Why Bottled Water is NOT the Solution for China’s Drinking Water Crisis?

Why Bottled Water is NOT the Solution for China’s Drinking Water Crisis?

The bottled water business is one of the fastest growing markets in China. Water companies take advantage of the publics’ scepticism about the quality of tap water and promote their products as ‘safe’ and ‘healthy’. However, bottled water companies extract our precious and scarce water resources to fill billions of bottles and sell them for tremendous profit, destroying our vulnerable water system and seriously affecting people’s right of access to clean, sufficient and affordable water. While bottled water is promoted with the image of being ‘safe and healthy’; the water companies refuse to disclose the products’ information in reality. Is bottled water a real solution to the poor quality of tap water? What disasters could bottled water bring to us? What can we do to protect our right to water in the era of globalization, which is dominated by neo-liberalism?

This study aims to understand the consumption patterns of bottled water in China and to explore the bottled water industry’s impacts on both the environment and society. By exposing the problems of producing and consuming bottled water, we hope to raise the public’s and government’s awareness of the negative impacts of the bottled water industry, and take action to protect water resources and people’s right of access to clean water.

In this report, we try to answer the following questions:

•    What is the current situation of the bottled water market in China?

•    What are the factors that contribute to the large consumption of bottled water?

•    What are the impacts of the production and consumption of bottled water on the environment and society?

•    What are the role of the government and the law in regulating the bottled water industry and protecting water resources?

•    Is bottled water safer than tap water? If bottled water is not the solution for drinking water problems, then what is the way out?

Contents of the book


I.      Background

II.     Objectives and methodology


Chapter 1   Bottled Water in Mainland China

I.      The bottled water market in China

II.     Role of the domestic water supply corporations and transnational water companies

III.    People’s voices: Reasons for the large consumption of bottled water in China


Chapter 2 The Bottled Water Industry and Water-mining activities in China

Part One: The Economic and Environmental Costs of Bottled Water

I.      The distribution costs of bottled water

II.     Negative impacts on the environment


Part Two: The Mining of Groundwater

I.      Background

II.     The major water-mining places

III.    The large bottled water brands and their water-mining bases


Part Three: The Consequences of Water-mining

I.      Case Study: Kunming, Dali & Henan

II.     The role of government in protecting water resource


Chapter 3 Is Bottled Water Safe? – The Regulation of the Quality of Bottled Water

I.      Different types of bottled water and their regulations

II.     Limitations of the monitoring mechanism



Published October 2013

By Globalization Monitor

All rights reserved.

The content of this book may be reproduced in non-profit publication

Credit is requested

ISBN: 978-988-15405-6-0


Total pages: 68

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