Sales of bottled water in Ireland have been steadily growing for the past number of years. Figures from 2016 show that 152 million litres of bottled water were sold in a 12 month period in the Republic of Ireland.
Bottled water is hard water as it contains lots of dissolved minerals. Hard water can cause problems in the home for example the build up of lime scale in kettles but it does have the benefit of tasting nice.
There are two main types of bottled water, spring water and mineral water. Both of these types of water originate underground and collect in large aquifers. Spring water is rich in trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium and is bottled at source. The source must pass strict hygiene standards and can be further treated to meet pollution regulations. Mineral water also originates underground but it flows over and through rocks before reaching the bottling source. Bottled mineral water undergoes a similar but more strict process than spring water. Also bottled at source, mineral water must contain a minimum of 250 mg/L of trace minerals. It must pass strict hygiene standards, in the case of mineral water the source must undergo 2 years of frequent microbiological testing and continuous testing to ensure there is no pollution and the mineral content remains constant.
The minerals found in both spring and mineral water include calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These minerals not only give the water a pleasant taste but are also required by the body for good health.