What’s the Deal with Raw Water?

Right at this moment, people across Silicon Valley are suddenly paying dozens of dollars for water by the gallon. No, it’s not because of water scarcity or California’s worrying pattern of droughts over the past few years. The real reason is a lot more inane than that: they’re getting in on the bubbling new raw water trend. You may have heard about this new health fad, ripped straight from our past; in order to preserve their drinking water’s purity and avoid chemical adulteration, they’re getting their water straight from the source. But is this really a good idea?

From time immemorial, our species’ (and so many others) lives have been predicated on access to the safe resources that we need. Chief among those is good, clean water. Each and every facet of our day-to-day lives depends on this essential hydration ensuring that our bodies run smoothly. We take it for granted now that potable water is just a faucet away, but it wasn’t always this easy.

Larkspur Creek Flooding

The water that runs through our pipes is carefully controlled and monitored. Basic treatment ensures that harmful diseases like cholera, dysentery, and giardia are kept at bay while compounds like fluoride are added in for the benefit of public health. From its inception, the treatment and distribution of safe water was a huge leap ahead for our societies, preventing countless needless deaths through outbreaks of preventable illnesses. While the state of our water system certainly is a worrying one, it is leaps and bounds ahead of having none at all.

That’s why the raw water trend is a concern.

Raw water is gathered at the source, usually a spring in some idyllic forested locale, and promptly shipped off for consumption. Never is this water tested before it’s sold, so it contains anything and everything that the spring ran by on its way. Droppings from frolicking animals, harmful bacteria, and parasitic critters are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential contaminants, but ultimately nobody has any idea what lurks inside. The water is never tested to see if it adheres to federal standards.

While raw water advocates claim that the water contains nutrients lost in the treatment process, numerous studies have failed to back up this claim. They claim it makes their “skin plumper” and allows their bodies to retain more nutrients. They insist that the fluoride that they are avoiding is a government installed mind control agent. But not a single one of their claims holds any water.

Ultimately, this thirst for raw water seems to stem from a fear of the water that we have now. People have good reason to be scared, our current system is outdated beyond belief and in a state of utter disrepair; from Flint to Philadelphia, the water system we have now is broken. Nevertheless, the best way forward is not to run towards a dangerous untreated source, but rather to understand the water you have. Through knowledge comes power, and the best way to get clean and safe water is the power of knowing what’s inside.

And as an added bonus, The Daily Show recently took a really hilarious look at raw water, so defintely make sure to check it out:
Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjJJeFDk8Ok

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