IN THE RAW
A controversial trend has people going off the grid for “raw” water
Recent months have seen a surge in interest in raw water, a trend that skeptics say can put people’s health at risk. Despite the outcry, an unfiltered fervor is brewing among wellness-oriented consumers who contend that standard filtration removes beneficial bacteria and minerals, and more companies are answering their call.
On a quest to make water an unlimited resource, Zero Mass Water created Source, a Hydropanel with the potential to bring renewable drinking water to the masses independent of infrastructure. The company even touts the panel’s potential to meet the drinking water needs of the more than seven billion people on earth. Applying thermodynamics, materials science, and controls technology, Source draws moisture from the air and filters it, producing about 10 liters of water a day and storing about 60 liters. While the system may help people move off the grid and save money in the long run, at $4,500 (including installation), the ambitiously eco product is still cost prohibitive for most consumers.
Not to be confused with a Nestlé-owned water company with roots in Maine, Summit Spring water is captured, gravity fed, and bottled directly from from the source: a free-flowing natural spring in the hills of Cumberland County, Maine. One of the oldest recorded springs in North America, Summit Spring’s quality reportedly exceeds every State and Federal guideline for drinking water straight from the ground, and the company has been awarded Maine’s Premium Grade designation for bottled water—the only exemption from treatment given in the state’s history—making it appealing to raw water seekers leery of highly treated alternatives.
Founded by the creator of the now-defunct Juicero, Līve Water bottles and delivers water sourced from Opal Spring in Madras, Oregon and also sells tools for people to gather raw water independently. However, the company has recently been scrutinized for positioning its $64 product as coming direct from the mountaintop when it’s reportedly the same water the town’s residents drink from their taps—essentially overinflated tap water. Cost aside, the company emphasizes the water’s safety and reportedly tests each batch extensively to ensure that no harmful contaminants are present.