“Anybody here drink water, but wish you could pay more for it?” In January 2018, the “raw water” movement was doing the rounds on the US TV comedy circuit, and it was Stephen Colbert’s turn on The Late Show. “Well, good news,” continued Colbert, “because the next big start-up craze in Silicon Valley is ‘raw water’… water that’s unfiltered, untreated and unsterilised. Wow, drinking that sounds unsane!”
This followed a New York Times article mocking a new craze in San Francisco’s tech heartland for bottles of untreated spring water sold by companies such as Live Water for $36.99. These start-ups extolled the benefits of drinking “real water… within one lunar cycle of delivery”.
You might also like:
However, not everyone was laughing. Some were taking notes. Drinking water is typically highly regulated, and the market for buying and selling untreated water remains small and anecdotal. But the website Findaspring.com shows that “raw water” has since become a global movement of people seeking out their own wild water sources. Eager users list and map thousands of natural wells and springs across the world for people to drink from.
While the site’s disclaimer urges people to test all spring water before drinking it, its explainer video Why Spring Water by site founder Daniel Vitalis makes bold claims such as “we’re biologically adapted to [raw water] as an animal” and “we’re not any more adapted to refined H2O than we are to refined carbohydrates”.