Cities like New York and San Francisco already urge residents to drink tap water, and chances are the people living there may already be doing just that — even if they are buying bottled water. Although you might have already suspected it, Aquafina bottled water is sourced from public reservoirs — the same reservoirs that your kitchen tap water comes from. Aquafina is not alone; Coca-Cola's Dasani water is also sourced from public reservoirs. In an effort to be more transparent, since 2007, Aquafina has labeled all of its bottles to read that its water supply comes from a "public water source."
Despite its transparency, Aquafina has come under scrutiny for this practice, with many citing that Aquafina's bottled water is not better than drinking out of the bathroom tap. But according to a spokesperson for Pepsi Co. (Aquafina's parent company), all tap water is not created equal. In an email to Inverse, he argues that Aquafina is getting an unfair rap:
"As stated on the label, Aquafina is purified water," the spokesperson, who asked not to be named, writes. "It originates from public water sources and is then purified through a rigorous, seven-step purification process called Hydro-7™. That is not the "same water you get in your bathroom sink. Hydro-7 is a state-of the-art process that includes reverse osmosis and other filtering methods. It removes things like chlorides, salts and other substances that can affect a water's taste. That's how we can ensure that you'll get a clean, pure taste every time you open a bottle of Aquafina."
The Hydro-7 filtration process is explained in detail on the Aquafina website, but given the lack of regulation or studies happening the bottled water industry, it's hard to know just how much is filtered in this seven-step process. Purity aside, critics of the bottled water industry argue that all those bottles add plastic to landfills and require a lot of energy to produce and ship, which is much more harmful than just bottling from the tap.