Don’t Drink ‘Raw Water’ 

Don’t Drink ‘Raw Water’ 

Photo on Best Running

I love a raw carrot. Crunchy and sweet, you can dip it in hummus or ranch dressing. Raw apples have a similar charm, and raw red onions give salads a happy kick. I’m also a fan of raw honey‘s gritty sugar crystals. You know what all these things have in common? They are perfectly healthy to eat raw. Unlike the latest supposed trend, raw water.

If you’ve ever been camping, you know that if you don’t bring your own water, you must take steps to purify what you scoop out of streams and lakes. You can sip it through a filter, run it through a purification system, add chemical water purification tablets, or boil it for one minute.

This is because even the purest mountain streams are full of deer pee, fish poop, pond scum, dirt, and whatever the previous campers left behind. Skip the purification and you could end up with a Cryptosporidium, Shigella, norovirus, or Giardia infection.

No source of water is guaranteed pure. Even if you collect your own rain water, you have to be careful that you’re not growing bacteria in the pipes and tanks it goes into. Municipal water systems treat water to kill bacteria, usually with chlorine. Even companies that collect and bottle spring water sterilize it, usually by shining ultraviolet light on the water.

There are now a few companies selling untreated water at premium prices, under brand names like Live Water and Tourmaline Spring. Live Water claims that some of the water’s bacteria are “probiotic” and therefore good for you. (Ars Technica reports that the microbiology studies they cite don’t support their claims and that “[t]here is plenty of data showing that fluoride improves dental health, but none showing water-based mind control.”) Don’t drink it, ok? Although at $US60 ($77) a jug, you probably weren’t going to.


  • What they’re drinking isn’t “raw” water, its just dirty water. filtering is not a cooking process, its a cleaning process

    If what they’re saying is accurate, they should also bite into carrots and potatoes straight out of the ground, bite into a living cow for beef and chew wheat from the stalk…

  • I fully support rich people drinking raw water. I mean if they truly want to experience what most of the people on the planet have to deal with day to day with contaminated water then they should go for it.

    $77 a jug? I’ll put the local creek water in a jug for $50 if anyone is interested. Sure it MAY of killed the ducks that lived in it but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

  • Surely it depends on the source.

    I certainly wouldn’t drink untreated water out of the Ganges delta. But have (repeatedly) done so from melt-water rivers in NZ’s South Island and in the Rockies.

    Water doesn’t need to be sterile – our gut and immune system are designed for it not to be. It just needs to not have chemical or pathogenic hazards. Exercise a little care and preparation and it isn’t complicated.

    For example, fast-flowing mountain streams with green algae and/or weeds are often safe, especially if there’s evidence of herbivores using as a water source too. Conversely, low-lying barren streams may be an indication of pollution that could be deadly even if treated with chlorine or iodine.

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