There are several reasons why bottled water is just plain stupid. The first one is obvious; the huge amount of plastic used for a small serving of water. Oil is needed to make the plastic as well as the fuel to transport it from the bottler to the store or consumer. In addition to the gas being used, the trucks emit pollution into our air. Tap water systems bring water into buildings on demand and do it without the harmful environmental damge that bottled water companies do.
The second reason is money. Buying bottled water can be almost 3,000 times more expensive than tap water. Bottled water is usually just tap water put into bottles, you are not getting any cleaner water in a bottle of bottled water just because they put a photo of a water spring or waterfall on the label. When buying bottled water you are paying for the bottle and the brand name, not safer water. In fact, some bottled water samples contain more harmful substances that tap water. Tap water is tested hundreds of times a week, whereas bottled water companies face little-to-no quality standards and the standards that exist don't have anyone enforcing them. The places with "strict" standards require one test per week, while other places don't require a private business to test their water.
Bottled water companies distribute their water all over. The local water supplies in places where bottled water companies are located are seeing a very unfair amount of water being taken. Why not use water from our own water supply instead of depleting another region's supply? Also by using our own water supply the money we spend on water will stay local. There is no reason to send our money to other regions for something we have access to already.
Finally I would like to say that if we did away with bottled water we would not go thirsty and there are still options to hydrate on the go. There are many products on the market that are reusable portable drink containers like canteens and mugs. For consumers who still irrationally believe that tap water is bad, buy a filter for your faucet or for a pitcher.
Everyone stands to benefit from decreasing the amount of bottled water we consume. It would be better for our environment, our pockets, our local economies, and other area's water supplies.
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons