Springs and Bottled Waters of the World

Edited by P.E. LaMoreaux & J.T. Tanner. Published by Springer-Verlag, Tiergartenstr. 17, D-69121 Heidelberg, Germany: 2001: ISBN 3-540-61841-4: 248 198mm: xx + 315pp: Hardback: 51.50

Bottled water is big business round the world. In the UK, sales have grown from about 480 Ml in 1991 to some 1380 Ml in 2000 and are projected to rise to over 2200 Ml by 2005. Even so, per capita consumption in the UK is only a quarter of the European average encouraging many in the business to believe that these projected growth rates may actually be pessimistic. Bottled waters are produced in most countries and in many cases provide the safest drinking water for the visiting foreigners. It is of little surprise therefore, to find that the subject has attracted the production of a book on the subject.

The aim of this book is to provide a perspective on selected springs and bottled waters worldwide and has been written for hydrogeologists and for scientists working in the mineral water business. An introductory chapter describes the trend in using mineralized waters for medical treatment in ancient China to the modern proliferation of bottled waters, most of which are described as mineral water. The historical theme is continued in the next chapter that includes early ideas of how water flowed through the ground to a fascinating description of ancient springs mentioned in the Old Testament. Successive chapters describe aspects of the hydrogeology of springs bringing an unusual perspective to groundwater subjects.

Bottled water production is regulated by laws many countries, although the standards and requirements vary round the world. Some of these regulatory systems are described in the book although most attention is concentrated on those in the USA. I found it surprising that there is no mention of the EC Directive that regulates the production of all bottled waters in all EU member states.

More than half the book is devoted to the hydrogeological conditions that give rise to many of the internationally famous brands of bottled waters written as contributions by 48 international authors. The level of detail in these contributions is very varied, with the section on springs in Great Britain being disappointingly brief. To some extent this is made up by a detailed description of the hydrogeology of the thermal springs at Bath. Many famous springs are included such as the thermal springs at Baden-Baden and the springs of Ancient Rome. There are also examples from China, Russia, Hungary, Italy, Israel, and four sections on springs in Ireland besides many others.

There are many good quality diagrams and very many black and white photographs throughout the book. The appendix includes a useful glossary and the index is excellent and will really add value to the book as a reference text.

I found the book of interest especially for the case histories, and am sure that it will form a useful addition to hydrogeological literature. It can be expected to also attract non-specialist readers as the subject is of general interest. However, the price may mean that they will tend to borrow a library copy rather than buy one for themselves.

This review appeared in the Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management 2002, Volume 16, No 4, pages 301 -302

Copyright © CIWEM 2002

Eur Geol Eur Ing Professor F.C. Brassington BSc MSc CGeol FGS CEng MICE FCIWEM