Anyone for eau de Bristol council borehole? Six of the silliest bottled waters

Boudicca Fox-Leonard
Coca-Cola withdrew Dasani from the market - Reuters

Mineral or tap? The bottled-water issue is a divisive one. For every person who swears by the pure virtues of spring water, there are those who see it as fool's gold.

The latter camp is sure to feel vindicated following the news that cash-strapped Bristol Council is considering raising money by selling water for a bore hole in one of its parks.  It is one of 82 being considered apparently by Bristol city council as they try to make its parks department pay for itself by 2020.

Given that last year, in the UK alone, consumption of water drinks grew by 8.2 per cent, equating to a retail value of more than £2.5bn, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea? Only Fools and Horses' Del Boy and Rodney thought as much when they endeavored to launch “Peckham Spring” water.

But truth is often stranger than fiction. To prove it, we’ve rounded up the other weird bottled waters from around the world; from the exotic to the exorbitant, and the downright tasteless.

 

1 Acqua Di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani

Priced at £41,335, thanks to its hand-made 24-carat gold bottle, inspired by the work of the Italian artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, this is probably the most expensive bottled water in the world.

The water is sourced from either France or Fiji. But it’s not what’s inside that counts. Acqua Di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani is all about the packaging. The solid gold  bottle was designed by Fernando Altamirano of Tequila Ley fame, the makers of one of the most expensive spirits in the world. Water the plants, keep the bottle.

No ordinary bottle of water

2 Dasani

In 2004, following a slick launch campaign in the UK, Coca-Cola were forced to water down claims about their premium brand Dasani after it emerged it was actually nothing but glorified tap water.

Despite marketing the product as ‘pure’, analysis revealed Dasani water was only tap water from the mains supply in Sidcup, Kent. Given that the raw product first passed through three filters to extract particles, organic debris and chlorine before a final stage known as reverse osmosis a technique invented and perfected by Nasa - it was anything but unsullied H20.

Purely tap water? Credit: AP

3  Svalbarði

Next time you're thirsty, why not strap on your ice-hiking boots and set off for the North Pole? Or you could buy an £80 bottle of  Svalbarði from Harrods.

As if we weren’t already worried about them disappearing, this bottled water is sourced from Arctic icebergs off the coast of Svalbard - a sparsely inhabited archipelago between Norway and the North Pole.

It takes two expeditions a year to make just 13,000 bottles at a time and claims to be the purest water in the world. Hollywood actor Matt Damon is rumoured to be a fan.

Drink as the polar bears do Credit: Alamy

4. Tasmanian Rain

Somewhat fancier than a water butt in the garden, Tasmanian Rain is seized from ‘world’s purest of skies’ above the north west of Tasmania. And if it’s a deal-breaker for you, rest assured, it’s collected before ever a drop touches the ground.

Marketed as ‘perfect for active, health-conscious consumers seeking uniquely pure and stylish water’ , Tasmanian Rain is nobly packaged in 100 per cent recyclable glass bottles. However, given that it comes from the ‘edge of the world’ to be consumed in up-market restaurants and hotels around the world, you might want to consider your carbon footprint before ordering it.

5. Tesco ‘Everyday Value Still Water’ and Asda ‘Smartprice Still Water’

Seemingly Tesco and Asda were trapped down a well when the Dasani debacle hit the news. In 2012 Tesco and Asda were called upon to explain why they were stocking Tesco's Everyday Value Still Water and Asda's Smartprice Still Water alongside mineral waters such as Evian and Perrier , when they were in fact filtered water from the mains supply.

At 17p for a two-litre bottle, Asda’s own brand water may have appeared at first like sparklingly good value, but on closer inspection, the nearest it had probably come to a spring was a rusty mattress in a river somewhere.

Tesco stocks a wide variety of bottled waters Credit: Jeff Gilbert

6.  Glacéau Smartwater

There’s something of The Emperor’s New Clothes about Coca-Cola’s second foray into the UK water market. The water, which comes from a spring in Morpeth, Northumberland (the same spring water sold as Abbey Well, which Coca-Cola boasts has been ‘naturally filtered through water-bearing white sandstone for at least 3,000 years’) is “vapour distilled”’ to remove minerals and impurities, then ‘remineralised’ with the electrolytes found in energy drinks. Coca-Cola describe this process of evaporating and condensed again as being “inspired by the clouds”. Scientists are unconvinced, with the British Dietetic Association saying the process adds no benefits whatsoever.

Mike Lean, professor of nutrition at Glasgow University, said: ‘Adding electrolytes sounds scientific, doesn’t it?

‘Some people who don’t have medical or scientific training imagine that with all that scientific-looking stuff the product must be beneficial. But it does nothing at all for health.’

Kylie has endorsed Glaceau Smartwater, but scientists remain unconvinced Credit: PA

 

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