hiker drinking bottled water in desert

Flickr/Vlad B.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pure, ice-cold hydration. Some of us get our water for free from the tap. The rest pay for it — at the cost of roughly $100 billion a year.

At that steep a price tag, you might assume buying the bottled stuff would be worth it. In most cases, you’d be wrong.

For the vast majority of Americans, a glass from the tap and a glass from the bottle are virtually identical as far as their health and nutritional quality are concerned. In some cases, publicly-sourced tap may actually be safer since it is usually tested more frequently.

There are exceptions, however — people living near private wells do not enjoy the same rigorous testing as those whose water comes from public sources, and some public sources are not properly screened, as was recently seen in Flint, Michigan.

But there are plenty of reasons to stop shelling out for bottled water. Read on to find out all the things you didn’t know about your drinking water.

The first documented case of bottled water being sold was in Boston in the 1760s, when a company called Jackson’s Spa bottled and sold mineral water for “therapeutic” uses. Companies in Saratoga Springs and Albany also appear to have packaged and sold water.

The first documented case of bottled water being sold was in Boston in the 1760s, when a company called Jackson's Spa bottled and sold mineral water for
Wikimedia Commons

Sources: GreatLakesLaw.org, FineWaters.com

Across the globe, people drink roughly 10% more bottled water every year, but Americans continue to consume more packaged H2O than people in other countries do.

Across the globe, people drink roughly 10% more bottled water every year, but Americans continue to consume more packaged H2O than people in other countries do.

Erik Charlton/Flickr

Source: Container Recycling Institute

At 12.8 billion gallons, or 39 gallons per person, Americans today drink more bottled water than milk or beer.

At 12.8 billion gallons, or 39 gallons per person, Americans today drink more bottled water than milk or beer.

Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation

Last year was the first time Americans drank more bottled water than soda. “Bottled water effectively reshaped the beverage marketplace,” Michael C. Bellas, Beverage Marketing’s chairman and CEO, said in a recent statement.

Last year was the first time Americans drank more bottled water than soda.
Shutterstock

Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation

It’s not cheap. At an average cost of $1.22 per gallon, we’re spending 300 times more on bottled water than we’d spend to drink from the tap. But that number could be even higher, some analysts have pointed out, since most sales are for single bottles.

It's not cheap. At an average cost of $1.22 per gallon, we're spending 300 times more on bottled water than we'd spend to drink from the tap. But that number could be even higher, some analysts have pointed out, since most sales are for single bottles.

Getty Images/Matt Cardy

Source: Business Insider

Soda companies are aware of how lucrative bottled water can be — corporations from Coca-Cola to PepsiCo have been investing in bottled water. Pepsi recently bought a 30-second Super Bowl ad to debut its new premium bottled water brand “LIFEWTR.”

Soda companies are aware of how lucrative bottled water can be — corporations from Coca-Cola to PepsiCo have been investing in bottled water. Pepsi recently bought a 30-second Super Bowl ad to debut its new premium bottled water brand

PepsiCo

But research suggests that for most Americans, the stuff in a bottle is not better for you than the stuff in your tap. In fact, a recent report found that almost half of all bottled water is actually derived from the tap. In 2007, Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestle (Pure Life)…