Behold the beautiful RC Harris waterworks building. Built in 1930, it was dubbed the Palace of Water. With marble interior, gleaming brass fixtures and an Art Deco style, it has earned its historic building status. Despite its advanced years, the plant still produces 800 million litres a day of fresh, clean drinking water. I live across the street from it, so I see a daily reminder of how lucky we are to have a virtually unlimited supply of the life-giving nectar. Could this water plant be a reminder of how to tap into easy savings?

At current rates, water costs about $3.80 for a cubic meter. That’s a lot of water. Putting it into terms we can relate to, filling a one litre bottle costs about 1/3 of a cent. Quite economical. Especially when you compare that to, say Dasani bottled water which is also made from, well, tap water and costs about $2 at retail.  And what to make of those souls lugging cases of bottled water from Costco to minivan, then minivan to driveway and driveway to kitchen, typically somewhere near the faucet. Yes, the thing that spouts the unlimited supply. Splurge on a fancy stainless steel water bottle, and enjoy some fresh tap water while saving the oceans from some polyethylene terephthalate that they don’t really need.

Picture a 17 pound block of sugar

But people don’t just drink water. they drink a lot of soft drinks. In 2018 we will drink about 65 litres of the stuff per person. Thats about 200 cans of pop for each of us. Which you can think of as us consuming about 7.8 kg of sugar (picture a 17 lb weight plate at the gym – not that they come in that size). 200 cans of pop holds about 30,000 calories or enough to help us each gain 8.6 lbs a year. If you are drinking the diet version, you will save the sugar, but you may be embalming your body with a curious mix of chemicals. Cost wise, these 200 cans of pop add about $400 year which we could all put to better use.

Looking at a typical fast food lunch, the “entre” is somewhere around $8-$10 but the drink adds another $2. So swapping out the drink for plain water is another way to tap into easy savings. It’s like having a 20% discount card at every restaurant in town. And the drink may be adding 15 – 20% of the calories as well, and loading you with sugar that you can do without.  Ask them to put the water into your refillable bottle, saving them the cost of the cup and the earth the extra landfill. If they whine about giving you tap water explain that you need it to take your pills. 

Sparkling, glacier fed, oxygenated, imported or tap?

At high end restaurants, they love to get the fancy water flowing to swell the cheque size. Up selling. Some restaurants run contests around it to optimize profits. Others actually “make’ their own signature water. When the question comes, request tap water. Maybe add a bit of lemon. Won’t affect the conversation, the business deal or the taste of the food. Another way to tap into easy savings.

An easy habit to change

CBS recently reported that 75% of Americans fall short of the recommended 10 cups of water a day. Time to hydrate. I know, water is a bit boring. Add some ice. If you substitute tap water enough times, everything else will seem too sweet, your health will benefit and you will free up  bit of cash for debt repayment or incremental savings. Switching to water works the same as changing any habit. More on that here.

Have you switched to tap water? Still stuck drinking pounds of sugar a year? Let me know!

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