By Elizabeth Royte
Having already handed milk and beer, and moment now simply to soda, bottled water is at the verge of changing into the most well-liked beverage within the nation. The manufacturers became so ubiquitous that we are rarely unsleeping that Poland Spring and Evian have been as soon as genuine springs, effervescent in distant corners of Maine and France. merely now, with the water buying and selling within the billions of bucks, have we all started to query what it really is we are consuming.
In this clever, complete paintings of narrative journalism, Elizabeth Royte does for water what Michael Pollan did for nutrients: she unearths the folks, machines, economies, and cultural traits that convey it from far-off aquifers to our supermarkets. alongside the best way, she investigates the questions we needs to necessarily solution. Who owns our water? How a lot should still we drink? should still we need to pay for it? Is faucet secure water secure to drink? And if that is so, what percentage chemical substances are dumped in to make it potable? What occurs to all these plastic bottles we supply round as predictably as cellphones? and naturally, what is greater: faucet water or bottled?
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Extra resources for Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
So this is it,” I think. ” The water tastes good to me. It is cold—forty-five degrees according to Brennan—and it is fresh. It has no smell. Beyond that, I can say only that I feel privileged to be drinking straight from the ground, a rare possibility in this age of ubiquitous animal-borne diseases and pollution. I can choose from nearly a thousand types of bottled water on store shelves, but I can’t, with infinitesimally few exceptions, drink from a naturally occurring body of water. Magically appearing from inside the earth, springwater has always had a powerful mystique.
Maine operates with a rule called absolute dominion, which it adopted in the late 1800s, a time of hand pumps and little understanding of the connection between groundwater and surface waters. The law grants landowners complete autonomy to take as much groundwater as they please. In Texas, the only other state in the nation that still follows the absolute dominion rule, they call it the law of the biggest pump. Other states use either the rule of prior appropriation (first in time, first in right); the rule of “reasonable use,” which considers other usages and the wants of the community; or the rule of “correlative rights,” which requires that all landowners above an aquifer share the resource.
Harmsworth died in 1933, with production at nineteen million bottles a year, and a group of British shareholders took over the company. After the war they sold Perrier to Gustave Levin, a Paris broker, who modernized the bottling plant and, in the late 1970s, reached across the Atlantic with six-million-dollars’ worth of marketing schemes aimed at urban professionals—people like him. Investment bankers. Yuppies. Linking his product to health, he sponsored the New York City marathon (the tradition lives on: Poland Spring sponsors the race today).