A new trend in the USA is seeing demand for “unfiltered, untreated, unsterilised spring water” – or “raw water” – increase at an alarming rate.
Companies such as Live Water, Tourmaline Spring and Liquid Eden are selling the water for up to AUD $76 for 9.4 litres of untreated water. Other companies such as Zero Mass Water sell technology that enables consumers to collect raw water from the atmosphere from near their homes.
Furthermore, people following the “water conscious movement” are gathering litres of untreated water from natural springs, venturing out onto private property by night to get the water.
Why people drink raw water
The movement to drink raw water started as early as the 1950s when governments in western countries started adding fluoride to drinking water to protect the public from disease and contamination. Movements to fight against this addition of fluoride, as well as against the use of lead pipes to transport water, fuelled the desire to drink natural spring water.
However, bottled spring water doesn’t provide a satisfactory alternative for followers of the “water conscious movement”. Many believe that the ultraviolet light and ozone gas that’s used to treat the water kills healthy bacteria (probiotics) within the water.
Raw water fans recommend drinking raw water within one lunar cycle
Mukhande Singh, the founder of Live Water, claims that “normal water” expires within a few months of collection.
“It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” Singh said. “If it sits around too long, it will turn green. People don’t even realise that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”
Untreated water is dangerous
Untreated water comes with serious risks. Dr. Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. is concerned about the trend.
“Without water treatment, there’s acute and then chronic risks,” Dr. Hensrud said, including E. coli bacteria, viruses, parasites and carcinogenic compounds that can be present in untreated water. “There’s evidence all over the world of this, and the reason we don’t have those conditions is because of our very efficient water treatment.”.
Let’s hope that raw water isn’t a trend we see arriving on Australia shores any time soon.