Many people consider all bottled water as being the same, but in reality they differ greatly in terms of source and treatment. These differences are often very subtle, for example, some are labelled as spring water and others as natural mineral water. So what’s the difference?
The distinction between the two types of water sold in the UK is often a point of confusion for customers, as brands use different definitions to brand and sell their product.
In fact, the legal definitions for spring and mineral water are determined by governmental regulations updated in 2010 – “The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010″. These types of regulations are common in many countries and therefore both mineral and spring water can vary greatly in different countries.
What is spring water and where does it come from?
Spring water is the term used to refer to H20 collected directly from an underground spring where it rises to the surface. It’s rich in trace minerals and considered to be one of the best types of water for hydration and other health benefits.
Spring water is collected directly from a natural source, typically far underground in natural aquifers and must be bottled at the source. UK sources of spring water must meet certain hygiene standards, and may be further treated so they meet pollution regulations. However, it doesn’t have to undergo the same rigorous 2 year regulatory process as natural mineral water.
British bottlers and suppliers can extract water from different wells/sources in the same area, therefore if one source becomes polluted they can continue supplying from the same aquifer but extracted from a different well. For this reason most of the larger bottlers in the UK sell spring water as it allows for continuity of supply.
What is mineral water and where does it originate?
Just like spring water, mineral H2O also originates underground, but flows over and through rocks before it’s collected and bottled at source. However, it can’t undergo treatment in the same way.
The major defining characteristic of natural mineral water is that it must contain 250 ppm of trace minerals to be considered true “mineral” water.
According to UK legislation, it must originate in an officially recognised source that has undergone 2 years of frequent micro-biological testing. Authorities must be confident that the source is protected from all pollution and that the temperature and composition remain stable. The source must also be subject to continuous testing for years after its original certification.
What about artesian water?
Artesian water is the same as any underground spring or mineral water, but differs in how it gets to the surface. An artesian well occurs when there is adequate pressure in the aquifer to force the water towards the surface. It doesn’t need a pump to be extracted.
What is an aquifer?
An aquifer is a porous and permeable layer of rock through which water can easily move. For example, limestone, sandstone or conglomerate which can contain or transmit groundwater. When water passes through an aquifer, it naturally filters out impurities.
Different brands of spring and mineral waters contain varying amounts of minerals depending on their source. Details on the spring water that we sell is available in the water information section on our website. This is also mirrored on our supplier’s website.
Details on the small pack bottles of sparkling and still water is also available through our website and on Princess Gate Spring Water.