MWRA 2012-2013 Writing Contest Winners

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William Ammon
Grade 9, Wilmington High School, Wilmington
Ms. Mutchler, Teacher


In just a few decades, the water industry has transformed itself from a joke to an international industry worth billions. Some may find this puzzling. They might say things like, "How could a natural resource, provided for pennies by our government, become such a profitable industry?" The answer lies in the way the water industry markets their products.

What do glaciers, rivers, and tropical islands all have in common? They're all used by different water companies to promote their products. Poland Spring entices consumers with images of a flowing river. Fiji draws in customers with their depiction of an island, using the phrase, "The label says Fiji because it's not from Cleveland." (The Cleveland Water Department later tested Fiji versus tap water, and Fiji contained more contaminates) While at first glance, these depictions may seem accurate, it couldn't be further from the truth.

A majority of bottled water originates from municipal water supplies, as does tap water. Coca-Cola admitted Dasani comes from local water supplies, as does Aquafina, and countless other brands. So now that it is known that tap water and bottled water come from essentially the same place you may ponder, what is the difference then? Well, the main difference is that bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap. For $2.00, you can get a litre of bottled water. For that same price, you could get about 200 gallons of water through the tap.

So with all the negative information on the water industry and bottled water in general provided, you may find yourself wondering, "So, what are the benefits of tap water?"

Well, there are a quite a few. First and foremost, you can be assured of its quality. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has guidelines for bottled water, said guidelines are much less strict about the quality of water, and are often years behind. On the other hand, municipal water supplies are strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and much more frequently. Bottled water also has a large impact on our global environment. Approximately 1.5 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year, and that number is growing. In addition, the transportation of said bottles requires the use of a large amount of fossil fuels, further contributing to the destruction of our environment. On the contrary, tap water is provided from a local source, such as the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's Quabbin Reservoir, using far fewer resources to deliver the water to you, the consumer.

So it's proven in nearly every aspect that bottled water is inferior to its tap counterpart. So why are you still draining your budget on bottled water?

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