Posted: September 19, 2008
My parents visited the Chippewa Valley about two months ago to assist with my eventual move into a home I am building in the Village of Lake Hallie. Since Dad wanted to spend a portion of his visit fishing on the 14-acre pond that borders my soon-to-be new residence, I made sure to purchase a six-pack of our favorite beverage for the fishing excursion. I also purchased a 20-ounce bottle of water to quench my thirst before I started rowing us around the small lake.
Most children have been chastised by their parents for doing dumb things. But I had to agree with Dad that my purchase of a $1.39 bottle of water was pretty silly. After all, as I move into my new home (which did not have tap water service at the time), I am amazed at how often I pay money for water. First of all, the city called Eau Claire literally means "clear water " and the City of Chippewa Falls has prided itself that its water is better than what comes out of a faucet in most other communities.
For whatever reason, I am guilty of becoming a bottled water buyer. National media campaigns tell consumers that it is o.k. to pay for our most common resource. Twenty years ago, I would never have imagined that I would pay anything for water, especially since the local tap water wherever I have lived was cold and refreshing. Now, I find myself purchasing a plastic bottle of water and not thinking anything of spending hard-earned money for a product that is readily available.
To make matter worse, some of the water is now flavored and/or offers vitamins. Health experts say most of the nutrients in these beverages have components that are available from other foods or multi-vitamin pills that are frequently infused in drinks because they dissolve well in water. I guess I have become one of the many gullible customers of the $11 billion bottled water industry. Only 10 years ago, the bottled water sector generated less than half the revenue it produces today.
Mom and Dad are visiting again this weekend and I now have running water in my new home. I doubt I will be spending any more money to purchase bottled water, mostly because it is an embarrassing purchase to make in front of anyone who is part of an older generation. I just wish I would have thought of the idea 20 years ago to bottle mass quantities of water and sell it to the public.