>> BY Kate Borucz
The contenders were a variety of bottled waters pitted against filtered Revelstoke tap water. Now, cue Michael Buffer-style boxing ring announcement:
In the left corner of the table, at 330 millilitres, it’s a bottle of Nesssss-tlé Puuuuure Liiiiife water! In the other corner, ringing in at $3 for a whopping three litres, is a very generic, very affordable… Mystery Bottttttttled Watttt-ter! In the third corner, at $2.50, it’s a litre of vapor-distilled Smarrrrt Water! And, in the final corner, it’s straight outta Greely and purified in a Brrrrrittta filter, Revelstoke’s finest TAAAAAP-WAAAATERRRRR!…
Participants were given a sample of direct-from-the-tap water (as a constant), and then one other water sample to compare. We asked each what sample they preferred. Then we asked them to identify the tap water.
“Out of 49 people who participated,
only 10 correctly identified the tapwater.
Out of those, half said they preferred it
to the one they were comparing.”
AND THE RESULT?
Two participants said they disliked the taste of bottled water (before it was even revealed to them that it was bottled). Three-quarters of people given a sample of Brita-filtered water, said they preferred the taste of it to tap.
The City of Revelstoke and its residents have access to clean drinking water primarily sourced from Greely Creek. It is treated using a microfiltration membrane to remove particles and parasites. Chlorine is added to treat the water (standard procedure in most municipalities).
Some people are sensitive to the taste of chlorine, although strict regulations are in place to limit the amount of chlorine in municipal water sources. This is where a Brita filter can come in handy.
Brita uses an activated charcoal filter to further purify odd tastes and smells that can be a problem with tap water. It is also a great option for people who want to limit single-use plastic consumption.
THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC
Bottled water is actually just sourced from municipal water sources. It’s then put through an additional filtration process, bottled and sold to the consumer at a higher price. Bottled water companies like Nestlé have been known to deplete municipal water sources or outbid local government’s for access to underground water sources. Not to mention the plastic waste associated with bottled water…
While doing the taste challenge, one guy came up and said: “I’m a water-taste expert. I tell all my buddies that Revelstoke has the best tap water.” We tried to make it difficult for him by placing a sample of all four options on the table to choose from. After smelling, tasting, swirling and swishing the water like a sommelier, he identified the tap water. Truly, a connoisseur. However, most participants were surprised they couldn’t differentiate tap water from bottled water.