Culture critic and comedian George Carlin said, “What happened in this country that now, suddenly, everyone is walking around with their own personal bottle of water? When did we get so thirsty in America? Is everybody so dehydrated they have to have their own portable supply of fluids with them at all times?”
Bottled water wasn’t something that crossed my mind growing up, but it’s fresh on the minds of folks at the Englewood Center for Sustainability (EC4S). I attended the opening reception Thursday of the March weekly film series and panel discussion at the EC4S on drinking water.
Lee Perron, who manages the Farmers Market for the EC4S, was administering a blind taste test. He had four glass vases filled with water wrapped in what appeared to be leather cases designed for wine bottles. Each case was marked with a number, and testers had to sample each and grade the water on taste, color and odor.
Perron said each EC4S board member did his own research out of 1,000 varieties to decide the four samples.
I asked some of the attendees what they thought when they took the test.
Elizabeth Chappell, who was attending her first event as a board member, said she liked only one and was waiting to see the results. The first three tasted very similar to her, and she liked the fourth one.
Marie LaForge of Mango Bistro said she wasn’t sure if she could really tell the difference among all of them. One had a distinct, plasticy taste. She complimented Englewood tap water for being pretty decent.
“I’ve always drank tap water,” she said. “I think the quality is pretty good.”
I couldn’t taste any difference.
At around 6:15 p.m., Perron tallied the results and revealed what was served — Great Value (Walmart-brand), Englewood tap water, Fiji and Zephyrhills.
Although the scores were close among all four, Great Value scored the highest, followed, in order, by Zephyrhills and Fiji, with Englewood water rounding out the group.
Board member Janet Landis said her evaluation may be skewed because she rated the first water fairly high.
“I had no place to go, because I gave it a high rating,” she said. “It was good. When I got to two, I kind of thought it was good, but I wasn’t as sure that I should give it as high a rating. Other people said the same thing.”
The EC4S will show “Tapped” from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 18. The movie examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution and our reliance on oil.
“Blue Gold” will be shown from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 25. This film surmises that wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are over oil today.
For more information, visit http://www.EC4S.org .