The rush to get water off the grid

although the off-grid water movement has become more than the fringe phenomenon This specific once was, with sophisticated marketing, cultural cachet, millions of dollars in funding along with influential supporters via Silicon Valley.

One recent morning inside the hills of Berkeley, Calif., Cody Friesen, the founder along with chief executive of Zero Mass Water, was inspecting water collection panels he had installed for his investor Skip Battle, a longtime tech leader who right now sits on the boards of LinkedIn, Netflix along with OpenTable.

The system — called Source, which retails for $4,500, including installation — draws moisture via the air (the way rice does in a saltshaker) along with filters This specific, producing about 10 liters of water a day along with storing about 60 liters. The goal, Mr. Friesen said, is actually to make water “that will’s ultra high quality along with secure, totally disconnected via all infrastructure.”

“Just take a breath of air,” said Mr. Friesen, a professor of materials science at Arizona State University. “Take a deep breath. No matter how wealthy or poor you are, you can take a breath along with own that will air that will you breathe. along with yet water — the government brings This specific to you.”

Mr. Battle’s system runs on power via its own modest solar panel. This specific feeds into a tap set up in his stone garden, where he goes to drink. He said he’s been generating all his meals along with drinks with This specific.

Mr. Battle poured himself a glass. “The water via the tap just doesn’t taste quite as refreshing,” he said. “right now is actually that will because I saw This specific come off the roof, along with anything via the roof feels special? Maybe.”

The most prominent proponent of raw water is actually Doug Evans, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. After his juicing company, Juicero, collapsed in September, he went on a 10-day cleanse, drinking nothing although Live Water. “I haven’t tasted tap water in a long time,” he said.

Before he could order raw water on demand, Mr. Evans went “spring hunting” with friends. This specific has become more challenging lately: The closest spring around San Francisco has recently been cut off by landslides, so reaching This specific means crossing private property, which he does under cover of night.

“You have to be agile along with tactile, along with be available to experiment,” he said. “Literally, you have to carry bottles of water through the dark.”

At Burning Man, the summer festival inside the Nevada desert that will attracts the digerati along with others, Mr. Evans along with his R.V. mate brought 50 gallons of spring water they had collected. “I’m extreme about health, I know, although I’m not alone with This specific,” Mr. Evans said. “There are a lot of people doing This specific with me. You never know who you’ll run into at the spring.”

The founder of Live Water, Mukhande Singh, started out selling spring water via Opal Springs in Culver, Ore., three years ago, although This specific was a modest local operation until This specific year. Marketing materials show Mr. Singh (né Christopher Sanborn) sitting naked along with cross-legged on a hot spring, his long brown hair flowing over his chest.

Pure water can be obtained by using a reverse osmosis filter, the gold standard of home water treatment, although for Mr. Singh, the goal is actually not pristine water, per se. “You’re going to get 99 percent of the bad stuff out,” he said. “although right now you have dead water.”

He said “real water” should expire after a few months. His does. “This specific stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If This specific sits around too long, This specific’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that will because all their water’s dead, so they never see This specific turn green.”

Mr. Singh believes that will public water has been poisoned. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” he said. “Chloramine, along with on top of that will they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, although This specific’s a mind-control drug that will has no benefit to our dental health.” (There is actually no scientific evidence that will fluoride is actually a mind-control drug, although plenty to show that will This specific aids dental health.)

Talk like Mr. Singh’s disturbs Dr. Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. What the raw-water partisans see as dangers, he says, are important safety measures.

“Without water treatment, there’s acute along with then chronic risks,” Dr. Hensrud said, including E. coli bacteria, viruses, parasites along with carcinogenic compounds that will can be present in untreated water. “There’s evidence all over the planet of This specific, along with the reason we don’t have those conditions is actually because of our very efficient water treatment.”

Dr. Hensrud said he has noticed more interest in alternative water sources; a patient recently asked questions about a raw water he had been drinking. “There are people, just like with immunizations, that will don’t accept the status quo,” Dr. Hensrud said.

The rules for selling bottled water are imposed by states along with the Food along with Drug Administration, which does not specify how water be treated although sets acceptable amounts of chemicals along with bacteria at a low level. State along with federal inspectors make unannounced visits to bottling plants to test for harmful contaminants.

Seth Pruzansky, the chief executive of Tourmaline Spring (whose website touts its “sacred living” water), got an exemption via the State of Maine in 2009 to sell his water untreated. “The natural food industry has been inside the dark ages when This specific comes to water,” he said. “right now there is actually a renaissance.”

The movement against tap water, like the movement against vaccines, has brought together unlikely allies via the far left along with the far right. Conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, founder of the right-wing website Infowars, have long argued that will fluoride was added to water to make people more docile. Similar claims can be heard inside the largely liberal enclaves where Live Water is actually seeing interest spike.

“Fluoride? This specific’s a deathly toxic chemical,” said Vanessa Kuemmerle of Emeryville, Calif., who does landscape design for large tech companies. She said she was an early adopter of raw water, along with has noticed many of her clients following suit.

“They’re health-conscious people that will understand the bigger picture of what’s going on,” she said. “Everyone’s looking for an edge: nootropics, Bulletproof coffee, better water.”

The health benefits she reported include better skin along with the need to drink less water. “My skin’s plumper,” she said. “along with I feel like I’m getting better nutrition via the food I eat.”

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