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Walk into any gym and you will see athletes and want to be fitness buffs with their bottle of waters close at hand. The bottled water craze has taken over the country.

I have on my desk an empty bottle of Aquifina, -The Taste of Purity bottled by Pepsi . Take a moment to read the Nutrition Facts for the 591ml. Calories, Fats, Carbohydrates are all 0%.

The contents are indeed simply water. I shelled out $2.00 for my liquid refreshment from the dispenser that was adjacent to a water fountain.

Tony Clarke has written an excellent Expose of the Bottled Water Industry titled "Inside the Bottle". You can buy it on line from Amazon.com.

Clarke talks of how we consumer have been hustled, manipulated, marketed to believe that Canadian are in need of bottled water. The big three, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Nestles, have embraced the product to improve their bottom line.

Londoner's have become health conscious and have abandoned sugary carbonated beverages. Bottled water outsells pop two to one.

Our schools have embraced Coke and Pepsi with five year contracts to supply beverages to our students. Coke is it for Fanshawe College and the Catholic Board of Education to the tune of $250,000 to $350,000. The Thames Valley School Board receives $500,000. from Pepsi. Elementary school students can not buy carbonated, sugar based beverages at their schools.

I called numerous University of Western Ontario vice presidents and was told they would not disclose how much Coca Cola shelled out. Something to do with future contractual agreements.

I wanted to get the low down on the water industry and arranged an interview with Andrew Henry, Manager of Regional Water Supply, Lake Huron and Erie area Primary Water Supply. The pipe line supplies London and area residents with our water.

Here is the scoop. Any bottle of water that you purchase is classified as a food product; thus the labeling. In the vast majority of cases the initial source is municipal tap water. The bottlers use reverse osmosis to remove the chlorine that acts as a disinfectant to keep the water clean. The parts per million milligrams of chlorine in municipal water can be equated to the head of a straight pin on a football field.

People assume that bottled water is safer. It isn't. In fact municipal water is safer then bottled water.

Our water supply is continually monitored & analyzed to assure pristine quality. In addition every four hours samples are taken at the source in Grand Bend or Port Stanley. Every day samples are sent to an accredited lab for microbiology assessments.

The results of the testing has shown virtually zero contaminants since 1969.

Dare to compare London's H20 costs one cent per litre. Milk .75, Gasoline is an outrageous $1.15, cheap Scotch $50.00 per litre, beer is $10.00 per and a litre bottle of water is $3.00.

My bottle of Aquifina has a return for refund declaration were applicable notice. Nice sentiments but we Londoners do not have that alternative.

Andrew wants to reassure us that we have absolutely nothing to worry about with the quality of our drinking waters. You are guaranteed clean, affordable, safe constant supply of water.

Questions/enquiries are welcome. Check out the pipe lines web site www.waterssupply.london.ca

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com