Thursday, April 24, 2008


First the figures.
Dubliln City Council spent €17,344 last year and bottled water and €22,909 the year before that.
The dept. of Communications, Energy and natural Resources headed by green party minister Eamon Ryan spent €17,768 in '06 and €16,286 in '07 on bottled water.
Sales of bottled water in Ireland are up 6% since January and last year Irish consumers bought 135m bottles of water.
The rental and maintenance of water coolers and bottled water in the Department of the Environment tots up €41,160 in '06 and €41,419 in '07.
All of this despite claims that what flows from our taps in perfectly okay to drink.
According to Oisin Coghlan for Friends of the Earth, 'It's remarkable that we've fallen for the myth of pure spring bottled water when what comes out of the tap is just as good and costs a fraction of the price.'
Yeah, except it tastes like shit.
The article I'm quoating appeared in the Sunday Times and along with the figures was this statement 'blind taste by Decanter magazine found that few people could distinguish between tap water and brands such as Evian, Perrier and Volvic.'
I don't know how true that is but I can certainly taste the difference between tap and bottled water. I might not be able to taste the difference between bottled waters themselves, with the exception of San Pellegrino, but between tap and bottle? Absolutely.
Tap water tastes metallic to me with an earthy almost clay like undertone. I don't like it. I hardly ever drink the stuff unless it's in coffee or tea. But I drink gallons of bottled water. I buy 2 litre bottles from Superquinn at 59p a pop. Hardly going to break the bank. And it tastes the way I think water should taste, of sort of nothing.
My mother's home has a spring which she uses for water. That tastes better than Dublin water, but still slightly metallic, and another gal I know with a house in Wexford has water so foul from her taps I wouldn't give it to a dog, although she also insists it's perfectly fine.
JOhn Gormley can say what he likes, so too can Oisin Coghlan, the truth is tap water is not as nice as bottled water, nor can you lug a tap around with you when you're out on a run. If people want to spend their money on a product they find acceptable let them. The 'quality of Irish water' might very well be good, but as Galway discovered last year, it's not exactly trust worthy.
I'll be sticking to my bottled water, I like it. It doesn't taste of metal.



Blogger Rusticissimus maximus said...

The first time I tasted city water I spat it out in disgust. It tastes NOTHING like that tap water back home (in the country). You're right FMC, it's a kind of metallic taste and I don't trust it, let alone like it!

11:31 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Sorry, rant alert. Water is about to become a major battleground in Ireland. It's started with local authorities charging for commercial and farming usage. This is then tendered out to private contractors like Veolia.

Liability for water quality will then devolve on the contractors and they will increase charges dramatically in order, they will claim with some justification, to ensure that the water is free of contaminants.

The water table is so fucked up that it is easier to tackle the issue in reverse, from the point of consumption, rather than deal with pollution.

Dublin is on the verge of a major water crisis. Leakage from the system has never been thoroughly dealt with and the reliance on aged waterworks is no longer possible.

A prolonged dry spell would see Dublin run out of water in a really short period of time. You can actually go up to Roundwood and watch the reservoirs drop after a few days without rain.

The water is as they say, potable, but it's just as well so many people only drink bottled water because if they stuck with the taps it'd run out even faster.

And Dublin, despite having the vast Dublin/Wicklow mountains catchment area in its back yard, wants the cheap solution of piping it from the Shannon catchment.

It's only a matter of time before residential supply is metered, charged for, and privatised. Remember private household rates, regressive taxes? They're back.

11:35 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

RM, it really does doesn't it? Vile.

Conan you're absolutely correct. A few dry days in the summer and and the 'alerts' soud. It's rather astounding that in a country where it rains a heck of a lot that we should have any water shortage at all.

11:43 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And how exactly did people exist even ten years ago, without clutching a bottle of water, walking, running, driving, you name it. Women are the chief offenders, although increasingly I see men with these bottles.

Bottled water is a fad. It's not sustainable either, as plastic is made from oil, and oil is a commodity that is going to increase in price and run out.

The people in the third world would LOVE a clean supply of tap water.

Only a few decases a go most of this country didn't have running water, houses were served by communal pumps. The taps when they came were great, now the water isn't good enough, it has to be bottled.
We a re too sophisticated.
Well enjoy it while ya can folks, cos the bottled water aint gonna last

11:44 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I remember people getting water from the village pump, filling great big blue and white plastic carriers up and taking them home. For that matter I remember sticking my entire head under the pump on hot summer days and drinking until I was full. And it didn't taste like the muck from our tap now.
And asking how we survived is like asking why it's Thursday. It just is, we just did.
In Barcelona I used to buy eight gallon drums of water from the supermarket for less than two euros, it was cheap as chips, hardly drank the tap water. Ireland's water is way better than that, but it's still far from lovely and I'm going to keep drinking bottled water because I think it tastes yack.

11:55 a.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Is it the water, or the pipes, I wonder? That's what I suspect here. Our tap water tastes like ass - and I'm sure it has more to do with the distance it travels in old pipes before it gets to me than the water itself.

Anonymous is wrong that bottled water is a fad - it's here to stay. But he has a point about the plastic. I like to think I strike a happy medium. I have a Brita filter for the fridge, which works great for the odd glass of water and for cooking, and I buy bottled water for workouts and for keeping by the bed. (I can't put a glass of water by the bed, the cats drink out of it, so I need something with a cap that closes.)

And I recycle the bottles. So nyah.

12:29 p.m.  
Blogger Alan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:35 p.m.  
Anonymous AM in Belgium said...

Here in Brussels, the quality of the water is pretty bad. Full of lime, which clogs up everything from washing-machines to kettles.

And the taste is quite yucky.

But a few years ago, I bought one of these water-filter jugs. I can't remember the brand-name, but I've seen them in Ireland too.

From that, I fill the kettle, coffee-machine, etc, as it removes the lime deposits, certain metals, and the metallic taste. So much so, that it is quite OK to drink.

And when out running, going to the gym - I'll fill up an old water bottle and bring that with me.

But, but, but. There's always a but. These filters use salts to do their work, so I'm probably ingesting a bit too much sodium for my liking.

I do still buy sparkling water though. 24c for 1.5litres. Doesn't break the bank so much...

12:36 p.m.  
Anonymous morgor said...

We have a well back at my family's home the country and the water tastes . . . like water. it's nice.

even if you go into the nearest town the water is a bit yellowy and doesn't taste right.

I can drink dublin tap water but it's fairly manky.

Anyone who buys branded water on purpose though is a moron.

Never tried San Pellegro, but if its water what's the difference?

12:52 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's not still, it's sparkling and with a slice of lime it is deeelicious.
Seriously, Tesco and Superquinn do 2 litre bottles for half nothing and it's lovely.

1:05 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Hah, andraste snap. I'd have every scrapy pink tongue in the house in my water too if I did that.

1:10 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love tap water BUT, it depends on where you live, moi resides in Dublin close enough to the city and I lurve our tap water but two of my pals think its manky I have a friend who lives in Templeogue, she says it is very limeie and one is a Northsider (we all have our flaws) she has this mental obsession about this water you get in a glass bottle with a blue lid, I can’t remember the name of it. I guess I’m just a cheapskate at heart.

Ms. Nonny Mac Nonnymalous.

1:18 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

I always drink tap water where it is drinkable. Completely for environmental reasons.
Rome has the best tap water ever, I still miss it. I also miss their drinking fountains - nasoni - where you can drink straight on the street, and the water is always ice cold and yummy... In Rome there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to buy bottled water, it doesn't taste as good as the tap variety so why pay for it?
But yeah I know other cities aren't as fortunate with tap water. Dublin was pretty yuck. Brita was the answer to that, at least it took some of the bad stuff away.
Here in Edinburgh it's OK and I drink it. It's not particularly delicious, but for me it's certainly good enough to quench my thirst.
Having said that, of course I drink bottled water too - but only when I'm out and about and want to have a bottle of water with me, or I sometimes like drinking sparkling water with a meal.

1:50 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Anon, I forgot. If women are doing something then it MUST be wrong.

The tap water here is just fine so I drink it but I've lived in plenty of places where it has been a fetid brew. I'll buy bottles of water when I'm out running errands or what have you and always rely on it when I travel.

2:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Gran used to have to draw water from the pump at the end of her road, about 200 meters or so, she was still at it into her 80's, a bucket in each hand.
When her kids, my Mum, and uncles/aunts had running water they really valued it and abhorred wasting water.
Nowadays, people have no value on tap water. If they had to draw it from a well they would.

The water in Dublin may not taste the best, but it wont kill ya...or make ya sick.
The bottled water has additives, even the still, it has to or it would go smelly.Plus the bottling plants use heavy disinfectants etc
So what's really healthier.

Environmental pressures will eventually make bottled water unsustainable.

3:38 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Im drinking Belfast tap water as I write - doesn't taste fantastic, and its no-where near as good as country tap water. But seriously, do you not think the whole bottled water fad is just an exercise in marketing?
A loada marketing types sitting round a room thinking how they can sell water to one of the wettest climates in europe!
Its like the friggin tongue scraper on the new toothbrushes. They're testing how idiotic the general consumer is...

3:45 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'm not worried about the health aspect, it's the taste I don't like. The ONLY place I ever thought the water tasted okay up here was in Castleknock. For some reason the water in my friend's house didn't taste of pipe. Must have been on a different line.

3:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the US tap water has to meet much higher safety standards than bottled water. City water still tastes like sweaty feet but for years we had a Britta filter jug that sorted that out just fine.

Now we have a filter system hooked up to the fridge so we can get good-tasting water on tap, while avoiding the actual tap. And all lovely and chilled from the fridge! Truth be told, one of the main selling points of the house for us was that they had a fridge with a water-dispenser in. We are truly dweebs.

The reports of empty water-bottle waste in this country, anyway, is alarming. It increases landfill volume by 100%.

If there are filter systems available in Ireland, it could really save you both money and cut down on empty plastic bottle waste. My husband was less concerned about the waste aspect but more about the cost but the system we have paid for itself in about two weeks.

I use one of the girls packed lunch water flasks for the gym. For night-time water I put a saucer over the glass to stop Trouble from lapping it with her filthy wee tongue.

Mind you, the number of times I've been woken by that saucer crashing to the floor going Wha? Wha? is ridiculous. I need a new system there and, as it happened last night again, I'm ready to say fuck the environment! I'm buying a case-load of Evian just to piss off my cat!

I tried cling-film for a while but she liked to eat it then vomit it up right where my feet go when I get out of bed. Bah! Who says cats are cleaner than dogs?

4:02 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Aaargle - Anonymous above is me, by the wayers - must have hit the publish button too soon.

4:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"Who says cats are cleaner than dogs?"

Not bloody me, I can tell you.
I recycle all my plastic, same as the glass. And tins, and all my paper and cardboard.

4:06 p.m.  
Blogger Quickroute said...

As kids we drank from a well in Mayo and when I go back to visit it still tastes great.

I challenge anyone to tell the difference between Brita filtered tap water and bottled water.

Dasani - the coca cola brand of bottled water (purified not spring) tastes crap to me yet its a serious chunk of the total drink sales for coca cola!

4:13 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Ha, for all I know Tescos water could be Brita Filtered tap water. But it doesn't tast of slurm so its fine by me. Hummm, maybe I should look into getting one of those filters if everyone seems to think they work

4:18 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have incredibly hard water here, and there's a noticeable chemical-y odor to it when it comes straight out of the tap. Be that as it may, we've even done away with the Brita pitcher we used to use regularly because, well, it was a pain in the ass to remember to buy filters regularly, and scrape off all the lime deposits. And we got used to the warmer temperature and more noticeable taste over time. I reassure myself I'm just getting more minerals in my diet by drinking out of the tap.

Bottled water in Ireland doesn't bother me (nor does tap water, unless it comes from the pipes in Trinity College), but the two big brands we get here (Aquafina and Dasani, the Pepsi and Coke brands respectively) taste just awful. More chemical-y even than our tap.

And Eva, my God, I still dream about the public fountains in Rome. The coldest, cleanest water I've ever had, in grimiest city I've ever visited.

4:20 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I like your mineral thinking Grims!
But no, I believe tap water is like Bicardi, just coz you CAN drink it doesn't mean you should.

4:51 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

i can only speak from US experience, but i've never lived anywhere that i didn't mind the tap water. even when i go running or to the gym, i bring a reusable water bottle like a nalgene... cuts down on plastic when compared to buying cases of water, anyway.

but but but, if i lived somewhere with manky tap water i'd most definitely buy bottled water. it seems odd to me that other developed countries don't have high water quality coming from the tap.

5:48 p.m.  
Blogger jothemama said...

Doesn't taste of metal - or chlorine.

I'm happy with filtered tap. Except I'm sure there's a lot that doesn't get filtered, like the metals...

10:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fat Mammy Cat,

Apologies for posting this within your comments…

My name is Matt Guttridge and I work for a Bristol based new media agency called Hyperlaunch.

I just read your blog and noted how you choose bottled water over tap. As a consumer of bottled water I thought you’d be interested to know about this…

I’m helping raise awareness for the One Water / Co-operative ethical water pledge, a scheme looking to improve contaminated water supplies in Africa by supplying villages ingenious Play Pumps.

I hope it's of interest - it really does create some genuine benefits to International clean water campaigns.

For more information please visit –

Thanks for your time.


Matt Guttridge


3:38 p.m.  
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