Key Concepts

Sources of Water

Grey glacier, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

About 20,000 years ago, the Earth was one-third covered by glaciers, the remains of which are now being tapped as a source for bottled water. Alaskan tidewater-calving glaciers are melted for bottling, and elsewhere the water is harvested just before it runs into the ocean. The sources' steep terrain is often inhospitable to humans or animals, and environmental regulations restrict access. Glacier water is old water, sometimes formed more than 17,000 years ago. Typically, it has an extremely low mineral content and is similar in taste and other qualities to rainwater