They’re Buying All the Water

A couple months ago the wife and I decided to switch to Poland Spring water. We had gone to “filtered” water a while ago when I found this cool gadget called “Zero Water” that is like a giant 5-gallon bottle of water with two big filters in it. You pour regular tap water into the top of it, and eventually it filters down into the lower chamber of the bottle and is cooled by your regular 5-gallon water cooler. You just replace the filters every 3-4 months. Their pledge is “zero total dissolved solids” in the water.

Hearing this, my wife got a little edgy because supposedly zero TDS is equivalent to distilled water, and she heard opinions vary on whether or not distilled water is “safe” for humans to drink regularly. As she’s pregnant at the moment, we decided to err on the side of caution and go back to bottled water with it’s “natural” minerals. So we went looking for another distributor, one that was a little more reliable than “Waterboy,” the local bigwig distributor.

I thought about Poland Spring, but then wondered if they’d really truck water all the way from Maine to Long Island. I looked into it, and apparently there are a number of “water sources” from which Poland Spring draws upon for delivery. They’re all in Maine, but I discovered something that I thought was kind of strange — all these water sources, including Poland Spring itself, are owned by Nestle. In fact, there seems to be a whole website dedicated to their water “ownership” — and that link is just for the North American operations. I don’t know how far across the country the brand “Poland Spring” travels, but growing up in NH, it was ubiquitous. Here in NY the brand “Deer Park” is more prevalent, and I would imagine that the brands “Arrowhead,” “Calistoga,” “Ice Mountain,” “Ozarka,” and “Zephyrhills” are well known in other areas of North America.

But Nestle Waters don’t stop at the continental borders.

If you’ve had San Pellegrino, you’ve tasted Nestle Waters (the company bought the site in 1999).

If you’ve tasted Perrier in the past few years, you guessed it. Owned by Nestle Waters.

So imagine my lack of surprise today when I discover in an article at AlterNet that the Bush administration has done everything it can to enable corporations to purchase public water sources.

“The new oil” indeed.