1. Millions splashed on bottled water
Singapore consumers spent $134 million on it in 2015 – nearly 24 per cent more than in 2010, says Euromonitor International.
Singaporeans aren’t the only people spending their hard-earned dollars on bottled water. It’s actually the world’s fastest growing beverage!
2. At least 12 brands to choose from
And more brands have recently been added to the shelves, including two brands of alkaline water which were introduced at the Sheng Siong supermarket chain in 2016.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) classifies brands into five types: natural mineral water, packaged drinking water, mineralised drinking water, distilled water and spring water.
3. Costs 1,000 times more than tap water
According to national water agency PUB, tap water can be 1,000 times cheaper than bottled water.
A 600ml bottle of drinking water costs between 50 cents and $1, while tap water costs 0.1 cent for the same amount.
4. Chlorine concerns
Some have switched to drinking bottled water due to worries over chlorine levels in tap water, but experts have said the level of chlorine in Singapore’s tap water is within acceptable limits.
In 2016, chlorine levels in all the waterworks in Singapore ranged from 2.04 to 2.98mg per litre, well within the World Health Organisation’s limits of 5mg per litre.
5. Is it better for health?
Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. Some advocates of alkaline water said it can neutralise the acid in your body.
While normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of 7, alkaline water has a pH of 8 or 9. There have been claims that alkaline water can help slow the aging process, and even prevent diseases like cancer.
However, experts say that more conclusive results are needed to support claims that alkaline water and oxygenated water are better for health.
6. Fluoride levels may pose risks to children
Dr Wuang Shy Chyi, domain lead for water technology at Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Applied Science, said that due to their natural sources, mineral water can contain trace amounts of elements.
While some elements such as arsenic, can be beneficial in tiny quantities, Dr Wuang notes: “Some minerals, like fluoride, may also be present in quantities that are not acceptable to certain groups of people.”
These include infants and young children, who already get fluoride that is added to tap water.
7. 'Artesian' just a gimmick?
Associate Professor Richard Webster from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences said that water marketed as artesian or untouched by humans is not better, describing it as a “marketing gimmick”.
“There is no real difference from other bottled water,” he said, adding that the benefits of water with added oxygen are also unproven.