Here are some answers from John Stossel's book:
Does bottled water taste better than tap water?
ABC News ran a taste test. We put two imported waters, Evian and Iceland Spring, up against Aquafina (America's best seller), American Fare (Kmart's discount brand), Poland Spring (which is bottled in America, not Poland), and some water from a public drinking fountain in the middle of New York City.
We asked people to rate the waters. Only one water got "bad" ratings [the most expensive one, Evian]. The water our testers liked most came from Kmart, which costs a third of what Evian costs. Aquafina ranked second...
Tied for third were [Iceland Spring] and... drum roll... New York City tap water. In other words, reservoir water -- squeezed through the antique pipes of NYC before emerging from a water fountain in Harlem -- tastes as good as expensive imports. Even people who told us that they didn't like tap water did like it, when they didn't know it was tap water.Is bottled water more "pure" than tap water?
Many people believe that bottled water is cleaner. So we sent bottled and tap water samples to microbiologist Aaron Margolin, of the University of New Hamsphire, to test for bacteria, like E. Coli, that can make you sick. "No difference", he said.
Some people worry more about traces of chemicals in water, like chlorine, lead, chromium, copper, and iron. It's possible that you will ingest more of these from some tap waters than bottled, but trace amounts of chemicals are not only harmless, they may even be helpful; that's why iron, copper, and chromium are in vitamin pills.There are some counties where the tap water is not as safe or tasty as bottled water, but it appears that in the majority of America, you can save money (and trash) by just drinking out of the tap.
To further this point, I recently went to a wedding in Indiana where they served Absopure bottled water. As it turned out, it had been bottled (and "purified"?) from the municipal water in Plymouth, Michigan. Municipal water is city water! I suppose Plymouth's tap water is tasty enough for these customers!
*Tap water rate for Ann Arbor, MI.