People in San Francisco are spending up to $60 dollars to drink the untreated water. Sold by a company called Live Water, bottles of the filth are flying off the shelves, according to the New York Times. Others, it is reported, are gathering and storing untreated spring water—known to harbor potentially lethal bacteria that survivalists, travel guides, and soldiers will warn you from drinking.
Food safety experts warn that consuming so-called “raw” water can cause deadly infections including cholera, hepatitis A, and E. coli, among other water-borne diseases.
Startups dedicated to selling untreated water are also on the rise. One company, called Zero Mass Water, is selling products that allow people to collect their own water from rivers and streams near their homes. The New York Times reports that the company has already raised more than $24 in venture capital funding.
The paper reports that enthusiasts of the fad are venturing out at night onto private property to purloin untreated water from natural springs to quench their thirst.
One enthusiast, Doug Evans, who founded the failed high-profile startup company Juicero, says he and his friends brought 50 gallons of untreated water to the Burning Man festival last year.
Juicero, for what it’s worth, is dubbed the “weird bad juice machine.” It ran out of business due to a flaw in their subscription-based product—drinkers could simply squeeze the juice out with their bare hands without having to spend $400 on their WiFi-enabled juicer.
“I’m extreme about health, I know, but I’m not alone with this,” Evans said. “There are a lot of people doing this with me. You never know who you’ll run into at the spring.”
Supporters of the raw water drinking fad told the Times that there is no scientific validity to the “product,” but they felt confident they were getting health benefits from it.
Live Water founder Mukhande Singh says that untreated water produced by his startup came with an expiration—something that is normal for “real water.”
“It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” said Singh. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”
I wonder why.