- Unfiltered, untreated, un-sterilized spring water, marketed as “raw water,” is becoming more popular in Silicon Valley.
- Some “raw water” proponents have misconceptions about the tested safety of tap water in most areas in the United States. Experts say drinking untreated drinking water can lead to serious health consequences.
- Other off-grid water startups are promoting filtered water pulled from vapor in the air.
Not every company in the off-grid water space preaches drinking unfiltered water, however. Zero Mass Water makes a type of solar panel array, called Source, that pull drinking water from vapor in the air. The system still filters the water and adds minerals to it.
At Rainbow Grocery, a co-op in the city’s Mission District, a 2.5-gallon, glass orb of untreated water sells for $36.99. Proponents of “raw water” are particularly concerned about tap water because fluoride is added (which has been shown to improve dental hygiene) and some tap water flows through lead pipes.
Meanwhile, several health experts have warned that drinking untreated water can have serious health consequences. Even from the cleanest streams, unfiltered water can contain animal feces and spread diseases and contaminants including Giardia, Hepatitis A, cholera, and E. coli.
The hunt for off-the-grid water in the United States is not new, but several startups have popped up in recent years. A few of the most popular include Tourmaline Spring in Oregon (which bills its untreated water as “sacred, living water”) and Live Water in Maine (which calls its product an “ancient life source”).