Doing their small part to quench the nationwide thirst for information on the virtues of bottled water versus tap water, today NBC announced expert taste-testers’ evaluation of water in 12 affiliate cities. The best: Salt Lake City, followed by Boston and Columbia, SC. New York City water was deemed too good to compete in the test. What coverage of this soft news stunt didn’t highlight was that, interestingly enough, one tap water sample was pronounced by the taste-experts to be suitable only for washing a car, while another was considered not even good enough to shower in. The origins of the three failing tap waters were not revealed. Although the Columbia tap water was reported to have a “hint of peach,” none of the tap waters tested were mandarin orange flavor, no doubt to Geoff Segal’s considerable disappointment. Salt Lake City tap water is also not winning over local firefighters, who earlier this week criticized Mayor Rocky Anderson’s direction to city staff (issued last fall) to cut bottled water purchases from their budgets. It is worth noting that tap water from the 12 cities had to be bottled and shipped for NBC’s test. Water connoisseurs outside of South Carolina will have to wait for the precious stuff to show up on the supermarket shelf.
Skaidra Smith-Heisters is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.