What Makes Bottled Water So Different from Tap Water?

Source Water for Purification

Before any bottled water reaches the fridges of our local stores, manufacturers will need to secure a water source that can be purified and bottled. There are various different water sources used across the beverage industry, such as groundwater, springs, rivers, wells, municipal tap water and many other kinds. This water needs to meet certain purity levels and taste expectations; so, it goes through a rigorous purification process.

Water bottling facilities will use water filtration systems to remove any unwanted contaminants, compounds and particles. These processes range from reverse osmosis and to deionization and UV treatments – or, even, desalination processes for seawater are used. Water purification companies and beverage companies will use one or more of these filtration techniques that will depend on the composition of the source water and consumer demand.

Beverage companies will need to be thoughtful when choosing what water sources are best to supply their needs. The choice of water source can impact the profitability, quality and sustainability of any beverage production and, in particular, bottled waters need to reach consumer standards that make it competitive in such a tough market. Beverage companies should be careful who they partner with, where they get their water from and the type of filtration required.

A purer water source that requires less filtration, has a reliable supply and tastes good to begin with will always improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of the final product. With that in mind, let us take a look at the what makes bottled water so different from regular tap water:

Purification Processes and Filtration Methods

Whatever purification processes are used and whichever water source your company selects, your products (and source ingredients) are going to be under serious scrutiny from regulatory agencies and consumers. If your bottled water has a strange or unpleasant taste, it will not do well in a very competitive market. Reverse osmosis, microfiltration, UV treatments, oxidation and activated carbon are all popular techniques, but different processes will work in different contexts.

Filtration methods help purify water sources and remove various organic and inorganic compounds from the water. This helps improve the flavour, ensure consumer safety and pass all regulatory product requirements, while procuring water from different sources. Each process provides unique benefits to the water being purified and bottled. It will depend on what a beverage company needs from their water purification partner and customers.

Membrane filtration systems, for example, are particularly effective at removing metals and deionising water sources. On the other hand, activated carbon removes most chlorine and chlorine by-product remnants from municipal water sources very capably. Even further, reverse osmosis in combination with remineralisation or with the addition of flavourants is celebrated for creating wonderfully flavoured bottled waters.  Ozonation helps remove any odours and colour from the water while also disinfecting the product without leaving a residual in the final product. . It all depends on what is needed to turn your water supply into clean and delicious drinking water.

There are two types of bottled water that are most popular: spring water and purified water. It might seem like a pure and natural spring water would be the preferred drink over purified water. However, the truth is that purified bottled water is more popular with and reliable for consumers. The regulatory and consumer protection requirements ensure that purified waters are more consistent in terms of availability, taste and quality.

What Makes Bottled Water So Different from Tap Water?

Although tap water will face much of the same scrutiny and regulation as bottled water, the fact is that tap water will seldom secure a taste preference over purified waters. In South Africa, we boast some of cleanest, safest and most dependable municipal water sources on the planet. Even with this impressive attribute, bottled water is still considered tastier and more consistent.

Different regulatory agencies will have similar standards for anything that we consume; namely, that municipal water suppliers, water purifiers and beverage companies need to guarantee that the water they provide is safe for humans and the planet. It is important to remember that bottled water has higher expectations from consumers because we do not want to pay an increased cost for water that does not taste better than our taps at home.

The quality of the water being used, bottled or sold by beverage companies needs to be of the highest standards possible. It undergoes more thorough testing and its standards for organic or inorganic compounds, such as bacteria and disinfection products, are far more demanding. Bottled water has a more reliable taste and flavour than tap water, as well as popular water brands being widely available across South African municipalities.


Whatever your company’s water purification needs are, Vicol offers industry-leading custom turnkey water purification solutions for all industries across South Africa, including custom designs, manufacturing, system installation, maintenance and delivery. Our services are conducted by experts in the field and always prioritise customer service delivery, affordability and reliability.

For more information about our outstanding water purification solutions and how we can help support your business, contact Vicol today.

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