzerland); Aqua do Luso (Portugal); Apollinaris, Fachinger, Romersprudel, Bad Pymonter Heilwasser (Germany); St. Justin (Canada), Borskaya (Russia), Byzni (Armenia), Borsec, Buzias, Darna, Perla Harghitei (Romania).


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