Here's to water!

Pour yourself a glass of water and stare into it.

Consider the billions of molecules in this small amount and imagine the endless journeys they’ve been on during their time on the earth.

Water time

Some of those molecules were part of the ocean when the first marine life crawled onto land about 530 million years ago. In mediaeval times, some were drawn from a village well.

That’s because the water in the world today is the same that was present when the earth was formed so long ago. It's moved around the world countless times due to evaporation, rain, winds and sea currents.

Mountain river

If you are in Calgary, most of the molecules in your tap water are from a safe, reliable, drinking source that flows down off the pristine Rockies and is provided by the city to over 300,000 residential customers, as well as 20,000 industrial, commercial and institutional customers.

There must be millions of people around the world who would be wonder struck if they could see us draw a clean, clear, cool glass out of a tap in our kitchen any time we felt like it.

Some people believe that chlorine and fluoride present a health risk. Certainly these chemicals, in high enough concentrations, can be extremely dangerous to our health.

The fact remains, however, that one of the greatest health benefits of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is treatment with small concentrations of chlorine to kill off pathogens.

If chlorine is affecting the taste or if you feel it’s unhealthy to consume it, filters are readily available at hardware stores which can eliminate the taste and smell of chlorine very effectively.

Fluoride is an ongoing debate but apparently there is no conclusive evidence that, on balance, it is detrimental to the health of the general population. Following a council vote, The City of Calgary decided to cease using fluoride and the treatment ended completely in May 2011.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding bottled water. Clever marketing claims it is more healthy, which is doubtful.

A problem with bottles is BPA (Bisphenol A) which can leach out of the polycarbonate, the material that most bottles are made from. This is of concern regarding exposure to fetuses, infants and young children.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the amount of empty bottles that are not recycled. A 2008 report in the Toronto Sun claimed that as few as 50% of them are recycled. This means that vast amounts of them end up in land fill sites and they take thousands of years to break down. 

From the tap

No doubt bottles have their place. Sometimes it’s just not feasible to get a drink, so a cool bottle is a fantastic convenience. And, of course, in emergencies it’s invaluable.

However, perhaps because of my age, values and beliefs, I still have a strange reaction when I see people spurn the good old kitchen tap in favor of a bottle.

At our Calgary home we enjoy it from the tap and we do have a chlorine filter. We like it sometimes freshened up with slices of lemon.

There are some great sounding recipes on the internet.

One which sounds really interesting is Sassy Water:-

  • 2 liters (from a Calgary tap)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium sliced cucumber
  • 6 to 8 large basil leaves
  • 1 medium lemon thinly sliced
  • 12 small spearmint leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and let flavors blend over night.

So raise your glass and drink a toast to ‘Calgary’s drinking water!’