AUSTRALIANS are paying 2000 times more than the cost of tap water to drink from a bottle, research by consumer group Choice shows.
The review found Australians were forking out $500 million-a-year for bottled water, despite nine in 10 households being connected to town water.
Choice spokesman Tim Godfrey said big brands such as Active Organic, AquaPura, Nature's Best Organic and Coca Cola's Pump were effectively selling tap water with a healthy-sounding name at hugely inflated prices.
He said the industry, which sells 600 mega litres of water each year, had succeeded in "brainwashing" consumers into thinking bottled water was better.
"While a litre of tap water in Sydney costs only a fraction of a cent, consumers can pay upwards of $3.88 a litre for bottled water, with a large proportion of this cost coming from producing the plastic bottle, lid and label - not to mention marketing," Mr Godfrey said.
"If you drink two litres of water a day straight from the tap, you'll pay $1.50 a year. Drink the same amount from single-serve bottles and you'll be $2800 out of pocket.
"When compared to a litre of unleaded petrol clocking in at $1.41, bottled water is leagues away from good value."
Mr Godfrey said the environment damage caused by bottled water was also substantial, pointing to low recycling rates and the large number of bottles (60%) going to landfill.
Choice's tips to offset the impact of bottled water on the hip pock and the environment:
- If tap water is a problem where you live, there are a number of water filters on the market that can help you save money in the long term
- Use a reusable drink bottle
- To find your nearest tap to refill your bottle, check Choose Tap app and if your area is not included, ask your utility or council to provide coordinates to Yarra Valley water.
- Contact your local council to for information about maintained water standards and availability of taps in your area.