It's Easier For You To Drink Fiji Water Than It Is For Most People From Fiji

We were thirsty the other day and wandered into a cute organic foods store on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. As we went to pick out something to drink, we saw that only Fiji brand water was chilled. We decided to buy some tea, but for a moment we considered buying water from Fiji. After all, we were thirsty.

Then we thought about how stupid it was to buy water from Fiji . Not that there’s anything wrong with Fiji, but we don’t need their water. We have water. So when we saw the following quote, we were glad we didn’t buy water that had to be transported from Fiji.

And in Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water. Which means it is easier for the typical American in Beverly Hills or Baltimore to get a drink of safe, pure, refreshing Fiji water than it is for most people in Fiji.

Consumerist is all for consuming, don’t get us wrong, but that’s just messed up. You might be a dumbass for drinking Evian (and we’ve done it) but at least the people in France appear to have enough water. If you read the rest of the article the quote comes from, it doesn’t get any better. It does, however, make us feel a little more willing to suffer the inevitable eye roll one gets from many New York servers when one says, “No, bottled water, thanks. Tap water is fine.”

Message in a Bottle [Fast Company via BoingBoing]
(Photo: rickabbo)


Edit Your Comment

  1. 5cents says:

    The bottled water phenomenon is ridiculous. All hail potable tap water!

  2. Boss Hogg says:

    Fiji water contains Silica, a naturally occurring element not found in other bottled water. We drink Fiji water exclusively, up to a gallon a day. All hail Imperialist consumerism.

  3. specialed5000 says:

    @Boss Hogg: If you want silica, couldn’t you just eat sand?

  4. homerjay says:

    The benefits of silica as a preventitive for cancer is VERY debatable.

  5. nweaver says:

    Yeah, munch on sand. Mmmm, silica…

  6. nightbird says:

    You guys have been spending too much time on NPR


  7. nightbird says:

    ….Or maybe I spend too much time on NPR.

  8. coconino says:

    Nice to see you posting this… the message should go out to all bottled water drinkers and I was one of them!

  9. Chese says:

    I don’t care for Fiji, you can actually see the sand floating in the water. ick. Also fiji is no better than typical tapwater, and may infact have more arsenic, yum! []

  10. saguaro says:

    How did reading the article lead to the conclusion that one should actually forego using products from Fiji in order to help the Fijians? Unless NYC tap is magically correlated with the Fijian economy. But you don’t have to read the article, just gain an understanding of basic economics.

  11. defectiveburger says:

    now, here’s my issue with tap water. The tap water in my area smells AND tastes like sewage. Would you happily guzzle that down? Hell no! Bottled water it is

    In theory, however, I’d much rather use a nalgene and tap water to keep hydrated, but sewage-scented water just isn’t that appealing…

  12. superlayne says:

    …I drink Nestle water because I’m a capitalist whore?

    At least it isn’t imported. >>

  13. agahnim says:

    Hey, our subways may suck here in SF, but at least we have really good tap water!
    The only time I really buy bottled water is when I want some carbonated goodness or need to run off somewhere.

  14. acambras says:

    Bottled water is convenient, but using your own refillable bottle is also convenient, cheaper, and better for the environment. My boss got rid of the Poland Springs cooler at the office after realizing the costs (to the firm and to the planet) — we have a filter on the tap and it’s just fine.

    Funny about Nestle — if I’m not mistaken, there was a boycott of Nestle some years ago, because in marketing their baby formula to third world countries, they tried to convince mothers that Nestle formula was superior to breast milk.

  15. Brigitte says:

    I grew up on a farm, where I had to endure drinking horrible, sulfurous water – certainly a good argument for drinking the bottled stuff.

    But, in NY, tap water is as good as it gets.

    Funny, though – bottled water as a ‘status’ symbol: I know(by association) a wealthy New York socialite couple who *only* allow their daughter to drink Fiji water. I tried to give her tap water one time, and they flipped. Because, of course, only the ‘purest’ water is good enough for their child.

  16. In area, I wouldn’t want to do dishes or brush my teeth with the tap water, nuch less drink it. It’s just gross.

  17. TechnoDestructo says:

    God, this isn’t just the bottled water phenomenon, this isn’t just conspicuous consumption, this is colossal ignorance.

    Pacific islands aren’t exactly known for the quality or quantity of their water.

    Also, I grew up with sand and iron in my tap water. I’d sooner do with out. (And up in the hills they got arsenic to go with it, and/or sulfur.)

    @BrigitteT: “Purest?” God, purest what?

    You know, New York has a reputation for having excellent tap water, and it seemed pretty good to me the one time I went. They should fucking kick everyone out who doesn’t drink it. Your friends of friends really need the shit kicked out of them.

    Anyhow, they’re not the greatest books in the world, and the author is a damn pedo pervert, but the Conrad Stargard books by Leo Frankowski had one part I really liked. The hero has travelled back in time to medieval Poland. Among other things, he sets up a breeding program to enhance livestock. A local nobleman, to show how wealthy he is and always have the best table, keeps buying and slaughtering the prizewinning animals. Conrad’s accountants grab the guy and beat the shit out of him.

    This is the same sort of thing, and the same response seems like a very good idea.

  18. Sorry about the double post, but I forgot to note that we tried the filter-on-tap thing, but we went through filters every couple of weeks. On a side note, I really wish that there was an Edit button….

  19. Firstborn Dragon says:

    Same here the water from the tap is HORRID strate. It smells and tastes funny. If you throw in some flavoring it’s fine, but if you want strait water, you basically need to drink bottled.

    Or I do because I canot STAND the taste of teh tap water.

  20. bohemian says:

    We bought a counter top water distiller for about $100. Tastes better and I don’t have to haul flats of water home from the store. It paid for itself in about two months.

  21. silenuswise says:

    Count me among the non-drinkers of bottled water–tap water with a filter is cheap and tasty. Where the hell do you people live where water tastes like sewage? Tijuana? Damn, I’ve lived in the Midwest and on the West Coast and always have had good tap water.

  22. roche says:

    Another water filter owner here. The thing rocks. F bottled water…..

  23. Kloud says:

    You guys have got to be kidding. Wasn’t there a story on Consumerist that said bottled water was marked up some 300%? On top of that the government is squeezing more money out of you, and you’re probably paying more for taxes on the water than it is out of the tap. I have a filter on my fridge and that’s where I get my water. Tap for life.

  24. Mom2Talavera says:

    I only use steam distilled bottled water. I don’t like spring or mineral added water. time to watch That Penn & teller BS episode on Water…lol!

  25. mathfeel says:

    Whatever happen to boil your water? My Mom did it religiously and have influenced me into drinking only boiled water. Heck, even in a hot summer day, I drink tap water about 10 minutes off the boiler…Then again, maybe my kind is rare…

  26. SBR249 says:

    I drink a lot of bottled water because it’s convenient, I grab a bottle from my case of 48 or whatever and go.

    I don’t go around spouting the revitalizing virtues of bottled vs. tap and I don’t delude myself with BS about it being better for my health. I drink it purely because I’m too lazy to buy a nalgene and fill it so I grab a bottle and chuck it after I’m done. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d happily drink tap like I did growing up.

  27. motherwell says:

    I go for bottled water because the tap water in Los Angeles is foul.

    I am a sucker for the square bottle. Fiji for Meji

  28. orchid777 says:

    I drink bottled water because our tap tastes like chlorine.

    However, I will be drinking Fiji water no more.

  29. kuta says:

    I have drunk tap water all over various islands in Fiji. No problem. The large city of Suva has ongoing water supply problems unrelated to quality. Fiji brand water is available in stores throughout the islands as well as water from other countries. I was amazed once to buy a bottle of water in the town of Labasa (near where the last “Survivor” was shot) that came from England.

  30. Agent Cow3.14 says:

    I live in Los Angeles. A few years ago they decided to change our water supply with a new formula to make it more sanitary. The immediate change was a strange new odor and a horrid taste. If you tried to boil it for drinking, it’s ok if you drink it right away, but there’s stuff in it that can’t be boiled away and keeping this tap boiled in the fridge only makes it worse. Sometimes, the tap has a gloopy consistency. Yum. Gimme the bottled stuff. There’s a reason why everyone in L.A. drinks bottled water despite the cost.

  31. spooky says:

    I would love to be able to drink water from the tap and stop spending so much money on bottled water. Unfortunately, the tap water where I live comes out of the tap cloudy and usually has stuff floating in it. My small, west Texas town doesn’t have the best quality control, I guess.

  32. tcp100 says:

    @Boss Hogg: You mean silica, as in pretty much the most common mineral (not element) on earth? Helloooo pseudoscience! Do you also wear magnetic bracelets?

  33. humorbot says:

    Filter people, filter. Even those lo-fi Britta pitchers do a decent job at filtering chlorinated tap water and thus avoiding the eco-clusterfuck caused by those masses of pastic waterbottles we clog the landfills with year after year.

    Filter, whether under the sink or in the fridge, and don’t hesitate to request tap water at restaurants, even if they grief you for not consuming somthing from a glacier or an artesian well or mineral spring or even clarvic spring.

  34. TechnoDestructo says:

    All you bottle/filter drinkers are a bunch of pussies.

  35. catkiller says:

    That’s the way it is when beverage manufacturers move into areas where they are not heavily regulated. A few years ago a human rights watch organization posted about places in India that were experiencing severe water shortages because the majority of the local supply was being diverted to a Coca-Cola factory. At least most of what was made was not intended for export…

  36. Ray Wert Jr says:

    Is this were we have gotten too? Criticizing people who drink tap water? Bravo. Now can we get back to something important, like Pepsi vs. Coke?

  37. shoegazer says:

    Thank God for George Carlin.

    Let me tell you a true story about immunization ok. When I was a little boy in New York city in the nineteen-forties, we swam in the Hudson river. And it was filled with raw sewage! OK? We swam in raw sewage, you know, to cool off. And at that time the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids died from polio every year. But you know something? In my neighborhood no one ever got polio. No one! EVER! You know why? Cause WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE! It strengthened our immune system, the polio never had a prayer. We were tempered in raw shit!

  38. Nighthawk Foo says:

    Personally, I find NYC tap water to be just as good, if not better than some bottled waters. Considering it’s transported from reservoirs in rural upstate NY, this isn’t surprising.

  39. JustAGuy2 says:

    If you’re going to quote from the article on Fiji Water, you should do so fairly:

    “Fiji Water often quietly supplies emergency drinking water in such cases. The reality is, if Fiji Water weren’t tapping its aquifer, the underground water would slide into the Pacific Ocean, somewhere just off the coast. But the corresponding reality is, someone else–the Fijian government, an NGO–could be tapping that supply and sending it through a pipe to villagers who need it. Fiji Water has, in fact, done just that, to some degree–20 water projects in the five nearby villages. Indeed, Roll has reinvested every dollar of profit since 2004 back into the business and the island.”

  40. jerkasaurus says:

    Tap water in my neck of the woods is so heavily chlorinated it’s revolting — it’s fine after filtering through my trusty Brita, though.

    Still, I don’t see how avoiding Fiji Water helps the people of Fiji. According to the article, 200 (soon to be 250) Fijians are employed at the plant, and entry-level jobs pay twice the minimum wage. It also says that Fiji Water buys local packaging, engineering services, landscaping, and security. But I guess that doesn’t mean anything. Corporations are always evil, right?

  41. A few months back I bought a case of Fiji water to drink with a bottle of good absinthe I had just gotten, and I have never looked back. That stuff tastes really good . . . even without booze in it.

    Don’t the proceeds go toward raising the level of the Fijian economy in some way? Make whatever puns you will regarding “trickle-down” and the aquifer, it’s too early for me.

  42. B says:

    If we stopped importing Fiji water, how many Fijians, or whatever you call people from Fiji, would lose their jobs?

  43. The Bigger Unit says:

    If you saw the water that comes out of my tap at home and at work, your ass would be drinking bottled water too. Shitty Alabama water supply.

  44. lebronjc says:

    Firstly does anybody care where that quote come from, because you can put anything in quotes and it looks more reliable.

    “And in Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water. Which means it is easier for the typical American in Beverly Hills or Baltimore to get a drink of safe, pure, refreshing Fiji water than it is for most people in Fiji.”

    I don’t doubt that in developing countries it’s difficult to get access to safe potable water but, Fiji seems to be a pretty popular vaction/honeymoon spot these days and the above quote sounds like propaganda to me.

    And in my opinion the water tastes much better than my filtered tap water.

    I think if you HAD actually tried the water, we wouldn’t even have this post to rant and rave about.

    P.S. I do NOT work for Fiji water, though I would love to to, heck it’s in Fiji for goodness sake.

  45. RandomHookup says:

    Well, just follow the advice of W.C. Fields…

    “I don’t drink water. Fish poop in it.” (or some version thereof)

  46. Doc Benway says:

    For the record in New York we try to call our tap water Bloomberg Water.

  47. Prosumerist says:

    I believe most of NYC municipal water is recycled (“reclamed”). We still use a carbon filter, one of those above-the-counter models that has a replaceable filter. It’s interesting actually seeing the dirt/impurities that get trapped.
    New filter = white. 6 months later – brown.
    I still hope they one day faze out flouride.

  48. acambras says:

    @The Nature Boy:

    Where in Alabama are you? My grandparents used to live in Demopolis (not far from Selma).


  49. vanilla-fro says:

    Penn & Teller BS episode on bottled water was the best.

  50. Jon Parker says:

    Not that this is relevant, but back in 2000 my girlfriend’s grandmother was eating out in New York and asked the waiter for water. He replied “We have Perrier, Evian, Glacier…”

    She looked at him and said, totally deadpan, “I believe I’ll have the Giuliani.”

  51. bluemeep says:

    Here in Orlando, the tap water is absolutely horrendous. The first time I took a shower after moving down from Virginia I actually gagged from the sulphur stench.

    After awhile you get used to the smell, but it’s still awful to drink. I keep a few cannisters of Country Time and Kool Aid powder around for my drinking needs.

  52. Papercutninja says:

    I just moved to NJ a few months ago and i miss my NYC tap water. The water where i live now tastes kindof “dead”. Something about NYC tap was crisp and really perfect…i guess i can drink as much as i want when i visit my parents.

    Having said that, i’m not for or against tap water. But if i’m out and didn’t bring any boiled tap water, then i’ll buy a bottle. But it is ironic that the island of Fiji does not have safe drinking water for its residents.

  53. Winca says:

    @B: why the fuck should I subsidize the Fijian economy? Why not the Albanians? Lichtensteinians?

  54. madktdisease says:


    it’s new jersey. the entire state is devoid of flavor.

  55. Yossarian says:

    I read that article yesterday (while I was “working”, natch) and it makes a great argument for tap water. I recently switched to a stainless steel refillable water bottle and a Brita. I couldn’t be happier and neither can the recycling guy.

    I can’t even believe I once thought it was ok to buy bottled water, much less to throw the bottle away and not recycle it when I was done. Gross!

  56. Yossarian says:

    @B: Read the article. 200 Fijians would be out of work out of the hundreds of thousands that actually live there.

  57. bbbici says:

    NINE litres of gasoline-equivalent fossil fuels are burned to extract, bottle, and ship ONE litre of Fijian water to North America, which ranks it as the most environmentally egrigious water, and perhaps food product period, in our food system.

    Drink hyperpurified local bottled tap water if you must (dasani for instance), but drinking imported water is utterly despicable in this day and age.

  58. Notsewfast says:

    Colorado here…

    fantastic tap water, no need for a filter, clean and basically ice cold out of the tap..

  59. Mom2Talavera says:

    Check The Environmental Working Group tap water database to see how your community’s water quality rated (click tabs above)


    “Tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards, according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation of water suppliers’ tests of the treated tap water served to communities across the country.

    In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals – more than half – are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.

  60. zaky says:

    The Fiji bottles are fabulous. Isn’t that the whole point?

  61. Mom2Talavera says:

    These []
    are fabulous too and they don’t leach DEHA(for those that hang onto the bottle because its pretty) or end up in the landfill for that matter.

  62. GrandmaSophie says:

    Water quality varies pretty greatly from community to community. When I lived in one rental house, we got a letter from our city telling us that the city’s water supply tested high for lead and that we should be cautious. So we started buying bottled water. We couldn’t install an RO filter in the rental house, and didn’t know of any practical alternative at the time.

    My father once worked for a bottled water company, so he’d drink the water he got there for free; it never occurred to him to give that bottled water to his dog. One day his dog dropped dead. The autopsy came back with lead poisoning. He’s been a believer in bottled water ever since.

    That all said, I avoid buying bottled water. I am pretty seriously on the reduce end of the reduce-reuse-recycle trend. I now have an RO filter in my house, and fill stainless steel water bottles to take out of the house with us. I only buy bottled water when I find myself unexpectedly needing water and tap water is either unavailable (stopping at a gas station on a road trip), or unreliable. As I said above, some places have really clean water… others don’t. I prefer not to trust strange water. I’ll strive to carry water from my own filter.

    On the occasion that I do buy bottled water, though, I would never buy water from Fiji or France. That transportation issue is an environmental and ethical nightmare. I avoid buying Poland Spring or any other national brand as well. Pennsylvania is rare among states in that it actually has testing standards for spring water. There is a license number printed on every bottle of PA-bottled spring water. Thus, if I do buy bottled water, I always make sure it’s bottled in Pennsylvania. It’s both fairly local and reasonably guaranteed clean.

  63. Frank Grimes says:

    If you think Fiji is ridiculous, the company I work for was in discussions with a Japanese group that wanted to set up pumps off the coast of Hawaii and pump up the water that’s 10-20K feet below the surface. The theory being that it takes so long for the upwelling in the Pacific that this water is “untouched by man”, totally pure. They pitched the idea that it would be the purest water on the planet. Pure BS I’m thinking (won’t desalination kind of alter this?) but the same morons that have fine china on the table with bottles of Fiji will probably snap this up.

  64. methane says:

    Please, everyone knows that the best water comes from Icebergs in the north atlantic. That’s why I don’t drink bottled water. I only drink Iceberg Vodka.

  65. JustAGuy2 says:


    “I still hope they one day faze out flouride.”

    1. Why? Are you a fan of childhood tooth decay?
    2. It’s phase, not faze.

  66. ikes says:

    “I believe most of NYC municipal water is recycled (“reclamed”).”

    Your belief is wrong. Straight from the Catskills, baby!

  67. kuta says:

    The deep ocean water is a reality and a big seller in Japan. It brings millions to the Hawai’i economy and the stuff is soon to be available in the US.@Frank Grimes:

  68. anmlStyl says:

    we had a 3-part report here in San Francisco ( Chronicle) about bottled water, tap water debate. a good read… here’s the 3rd part specifically talking about Fiji brand water.

    L.A. business tries to make Fiji Water a star

    The other two parts are searchable on the site, look up “Lazarus” + “water”

  69. tenfootcactus says:

    First of all let me state, I am totally in agreement as to the utter stupidity of bottle water in general. While there certainly are situations where I understand it makes sense; i.e. on the run, when the quality of water is subpar and filtration isn’t a viable option (in these cases bulk water makes more sense) Besides being a massive rip off, trucking (over 7 lbs. a gallon) water across the country and the world is a massive waste of energy and produces an obscene amount of carbon emissions for virtually nill tangible benefit. But my comments concern your assertions about Fiji. I have spent many months in Fiji, traveling extensively from urban Suva, to the interior of Vanu Levu, to far flung outlying islands (where rainwater is the only supply) often staying with local Fijians in small villages – and I assure you nowhere in the country will you have a problem finding the ubiquitous (often in the large 1.5 liter bottles) Fiji water. It available virtually anywhere you can by anything for as reasonable as price (by western standards extremly low) prices. And while I certainly don’t contend Fiji is without water problems, I certainly can’t buy the assertion that half of Fijians are without reliable, potable water. This is the most affluent nation in the South Pacific after all – I was curious where this info was coming from?

  70. ZonzoMaster says:

    Holly crap, so many cities with horrible water. Hmm, i think we have better tap water in Monterrey (Mexico), im still getting a filter anyway.

    Oh and for those who recicle plastic bottles for carrying water, wash them often, they will eventually grow fungus or bacteria if you just put more water in it.

  71. mermaidshoes says:

    if everyone’s tap water is THAT bad, i’d think you’d want to lobby for better local water treatment, rather than waste your money on bottled water. i mean, do you bathe in bottled water, too? or do you always come out of the shower with that nice “sewer” stench?

    that said, i do really like the fiji water bottles. i got a free fiji water while shopping at some fancy-ass store and i’ve been refilling the bottle (with *gasp* tap water) cause it’s so cute and little and square. and it has flowers and ferns on it, too! that must mean it’s good for you.

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  73. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I live in the middle of the state of Virginia (not Richmond). The tap water here actually burns my eyes.

    I miss London. Best tap water ever.