Acqua di your village?

I think access to clean water is a basic human right. I also think that getting people to pay more for bottled water over tap water in any western country is one of the greatest marketing victories ever. Italy's water'-drinking habits were always going to be a challenge for me. Italy, of course, is a world-leader in bottled water. Both for production and consumption. In my experience, many Italians distrust the tap. Granted, tap water often doesn't taste very nice as it has to be heavily treated to remain clean in the heat of summer, but I remember being surprised at the shock (and mild digust) when I asked for tap water rather than bottled water at the family dinner table. It's a little more understandable when you consider that approximately 98% of the water drank in Italy is bottled mineral water. I don't think people are going to start drinking tap water anytime soon.

Maybe, however, I'm wrong, as purified tap water stations are being introduced all over Italy. These cute little sheds provide purified fizzy or still water at a nominal charge (or occasionally free, apparently, although I haven't been able to find one of these yet). These stations have been in the North of Italy for quite some time, and have recently opened in Tuscany but until now, I hadn't spotted any in Lazio. I've found two so far, in Sant'Oreste and Civita Castellana.



So where's the water from? Well, the local water here comes from Rieti, and the water station is simply purifying the tap water so it doesn't have a chlorinated after-taste and has a few mineral supplements. The water retails at 5 cents for 1.5L, and comes either fizzy or still. It's no Acqua di Nepi, but hopefully it'll catch on. It's an interesting twist on bottled water, given that it's purified tap water rather than natural spring water, but anything that reduces the amount of PET going into landfills (and the cost of transporting bottled water) is a good thing in my book!

1 comment:

  1. There's one in Tuscania too. Free or 5c if you want your water chilled and with bubbles.

    The main selling point is that the water has been filtered of arsenic. Arsenic concentrations (which occur naturally) are high in parts of Italy and this is a way to address it.

    And yes, Acqua di Nepi must be the best mineral water ever. Definitely my favourite!