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3 Steps to Making Your Tap Water Taste as Good as Bottled

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3 steps for making tap water taste good

Don’t you just hate the price of petrol!

At the moment, petrol is $1.13 a litre, which isn’t too bad – it’s been as high as $1.60 or so.

Hang on, petrol?

Isn’t this article about water?

Well here’s the thing.

While we gripe and groan about paying over a $1 for petrol, we’re willing to pay $5 or more a litre for water we can get out of the tap almost FREE.

When you hand over $3 for a 600ml bottle of water it doesn’t feel like much. It’s just $3. You don’t feel the same pain as when you pump $50 – $100 into the car.

But it’s a crazy lot of money to be paying for free stuff.

$700 million dollars worth of crazy. That’s around how much the bottled water industry in Australia makes a year [source].

But it’s not just about saving a buck or three.

65% of plastic bottles end up in landfill [source]. Packaging bottled water worldwide requires 2.7 million tonnes of plastic each year and the manufacturing of these bottles uses around 1.7 million barrels of crude oil in the US alone [source], and that doesn’t include all the oil used to transport and refrigerate the water.

Bottled water might also be a human rights issue as well.

But there’s a tantalizing lure to drinking bottled water.

Despite having one of the best water services in the world, we’ve swallowed the marketing claims that suggest bottled water is healthier.

It’s certainly convenient. If you’re out and about and you’re thirsty you can just buy a bottle. Then toss it when you’re done.

And I’ll admit that it tastes better to me. Our local tap water tastes awful (although my friend who grew up here rolls her eyes at me and tells me to suck it up).

So what’s the alternative if you’re not a fan of water from the tap?

Here are the 3 steps to take to make water taste better.

1. Water – On Tap!

So cheap, you’d think it fell from the sky!

If you’re more than happy to swill from the tap, then you’re set.

But if you normally drink bottled water, then the first step to liberating yourself from the expense is to invest in a water filter.

It’s one of the best money-saving investments you can take this year.

We use a basic Britta filter jug that you can buy fairly cheaply in your local supermarket or Big W, Target, Kmart etc. In fact, ours was a wedding present if you’re ever looking for ideas. We’ve been using it for nearly 10 years!

Taste is my top priority and this filter does the job.

But if you want to filter out fluoride and other potential contaminants that a cheap jug doesn’t, then you need a special water filter like this one.

2. Bottle your Own and Save

In summer, once we’ve filtered the tap water, we pour the filtered water into empty wine bottles to keep cold in the fridge (I know, how trendy, right!)

As far as taste goes, there is no way I could tell the difference between our filtered water and bottled water.

That’s all very well and good for when you’re at home, but what about when you’re out and about?

For out and about, the whole family have stainless steel water bottles, the Cheeki brand in fact. They make great stocking stuffer gifts.

Maybe it’s living in the hot Queensland climate, but we don’t leave the house EVER without at least one water bottle. It’s part of the routine: phone, keys, wallet, water. Children.

(Not necessarily in that order.)

Let’s go.

To keep condensation from soaking everything, we wrap our water bottles in an old tea towel, secured with a couple of rubber bands.

If you want to be less daggy, you can buy or make a water bottle cover (I made this as a gift by the way – great tutorial), but I can guarantee the tea towel does the trick.

This also adds an extra layer of insulation, keeping your water colder for longer.

3. Hydrate in Style – 13+ Infused Water Ideas that Overcome Water Boredom

We all know we’re supposed to drink plenty of water, but it can get a little boring.

Instead of turning to soft drink or cordial, infusing your water can give it just the lift it needs, without the sugar.

I always drink my water with a dash of apple cider vinegar. It’s supposed to be healthy, but I do it because I really like the taste. (My dentist would rather I didn’t.) A dash of lemon is a refreshing alternative.

To infuse water, add your chosen flavours to the bottom of a large jar. ‘Muddle’ them a little by giving them a little squish with the end of a wooden spoon (or anything you have at hand, really).

Top with filtered water and leave for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to develop. Or you can refrigerate overnight for a cold, full-flavoured drink.

Here are some flavour combo ideas to make water taste better:

  1. Lemon and ginger
  2. Pineapple and mint
  3. Cucumber, lime and mint
  4. Strawberry and basil (this is a surprisingly amazing combo – I love strawberry jam and pesto, no kidding!)
  5. Peaches or Nectarines and blueberries
  6. Watermelon and mint
  7. Any other fruit and mint
  8. Apple and cinnamon (try just the peels)
  9. Mango and ginger (I would try just the seed and whatever flesh is clinging to the seed)
  10. Raspberry and orange
  11. Lemon balm and ginger
  12. Cherry Lime
  13. Pomegranate

And my all-time personal favourite infused water flavours:

  • tea
  • coffee

Would you drink water from a bubbler?

I’m curious. So I’m holding an informal survey: would you drink from a public bubbler?

Many councils around Australia (like this one) are now reinstalling bubblers for public use. So if you forget to bring your bottle, you can use a bubbler, saving you money reducing plastic waste.

I’m wondering though if we’ve become so concerned about germs that we’ll actually use them. What are your thoughts?

We drink bottled water for a good reason. Maybe you don’t like the taste of tap water. Maybe you don’t want to drink fluoride or chlorine. Maybe you just get thirsty when you’re out and about and you don’t have an alternative.

To switch the habit, you need to create a viable alternative first. For us, that meant investing in a filter and personal water bottles.

How do you take your water?

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3 steps to making your tap water as good as bottled

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19 Comments

  1. It is always a big issue. Where I live the water is not drinkable so we do buy the 5 gallon bottle to go on the cooler and I guess we use about 4 week during the summer. We recently purchased a filter and now use that water for cooking etc.

    It would be nice not to use BW.

  2. Hello Melissa,

    I have bought water when we have been away in places notorious for their poor water quality, but at home we use a filter jug like you have. I also have a stainless steel bottle like you do (got it at Aldi) it is a whole 1 litre and it came with a little towel so I must wrap it up like you have once the weather gets hot.

    I also put my hand up that I have drank water from the bubble tap at our Big W store. I know people can be germ phobic these days, but I don’t live in a spotless house, so am used to a few germs!! LOL

  3. Hi Clo, it’s hard when the water is terrible. I was thinking after I wrote this about people who live on tank water – they would probably have to drink bottled especially during drought season.

    Hi Kaye, I admit I buy bottled water when I travel (not that I travel much) I forgot about that. Glad to hear you don’t mind bubbers. I still haven’t decided, but I know that when I have been really thirsty, I don’t care much about taste or where the water comes from.

  4. Where I live you have to filter and boil the water because of the poor quality of water. I’m constantly storing water in the fridge and always reminding the kids to bring a bottle in the car when they go out. It so easy to just go out and buy bottle water but I always try to bring water from home to cut back on the costs. The only time a buy bottled water is if I’ve forgotten to bring out my own.

    There’s lots of bottled water out there… reverse osmosis, spring water, and ultra-light filtration and all of these added to the cost of bottling and the type of water all adds up to the cost of bottled water. They all claim to be better than each other which also adds up costs but when you think of it if you just have a good filtration system at home and use reuseable bottles from home you can really save alot and do a bit for the environment. Every little bit helps and home water is just as good:)

  5. I only drink water straight from the tap. But you only need to look at the Supermarket shelves to see that bottled water is a huge money making industry, and you hear so many people saying you are only paying for tap water anyway, and that we are all being conned by the Manufacturers.
    I use a bottle pretty similiar to yours which I won while on holiday last year so free bottle and free water for me.

  6. Try not to buy, but sometimes we are stuck out and the water bottle is empty.

    Tank water here, we need to buy in tanker of water once a year as we have bugger all storage capacity, so by the end of summer we are getting low.

    Oh I do deliberately buy some bottles over bush fire season. They are kept in the car. The bought bottles stay fresh, just in case we are ever stuck and need to drink. Also the pop top ones when squeezed can put out some flames.

  7. I only drink tap water. We’re very lucky we don’t have flouride added to our water – yet!
    I have a fridge in my car so my water always stays cool wherever I go. I would only buy bottled water if I forget or run out while away from home. Then I take the bottle home and reuse it over and over again.

  8. @ Astrid: I’m just imagining a huge blazing fire and squirting it with a little bottle of water :).

    We just got our water bill – our tap water has been privatised. Ouch. Not so free water.

  9. We live on a farm and our water comes from a well/bore which we have been told is undrinkable. I have to buy the 10L bottles which don’t last long in a family of 4 with a husband who works outside alot and me who is breastfeeding. I hate that I have to pay for it and am hoping that we are able to get a rainwater tank installed before too much longer! It is an inconvenience to me to have to buy it, but water is vital for life so it’s something I just have to budget for.

  10. Most of the people choose bottled water as a healthier option. True if it is compared with soda or sweetened drinks. But bottled water is no good then tap water as it is also treated with the same chemicals. Even the bottle is not necessarily be hygienic because the come in a reusable packs. But while on the go it is still considered a better option. Take one, drink it and dispose.

  11. Our town has a bubbler in the street & me & kids have used it, nowadays I often fill up my water bottle at the gym but we do have a tap filter at home that is lovely too. I can drink our water at a push but this house had the filter tap already installed so we use it & love it.

    Good helpful blog thank you!

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thanks. I would love a tap filter – I think they’re great! It’s good to hear there are more bubblers being installed or maintained!

  12. I drink tap water in Brisbane. No problem. I’ve been jogging in the new year. I rely on a tap half way through for my drink (on the side of a soccer club building). No problems with bubblers, I’m healthy after a life time of using them!

    1. Hi Karen,

      That’s convenient there’s a tap to fill up half way! It’s hot jogging in Brissy at this time of the year!

  13. Hi Melissa
    Some people don’t like the taste of chlorine used to disinfect the water. The solution is even simpler, and more frugal, than using a filter. . . . just fill a jug with water and put in the fridge, by the morning the chlorine will have evaporated.

    When I used to be the operational manager of a water authority I used to organise a monthly double blind taste test of all the 9 treatment plants. in addition to out water I also included the cheapest and the most expensive bottled waters from the local supermarket.

    Generally the most expensive water rarely did better than midway in the scoring while the cheap brand was in the top 3. So 4-5 systems tap water tasted better than the $2.50 a litre stuff.

    1. Hi Brian, that’s a great tip, thanks. I’m one of those who don’t like the taste of the chlorine. As our filter is now two years old, I’m guessing that’s how the chlorine is being removed from our water :).

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear from an expert!

  14. Interesting article to hear your perspective Melissa.

    I used to be Operations Manager of a water authority and this is what I have found.

    1. Some people don’t like the chlorine taste but quite often you don’t need a filter to improve the taste, just leave jug of water in the fridge overnight and the taste will usually disappear.

    2. We used to a double blind taste test (No one knew at the time of tasting which was which) of our 9 treatments plants monthly. As a comparison we used to include two bottled waters into the procedure. I used to choose the cheapest and most expensive bottled water available.
    Generally the cheapest bottled water used to be no lower than 3 in the ranking but the most expensive water rarely ranked better than 5.

  15. Actually, the act of refrigerating cools it and suppresses the chlorine smell/taste. Refrigerating your onions also minimizes the irriatation when you cut them (though they don’t last as long).