After R2I, we found 3 choices for drinking water in India. We chose the 3rd option in this list.
1. Tap water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter
This is the most cost effective of the 3 drinking water choices and is widely used in India. Most households, restaurants, bars and hotels claim to have working RO systems. RO technology relies on a membrane filter that should have no cracks for the system to be effective. Worst of all, there is no way of knowing if the membrane develops a crack except repeatedly testing the water. Since workmanship and maintenance is frequently suspect, we’ve chosen NOT to use this system.
2. 1L Bottled water
1L of packaged drinking water costs between 20-30 cents/Rs.10-15 and can become expensive quickly. Packaged drinking water, however, guarantees good quality water if you stick to known brands (Kinley or Aquafina) and buy them from reliable sources (getting fake drinking water in branded bottles can be a problem). 1L bottles, however, are very expensive on a monthly basis. Additionally, you generate a lot of waste plastic. We’ve chosen to use this system only when eating out, traveling or during water emergencies at home. You can also call Kinley (owned by Coke) or Aquafina (owned by Pepsi) directly for supplies in Gurgaon and Delhi if you decide to go this route.
3. 3. 20L Bottled water – our choice
20L drinking water jars from Kinley or Aquafina costs $1.6/Rs.75. This is vastly cheaper than 1L bottles and much more convenient. You find a reliable source to deliver the water (if not Kinley or Aquafina directly), give them a deposit for the jars and start ordering. Usually they deliver the same day that you call and collect the empty jars on their way out. In Gurgaon, we use a major supermarket near us as our water supplier and use the water for cooking, drinking
The 20L jars are heavy and you’ll need a water dispenser for it:
- The open bucket with a tap option: Costs $3.5/Rs.150. You clean the mouth of the big water jar and overturn it into the bucket. Replace jar when empty. Works like a charm. This bucket is sold in most stores selling household goods. The picture above shows what it looks like when in use.
- The water cooler option (like in your office): Costs $133/Rs.6000 to rent the cooler (the supplier continues to own it and is responsible for all maintenance). Provides instant hot/cold water and can be useful for larger households since it’ll save you the trouble of constantly filling your fridge with bottles of drinking water. My mother-in-law just got this after calling Aquafina directly and is happy with it.