You pickup your phone to google for pure water suppliers near you in Rawalpindi or Islamabad. And you get back a ton of results each claiming itself to be the best in town. Scrolling down, you see results saying that mineral water is not safe! Thats where you just stop digging the internet and simply go for the pocket draining multinational water brands. But is it worth it to pay huge sums of those hard earned rupees to MNC’s that will fly the capital out of Pakistan?
Or maybe you could just have some information about what really mineral water is and how to choose the best one. If I were you, here is everything I would need to know:
WHAT IS PACKAGED DRINKING WATER?
Lets get one thing straight. Nearly all the purified water suppliers in the market do NOT provide natural mineral water. Though there are very few that claim to have imported the same from abroad. I will not comment about them as I am not sure of their authenticity. If you really want natural mineral water than you will have to get it from a natural source. With that cleared up, I’ll now enlighten you on artificial mineral water well known as packaged drinking water.
What is artificial mineral water?
The US Food and Drug Administration defines mineral water as the one with 250 parts per million total dissolved solids, also known as TDS. Artificial Mineral water is the imitation of natural spring water whereby the raw water is extracted from a deep underground source and undergoes an extensive filteration and remineralization process in order to make it make it relatively similar to natural mineral water.
How its made?
Underground water may come from mother nature but its far from pristine. Your artificial mineral water starts its journey from a deep underground source from where its extracted. The most common water purification method in the world is RO or Reverse Osmosis. RO water purifiers are usually six stage water filtering machines. These six stages are:
1) Pre filter
2) Sediment filters
3) Carbon filters
4) Reverse Osmosis
6) Ultra filtration
RO is the main filter which purifies the water and brings down the TDS (total dissolved solids) by 90%. RO membrane is capable of converting hard water into soft water. A high pressure RO pump is used to push the water through the RO membrane. This membrane separates pure and dirty water to different supply lines. The pores in RO membranes are as small as 0.0001 micron. And they are about 500,000 times smaller than a single strand of hair. Such tiny pores ensure that only water molecules are able to pass through them.
The problem with RO is that it cant determine the difference between good and bad minerals hence it stops all solids in the water.
Hence the minerals have to be re-added. This is achieved by adding a mineral cartridge to the RO. The water passes through 8 chambers of this cartridge which mineralizes the water.
Another thing to note is that after RO, the water becomes slightly acidic. In order to maintain the pH balance of the water we install an alkaline cartridge. A pH level between 7 and 8 is considered safe and we ensure that through a pH tester.
Thats not it. Once gone through the above process, the resulting water has very low TDS which needs to be raised in order to make it safe for drinking. And this is why we deploy a TDS controller and test the TDS levels with a TDS tester.
And there you go. This is how most of the artificial mineral water in the market including ours is made.
Is it safe?
Reverse osmosis is so far the best water filtration system globally provided that it fulfills the requirements set out for it. As discussed by the Water Rights Group, the only thing you need to make sure before buying RO or Artificial Mineral Water is that it should be remineralized because there are many companies in Pakistan which are selling non mineralized RO water simply to save a few extra rupees.
Now you must be wondering that this is just another fancy blog trying to convince me to buy their water.
Yes there are disadvantages to RO water. But truth be told, it depends on which reverse osmosis water brand you purhase. If the RO water is remineralized, alkalined and TDS controlled then I see no reason why its unsafe. I, my family and our entire staff has been drinking Horizon Artificial Mineral/RO water for over 3 years now and are in the best of healths.
Why not simply boil water?
You will be surprised to know that boiling water for just 15 minutes is as effective as RO. However the problem with boiling water is that impurities settle down instead of getting discarded. And that is where RO steps in.
Bear in mind that drawing water from the ground is not just having it pumped out and delivered to your door step. That clean water you drink goes through a filtration process. What you will be paying for is the cost of drawing the water out, the purification of the water, the raw material used, the power consumed and the transportation cost to deliver it to you at your door step.
On average, a good 19 liter water refill will cost you somewhere between PKR 120 to 150 per refill. Unless you are willing to pay twice the price to a MNC for the same thing..
So where to spend your rupees?
I have been in this industry for over three years now. This industry is mostly littered with rapacious businessmen who are not even aware that theirs is not mineral water. I have seen staff of multinationals working with these fraudsters to sell low quality water for 100% profit. As someone who knows the industry fairly well, I would advise that you should know what you are buying and what will go inside your body. I hope the above composition makes it easy for you to make a healthier decision.