Unlike tap water that is delivered straight to your faucets at home, mineral water is bottled water containing added minerals or other dissolved substances for therapeutic or taste altering value.
|Mineral Water||Tap Water|
|Method||Obtained from naturally occurring springs. Usually bottled at the source in glass or plastic bottles.||Water is delivered through a system of pipes, pumps and purification systems to homes and buildings in the developed and developing world.|
|Consumption||More than 3000 varieties of bottled mineral water sold worldwide.||Tap water is cheaper than mineral or bottled water. In some countries it is not consumed due to fears of contamination.|
|Definition||Water containing minerals or other dissolved substances for therapeutic or taste altering value. See also seltzer water.||Tap water is part of the indoor plumbing system where water is delivered to individual taps.|
Tap water, which may be hard or soft, is delivered via a complex system of pipes, pumps and purification systems to homes and buildings through individual taps. Indoor plumbing became available to the developed world in the late 19th century and common in the mid- 20th century although it is still not found in many poor areas and countries. Plastic supply pipes have become increasingly common since about 1970, with a variety of materials and fittings employed, however plastic water pipes do not keep water as clean as copper and brass piping does. Copper pipe plumbing is bacteriostatic. This means that bacteria cannot grow in the copper pipes. Tap water can be susceptible to metal pipe contamination.
Mineral water is water that is obtained from naturally occurring springs, thought to have health benefits and is bottled at the source of collection. It is usually bottled in glass or plastic containers. Mineral water is also water where minerals are added artificially.
Tap water may contain various relatively harmless contaminants (scaling agents like calcium carbonate in hard water and metal ions such as magnesium and iron), and odoriferous gases (hydrogen sulphide). Local geological conditions affecting groundwater determine whether and in what quantity these chemicals are present in the water. Mineral water might include iron, magnesium, calcium or zinc. Perrier, for example, is a sparkling mineral water that contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulphate, fluoride and nitrate. These occur in varying amounts with the highest mineral content, aside from bicarbonate, being calcium. In ¼ of a gallon (a liter bottle), there is about a tenth of an ounce (147.3 mg) of calcium.
Bottled mineral water, bottled RO (Reverse Osmosis) and tap water is available all over the world. About 1 billion bottles of water a week are moved around in ships, trains and trucks in the United States alone. The major criticism of bottled water concerns the bottles themselves. Individual use bottled water is generally packaged in Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).
Tap water is said to be environmentally more sustainable than bottled mineral water.