Silicon Valley elites are spending US$37 for less than three gallons of dangerous, unfiltered water — and it’s flying off the shelves
‘You can’t stop consenting adults from being stupid,’ say food safety experts ‘but, we should at least try’
By Kate Taylor
Silicon Valley is developing a “raw water” obsession.
In San Francisco, “unfiltered, untreated, unsterilised spring water” from Live Water is selling for US$36.99 for a 2.5 gallon jug — and flying off the shelves, the New York Times reported. Start-ups dedicated to untreated water are gaining steam. Zero Mass Water, which allows people to collect water from the atmosphere near their homes, has already raised US$24 million in venture capital.
People — including failed startup Juicero’s co-founder Doug Evans — are gathering gallons of untreated water from natural springs, venturing out onto private property by night to get the water. Evans told The Times that he and his friends brought 50 gallons of raw water to Burning Man.
“I’m extreme about health, I know, but I’m not alone with this,” Evans said. “There are a lot of people doing this with me. You never know who you’ll run into at the spring.”
Business Insider’s Melia Robinson visited a San Francisco supermarket where a small company called Live Water sells its untreated water. Rainbow Grocery was sold out of the Fountain of Truth Spring Water from Live Water, but a sign indicated a “slight price increase.”
The cost of a 2.5 gallon jug increased from US$36.99 to US$60.99 since The Times’ article published. While the price includes the glass container, a refill costs only US$14.99, according to The Times.
Fans of the untreated water are not backed by science. However, many told the times that they feel confident that they are getting health benefits from drinking “live” water.
For example, Mukhande Singh, the founder of Live Water, told The Times that his startup’s water expired after a few months — something he says is normal for “real water.”
“It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” Singh said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realise that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”
However, food safety experts said there no evidence that untreated water is better for you. In fact, they say that drinking untreated water could be incredibly dangerous.
“Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” food safety expert Bill Marler told Business Insider. That includes bacteria and diseases such as cholera, E. coli, Hepatitis A, and Giardia.
“You can’t stop consenting adults from being stupid,” Marler said. “But, we should at least try.”