Bottled water offers many important benefits— including portability, emergency applications, and convenience. The bottled water industry had been particularly valuable during major crises, such as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and other calamities. Nonetheless, recent attacks against bottled water by environmental activists threaten to undermine this industry and impede consumer freedom.
Some states have enacted regulations and taxes largely on the basis of unfounded claims about bottled water. For example, some environmental groups claim that most bottled water is simply re-bottled tap water. Yet only 25 percent of bottled water comes from municipal sources—the rest comes from springs and underground sources—and most of the municipal- source water undergoes extensive treatment before bottling that involves additional purification and other processing to improve flavor and quality.