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BOTTLED WATER

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A GROSS WASTE OF MONEY

In May 2008, May 2011, February 2012 and July 2013, unleaded petrol skyrocketed to around $1.50 per litre and more. Motorists were screaming about the price of petrol. You may have been one of them.

But do you ever buy bottled water, such as Mount Franklin, Pureau, Noble's and the other well-known brands? If you do, I bet that you never thought about the cost of it. Bottled water has become a huge business in Australia, with over 1000 brands available and it is all about slick marketing to sell an odourless colourless liquid to gullible fools for large sums of money when it can be obtained essentially for free.

All these companies are selling is the same stuff that falls out of the sky for free, but literally all their marketing efforts go into brand recognition with cleverly designed bottles that attract consumers, coupled with slick advertising. Some companies, such as Mount Franklin and Pureau, target the bulk end of the market, aiming to sell lots of cheaper bottled water to the masses, but other companies, such as Evian, Voss, Ty Nant and Fiji Water, concentrate on attracting well-heeled trendoids that want to be seen drinking exclusive brands of water in distinctive bottles. The cost of such brands is obscene, considering that all that is in their bottles is just water, nothing else.

BOTTLED WATER IS OFTEN JUST TAP WATER

The expensive bottled water for which people pay between $2 to $14 per litre is essentially the same stuff that people can get from a household tap for around one-hundredth of one cent per litre. Think about it. For the price of just one $2 bottle of water, you could fill 2000 of those bottles with water from a tap and there would be no difference in what you would be drinking.

In August 2012, several bottled water manufacturers admitted that they filled their bottles from the Sydney Water mains after applying filtration and purification procedures. The major brands that describe themselves as "spring" or "mineral" water are genuine natural spring water, including Mount Franklin, Fiji Water, Pump and the Coles and Woolworths home brands.

But supermarket and convenience stores stock brands that describe themselves as "purified" or "organic" and are in fact the same water available in every home for around one-hundreth of a cent per litre. The following brands are nothing more than filtered tap water and are sold at Coles, Woolworths, Franklins and IGA as well as petrol stations and convenience stores:

Sydney Water boasts one of the world's most advanced filtration systems. It sells water at $2.13 for 1000 litres but companies are selling it for about $2.50 or more for 600ml. Even accounting for a 15c bottling cost, that is a mark-up of more than 180,000%.

Refresh Pure Water managing director Henry Heng said it bottled rainwater, which was boiled for sterilisation. "Rainwater is free," Heng said. "The source of the water is not important."

Nature's Best Organic owner Warren Peffer said his bottled water, sold in Franklins for up to $2.50 a bottle, wasn't claiming to be spring water. "It's tap water," he said, defending the "organic" label. "People have a perception that it means the water is a better standard or comes from a better source," he said. "If I don't have it, I lose business."

"None of us are really paying that much for water," Peffer said. "It's just the packaging materials we're selling." In other words, Peffer confessed to not only using the word "Organic" in a deceptive manner just for marketing reasons, but he admitted that his business was really selling packaging, not the contents. This is akin to Kelloggs stating that the cardboard box that Corn Flakes comes in should be eaten, rather than the contents.

In fact, Active Organic water admitted that its product was just filtered tap water. A spokesman for Noble's Pureau said it was "value-adding water" it obtained from Sydney Water, after filtering it to render it "ultra pure". In other words, there was nothing organic left in the water, therefore Noble's Pureau should have changed the name of this product - but it did not. Why not? The answer is that Noble's Pureau relied on deceiving gullible buyers into thinking that they were buying something other than bottles of water.

The crazy thing is that filtering Sydney tap water that is one of the most pure in the world removes the fluoride that protects teeth. A couple of generations of children have grown up with literally no tooth decay because of the fluoride in the water, but this trend is being reversed by the use of filtered bottled water.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ORGANIC WATER - IT IS A SCAM

ACCC TAKES ACTION AGAINST THE SCAMMERS

The use of the word "Organic" by these bottled water manufacturers is a blatant scam. The definition of "Organic" in the context that it is used in relation to water is - "relating to, or derived from living organisms" and possibly "simple, healthful and close to nature." However, water is not derived from living organisms, but occurs as a chemical bonding of hydrogen and oxygen. As for being close to nature, cholera bacteria could rightfully be labelled as "Organic" too, but nobody would dare try and market a disease by labelling it as "Organic".

In July 2013, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stated that it had negotiated with seven bottled water sellers to change their names or risk action for misleading conduct. "Organic standards acknowledge that water cannot be organic," said ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard. "Any claim that particular water is organic would therefore be misleading or deceptive."

The companies that are affected by this ACCC action are - Active Organic, Lithgow Valley Springs Organic, Nature’s Best Organic, Organic Australia, Organic Falls, Organic Nature’s Best and Organic Springs. Just the fact that they all had the word "Organic" in their names proves that they were scamming the gullible buyers of their products.

BOTTLED WATER IS SOMETIMES WORSE THAN TAP WATER

Virtually every survey and test conducted in Australia has found that very few people can tell the difference between bottled and tap water. Not only that, some bottled water is actually more contaminated than tap water. In the USA, Florida-based sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass revealed that 25% of all bottled water is actually repackaged tap water. Moreover, tests on 1000 bottles of 103 different brands of bottled water found man-made chemicals, bacteria and arsenic in 22% of the bottles. People are paying exorbitant amounts for bottled water, thinking that they are getting pure water, but in actual fact in most cases they are buying repackaged tap water that may contain more contaminants than the water from their taps and most of them can't tell the difference.

THE REAL COST OF BOTTLED WATER

In Sydney, the price for tap water in 2011 was around $1.69 per kilolitre. That equates to just over one-hundredth of one cent for a litre of water. In most takeaway food bars, you would pay $2.00 and more for a 600mL bottle of water. Work out the cost. Let's say you pay $2.00 for 600mL of water. That equates to a price of $3.33 PER LITRE of water and that's just the cheap stuff.

The obscene profits on bottled water are only realised when a comparison is made. For instance, if the negligible cost of the PET bottle and filtering is not taken into account, Mount Franklin water at around $2.00 for 600mL from a food bar is a massive 2000 TIMES more expensive than the same quantity of metered tap water. In other words, it costs the bottled water companies almost nothing to manufacture their product, but they sell it for the same or higher price than soft drinks, beer, wine and other beverages. Virtually all of their massive profits go into conning the public into buying bottled water for ludicrously inflated prices.

But if you really want to experience a gigantic rip-off, then go to a restaurant and order bottled water. Many clubs and restaurants change $3.00 or more for a 300mL bottle of water, which equates to a whopping $10 PER LITRE. In fact in Sydney, the Norwegian bottled water Voss has been selling for a ludicrous $15 PER LITRE - 10 times the price of petrol.

PROOF THAT BOTTLED WATER IS A MASSIVE SCAM

There is a company in Sydney called Nature's Best Water. This company has advertised a service where business can have their own brand names and logos on bottled water for the price of 25 cents and sell those bottles for $2. So this immediatelty proves that a company can sell bottles of water for 25 cents each and that includes custom printing of labels and delivery. The design of their bottles is very similar, if not identical, to a couple of other well-known brands of bottled water. The thing to remember is that all these bottles contain water.

So if Nature's Best Water can make a decent profit by selling 25 cent bottles of water, including expensive radio advertising, then this company would be buying those 1 litre bottles from a bottled water manufacturer for mere cents or cutting out the middle-man and bottle the water itself and make even more profit. Yet the mugs who buy bottled water at the retail level pay around $3 per litre, currently nearly three times the price of one litre of petrol in 2016. This is for a substance that flows out of a tap and costs about 1 cent for 1000 litres. Anybody who buys this stuff has to be stupid, crazy or both.

BOTTLED WATER IS OFTEN MORE EXPENSIVE THAN BEER OR WINE

In May 2008, I saw one of my friends buying a 300mL bottle of water from a club bar for $3.00. He was amazed when I informed him that he had just paid $10.00 PER LITRE for that water. What was really funny was that my friend had just been complaining about the high cost of petrol that was around $1.40 per litre and there he was, happily buying water for over 7 times the price of the petrol that he was whingeing about.

Not only that, there was free water sitting on the counter for the taking. I have mentioned this to friends whenever they have complained about the high price of petrol, while clutching bottles of designer water. They were quite shocked when I did the sums and showed them that they were silly enough to buy plain water for $10 PER LITRE that was more than 7 times the cost per litre of the fuel in their cars.

In May 2008, one of Australia's leading liquor stores advertised brand-name wine such as Jacob's Creek Merlot for $5.90 for a 700mL bottle. This equates to $8.43 per litre. The same liquor outlet was selling cases of Toohey's New beer containing 24 375mL bottles for $32.90, which worked out at $3.66 per litre, around ONE-THIRD to ONE-HALF of the cost of fancy-branded designer bottled water.

In 2010, Dan Murphys liquor outlet chain was selling 700mL bottle of Moscato wine for $3.80 each, which equates to $5.43 per litre. This is a fraction over HALF THE PRICE of designer bottled water in most restaurants.

In January 2015, vending machines operated by Coca Cola Amatil at railway stations in Sydney were selling 600ml bottles of Mt Franklin water for $3.00, which is $5.00 per litre. This is a gigantic ripoff, considering that the water in those bottles is no better than Sydney tap water and there was not even any element of service, such as would be received in a cafe when purchasing such water. A cappucino at a McDonalds McCafe costs less than this by volume.

In November 2012, liquor store Dan Murphy's was selling Carlton Draught beer for $5 per 750mL bottle. That is $6.67 per litre, less than half the price of the Norwegian Voss bottled water. What sort of idiot would pay twice the price of beer for water? Voss water is just water and it doesn't have anything in it that makes it special. Water is just H2O and if it is pure, it doesn't matter whether you drink Voss for $15 per litre or fill up a bottle of water from a clean river for free. It's the same stuff.

A 300mL mug of cappuccino coffee generally costs around $3.00 in most cafés, so it is just ludicrous that suckers fork out the same money for bottled water as they do for a cup of coffee that has costly ingredients and a manual labour component in its preparation.

People just do not seem to realise that the bottled water they purchase is often far more expensive than beer or wine. This has to be one of the most blatant scams in history.

If you are annoyed about petrol costing around $1.50 per litre, why on earth would you fork out MORE THAN SIX TIMES THE AMOUNT for bottled water? You would really have to be a complete fool, but it is surprising that so many suckers are out there blithely paying $9.00 and more per litre for bottles of water, while screaming about the price of petrol at $1.50 per litre.

THE DOWNSIDE TO BOTTLED WATER

Bottled water is allegedly purified, however this has caused a major health problem. Dentists have reported that since fluoride was introduced to drinking water, the incidence of tooth decay has fallen by more than 80%. But in recent times, dentists have found that tooth decay, mostly in teenagers and young adults, is rising dramatically because this section of the community has been convinced by clever marketing to shun tap water in favour of bottled water, as well as those trendy sugar-laden energy drinks. So the kids of today are paying a lot of money for something that they can get for free and also causing themselves harm by not protecting their teeth with fluoride in tap water.

What's more, bottled water creates mountains of garbage, with tens of thousands of plastic bottles being thrown in the bin every day. This is detrimental to our environment, but with no benefit except to the bottled water companies.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING DOES WORK

Because of clever marketing, bottled water has become a trendy fashion statement, albeit a very expensive one, without any benefit to the consumer whatsoever. However, every time people buy bottles of water at exorbitantly ridiculous prices, they are playing into the hands of smart social engineers by being utter mugs. Hopefully the people of Australia will wake up to what is an amazing scam and that never again buy bottled water.

THE LEGAL POSITION

In most parts of Australia, premises that sell liquor are required to provide free drinking water. Here is an article from the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing website.

FREE WATER MANDATORY

It is mandatory to have free drinking water available to patrons at all times liquor is sold or supplied in licensed venues.

This law was introduced in 2004 following a number of complaints from patrons who were denied access to tap water to take medication, or to relieve dehydration. In a number of cases, only bottled water was available and the pricing structure did not conform to the 'reasonable charge' guidelines previously approved by the Minister for Gaming and Racing.

Providing drinking water is an essential responsible service of alcohol measure. Water can help to slow down alcohol consumption (thereby avoiding intoxication), and is important in preventing dehydration - especially in dance and nightclub style venues.

It is a condition of a liquor licence and certificate of registration that, at all times liquor is sold or supplied on the premises, drinking water must be available free to patrons. It must be sold or supplied at or near liquor service points, or by the same means of service by which liquor is supplied (such as by waiter service). Penalties range from an official reprimand, suspension or cancellation of a licence or certificate of registration, and a maximum court penalty of $22,000.

It is up to venues to decide what type of free drinking water is provided. For example you may choose to provide water by the glass or from a jug at bar service areas. Alternatively you may choose to have a drinking water dispenser nearby their bar area for patrons to serve themselves.

In the case of fine-dining restaurants, it is customary to have packaged water available for sale - such as imported bottled water. This is permitted so long as free drinking water is also available at all times. Additionally, some patrons may prefer to drink filtered bottled water. Again, venues will comply with these new requirements so long as free drinking water is also available to patrons.

These laws do not apply to off-licences - such as liquor stores and wholesale businesses.

People who patronise clubs, pubs and restaurants that serve liquor should never have to pay for water, as it is mandatory for these businesses to provide it for free. If patrons are denied free water, they should point out to the managers of those premises that they could lose their liquor licence and be fined a substantial amount of money. It is not often that such businesses would refuse their patrons a free glass of water, but some of them occasionally need a prod to remind them of their legal responsibilities.

AVOID THE SCAM AND SAVE MONEY

Here are some methods of avoiding paying good money for something you can easily get for nothing and that is actually better for you.

A quick calculation will reveal the massive savings you can make by not buying bottled water and just drinking tap water instead. If you buy lunch five days per week for 50 weeks per year and you buy one bottle of $2.00 bottled water per day, that will cost $10.00 per week, which equates to $500.00 per year. Wouldn't you rather have $500.00 per year in your pocket, rather than buy something that you can get for free? In 2012, that $500 can buy a 46 inch high definition LCD TV, so why squander it on expensive bottled water for no good reason?

DRINK TAP WATER AT HOME

Most people know that tap water is fine to drink, but the chlorine taste and smell may be a trifle strong, so they purchase bulk containers of de-chlorinated water to use at home. This can be quite expensive. For instance, a well-known brand of water costs around $7 for a 10 litre container. But why pay 70 cents per litre for water when you can get it out of your tap and also get rid of that chlorine taste without using filters? Here is how to have a constant supply of drinking water at home for free, rather than waste money on expensive bulk containers of drinking water.

AN EASY WAY TO REMOVE CHLORINE FROM TAP WATER

Fill up a large open-top jug with tap water and put it in the refrigerator. Within 15 minutes, the chlorine in the water will dissipate, leaving fresh, tasteless cold water. However, unlike bulk containers of drinking water, the tap water will still contain fluoride, which will safeguard your teeth from decay. Do not use a jug with a lid, because that will prevent the chlorine from dissipating.

DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RIPPED OFF

Stop the bottled water scam - just simply refuse to ever buy it again. If buying petrol at $1.50 per litre annoys you, you'd have to be crazy to pay six times as much for something you get for free anywhere. Tell your friends to do the same and save themselves money too.