Bottled water is water in the best combination of potability and portability. When drinking water, taken from any source, be it wells, springs, distillery, or mineral geysers, is packaged in glass and plastic bottles, it is called bottled water. They may or may not be carbonated. Nowadays, you can find water bottles available in various shapes and sizes, ranging from gulp-sized miniature water bottles to enormous carboys for giant water coolers. Bottled or table water can come from underground springs and wells, or taps. It is purified before it is bottled. Natural mineral water and spring water are types of underground water that contain naturally-occurring minerals. Sparkling water has carbon dioxide to make it fizzy. If this occurs naturally, it is often removed and replaced to ensure that it is always at the same level.
The first bottles were made in sizes that were easy to carry. The 750 ml bottle became the standard size for most types of wine in the 19th century. In the United States of America, this has been the legal size since 1979, even though metric measurements are not widely used there. Some wine and champagne bottle sizes have Biblical names such as Methuselah, Balthazar, Nebuchadnezzar, and many others. The name Jeroboam was used for the four-bottle size as early as 1725 in Bordeaux, and others were soon named in the same way.
In the 19th century, contaminated water from taps and pumps spread the killer disease cholera. Bottled water became popular as a safe alternative. In 1741, the English scientist Dr. William Brownrigg created the first artificial mineral water. He added health-giving minerals and carbon dioxide for fizziness. Dr. Brownrigg, incidentally, was also the first scientist to extract the element platinum. In 1792, Joseph Schweppe moved from Vienna to London and began to produce his own brand of artificial mineral water. His company grew to become one of the world’s most famous manufacturers of soft drinks. French doctor Louis Perrier gave his name to Perrier Water, which beamed the best known bottled mineral water in the world. In the 1960 James Bond novel For Your Eyes Only, the titular character insists on drinking only this type of water.
Now the world drinks over a hundred and fifty billion litres of bottled water every year, which is equivalent to the quantity of water needed to fill sixty thousand Olympic sized swimming pools. In the United Kingdom, people drink more than two billion litres in totality, meaning an approximate of thirty-five litres per person. However, Italians drink more bottled water than any other nation, a hundred and eighty-five litres per person every year. Many people choose bottled water over tap water because it lacks substances such as chlorine, which affect the flavour of tap water, and also because bottles are portable. Bottled water is also produced to strict safety standards, so in some places it may be safer. Bottled water removes billions of litres of water from the underground, while making and transporting the bottles uses huge amounts of energy. Over 2.5 million tonnes of plastic go into the bottles every year and this has to be disposed of. Bottled water may also lack fluoride and other useful minerals found in tap water, so it may also be less healthy than the water in our homes.
Bottled water is obtained from Artesian wells, the ground water table, bore wells, hot springs, mineral springs and other natural as well as man-made sources of water. This water is taken to huge industrial plants where it can be purified by one or a mix of numerous scientific methods, some of which include ozone purification, distillation, fluorination, sedimentation, multiple membrane disinfection, ultraviolet irradiation, and many others. It is then packaged in standardized quantities in sterilized and appropriately shaped plastic or glass bottles, as per the strict guidelines of the national food and health ministries. While one can find your average Bisleri water bottle in any grocery store, there is also a large plethora of other variants of bottled water, such as the ones available in fruit and sweetened flavours. Regardless of whether it is flavoured or not, bottled water can also contain artificially added minerals, fluorine, carbon dioxide, and other permitted preservatives and artificial flavouring. However, soft drinks such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola are different from the conventional bottled water in the fact that the amount of added substances does not exceed one percent of the amount of the total product, which is water, in the latter, whereas it forms a much bigger part in the former.
Often stored as an integral part of emergency kits in the possible occurrence of a natural disaster, bottled water is often considered to be a foolproof, good tasting, and microbe-free source of drinking water, with a universally approved stringent set of rules and regulations followed all over the world by all countries. While one can consume bottled water without any significant health risks, it is also just as safe to use it for other purposes such as hand washing, personal hygiene, washing utensils, cleaning clothes, and other cleaning purposes. Bottles produced on a mass scale do not generally have any explicit expiry date on their labels, but rather an optimum amount of time the water should be used in without fear of contamination. Being highly stable, and packaged in the safest of ways, bottled water is without a doubt, a very safe thing to use, and therefore, have an indefinite shelf-life as long as they are not tampered with in any way by damaging, opening, and consequent possible infection.
In India, bottled water is manufactured by large private companies such as Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley, Himalaya, and Catch, as well as government bodies such as the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation. In this age of rampant water pollution, bottled water is not only the first choice of tourists, both foreign and domestic, but is also widely used in households as well. Priced at very nominal rates, and with the bottles being easy to recycle, bottled water seems to be just about the safest and easily obtainable source of drinking water these days.