Raw Water—The Latest Health Trend

Raw water is — simply put — natural, untreated water, typically found in wells, rainwater catchments, rivers, and lakes.

Being completely untreated, there is no removal of minerals, particles, bacteria or parasites.

It is generally accepted that raw water meets all health requirements for agriculture, sewage needs, livestock needs, as well as construction. However many health problems, particularily in developing countries, are attributed to using raw water for cooking and drinking. [1]

Bottled Raw Water—The Claims

Live Water, one of the biggest distributors of bottled raw water, states on their landing page that there are countless springs that haven’t been touched by industrial pollution. And that many of these springs have natural filters created by hundreds of layers of rock. The Oregon based company claims that no one has ever got sick as a result of drinking their water. [2]

Summit Spring in Harrison, Maine is the source of two bottling companies, Summit and Tourmaline Spring. Summit had a raw water brand but merged this product with Tourmaline and now all their raw water is being marketed under the Tourmaline label. Toumerline, whose tag line is “Sacred Living Spring Water From Maine”, explains how the source of their water has been known for its therapeutic qualities for over 220 years. One hundred and fifty years ago water from Summit Spring was being sold as a miracle cure-all tonic.

Just 100 years ago the site of the spring featured a 55-room hotel where people from all over the world came to take the waters. Toumerline says that this is the same water that today known as a remedial agent for gall stones, Bright’s disease, and other intestinal conditions.

The bottled water meets all state and federal requirements for groundwater. [3]

Raw Water—Who are the Clients

Before we look at who is buying bottled raw water, let’s take a look its cost. The cost of tap water is about a half a cent a gallon, regular bottled water runs about $1.22 a gallon, and bottled raw water costs a whopping $5 – $28 a gallon. [4]

With this in mind, it is no surprise that Silicon Valley and the whole San Francisco Bay area is the largest consumer market for raw water in the United States. The Bay area is one of the richest areas in America and boasts the highest average rental rates. It is also worth noting that the same area’s tap water is rated among the best in the country.[5]

What the Critics Say

There are so many critics opposed to the raw water craze that we don’t know where to start

Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, states that the new movement to drink natural, untreated water can cause dysentery, diarrhea, and a host of other illnesses. [6]

Drinking untreated water and the pathogens it contains exposes us to disease outbreaks says Vince Hill, the chief of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch. He goes on to say that tap water is tested for 91 different contaminations while there is very little data as to how raw water is tested. [7]

Dr. Donald Hensrud, director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota says that the treatment that our tap water receives – which is denounced by the proponents of raw water — simply saves lives. He explains that drinking untested water exposes the consumer to both acute and chronic risks such as exposure to E coli bacteria, viruses, parasites and carcinogenic compounds. [8]

Final Note

There is no doubt that words like natural, chemical-free and non-processed have a certain charm and are key marketing words for a large variety of items. But we shouldn’t forget that most disasters are also “natural”, and modern chemistry has been doing an excellent job of keeping us alive and healthy. Most likely the Business Insider hits the nail on the head when it writes that raw water might be trying to solve a problem that just doesn’t exist. [5]

And, on another note altogether, representatives from the Arad Group look forward to meeting with you at IFAT 2018, the world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw material management. This year’s fair will take place in Munich, Germany from May 14th to May 18th. We look forward to showing you how we measure water flow, raw or otherwise.


[1] W. A. Perth, What is Raw Water, 2016
[2] Live Water, Live Water Website, 2018
[3 The Spring, Tourmaline Website, 2018
[4] Matthew Boesler, You are paying 300 X the price for bottled water, July 12, 2013
[5] Leanna Garfield, Silicon Valley elites are obsessed with dangerous, unfiltered water — and it reveals a hidden economic inequality, January 4, 2018
[6] Timothy Caulfield, Raw water is a ‘natural food’ fad that promises health but gives diarrhea, January 13, 2018
[7] Jamie Ducharme, Raw water is a new health trend. But is it safe?, January 3, 2018
[8] Nellie Bowles, Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid, January 29, 2017


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