Many people don't think twice about what's in that bottle of water they just bought at the grocery store. The taste, compared to tap water, might be worth it.
But in a recent article in Desert Companion, one of those bottles was looked at a little more closely. On the back of the label of Real Water - a bottle sold in many grocery stores around town - it says in fine black print: "Source of water: Las Vegas Valley Water District."
Now, bottling tap water is nothing new. In fact, according to the Food & Water Watch, about 50 percent of all bottled tap water in the U.S. comes from municipal tap water sources. What is new, however, is Real Water's claim that "Beyond alkalinity ... Alkalized Water Infused With Negative Ions."
While careful not to make any nutritional claims, the bottle goes on to list the benefits of drinking real water that "move your body to an alkalized state by removing acidic toxins," and "experience increased cellular hydration like never before."
Nevada Republican Assemblyman Brent Jones is the CEO of Affinity Lifestyles, Real Water's parent company. He cancelled a scheduled interview with KNPR, but was quoted in Desert Companion saying "It's alkalized, which a number of waters are becoming now. No one else has figured out how to permanently infuse the water with negative ions."
But, according to David Hatchett, chair of the chemistry department at UNLV, infusing the water with only negative ions isn't possible. Citing the basic physics of charge neutrality, he likened it to swimming in the ocean: if there wasn't both positive and negative ions present, you would be electrocuted.
There's also the moral argument of bottling water in one of the driest cities in the country - which Howard Watts, communications specialist for the Great Basin Water Network, says is "highly irresponsible."
But what Jones and his company are doing is not illegal. And by Jones' estimates, he employs some 40 to 60 people in Nevada.
David Hatchett, chair, UNLV chemistry department; Howard Watts, communications specialist, Great Basin Water Network; Heidi Kyser, reporter, Desert Companion