What is Artesian Water?

In the Roman City of Artesium, in what is now known as the region of Artois in France, early man discovered that water collecting in underground aquifers was pressurized by gravity as it continually fed the aquifer. The Romans drilled holes in the earth's surface, thus releasing the pressure and the water for human consumption. Technically, Artesian water is water from an Artesian well, which relies on naturally occurring gravitational pressure to force water to the earth's surface. These wells exist all over the planet, and the purity of the water they produce depends on the precipitation, air pollution and mineral content of the earth surrounding the aquifer.

The earth and it's atmosphere naturally produces all kinds of water. Water from the lakes, rivers and oceans evaporate into the atmosphere, condenses and falls back down to the earth in the form of precipitation, rain and snow. Along the way it collects all sorts of material, organic and inorganic. Some of it is good, like naturally occurring minerals, and some of it is bad, like pollution, bacteria, pathogens and man made contaminants like chemicals and other toxins. And so it makes sense that water that evaporates from the cleanest parts of the world has the highest purity when it comes back down to earth and collects in underground aquifers. And the cleaner the rock and surrounding sediment that acts as a natural filter, the cleaner the water. And if that natural filtration process features water passing through thousands of feet of volcanic rock before it gathers in the aquifer, then you get just about the cleanest, purest drinking water available on earth.

What Are Some of the Characteristics of Artesian Water?

As mentioned above, because of the varying climate and geological factors around the globe, each Artesian well will produce it's own unique water with its own unique characteristics. For example, the soil in the Artois region in France is rich in clay and limestone, which gives well water a pleasant alkaline taste with elevated levels of pH. The same holds for spring water from places like Hawaii, whose soil content is rich in volcanic ash, which yields a soil texture of silt and sometimes clay. Regardless of where the aquifer is, Artesian water generally will have these qualities:

Contained: The water will be preserved in a contained aquifer, protected by a layer of rock, which in most cases will act as a filter as the water passes through it.

Protected: This same layer of rock will stay protected from external contaminants

Sloped: In order for enough pressure to build up and force ware to the earth's surface without the aid of a pump or a machine, the well must be located near or toward the bottom of a slope.

Where Does the Best Artesian Water Come From?

This is obviously subjective based on taste and other factors, but the islands in the Pacific are generally accepted to be the best source of Artesian drinking water, especially if it is bottled at the source. Prevailing trade winds keep the air clean and clear of pollutants, and the remote island location surrounded by water also helps. Add in the temperate climate and reliable rainfall, and the lava rock filtration, and you have the ideal environment for Mother Nature to produce the best tasting, naturally alkaline water on the planet. Brands like Fiji and Hawaiian Springs Water have done well in capturing this 'magic' water in a bottle, and they have fans all over the world who love the soft mouth feel and mineral taste.

Read more about Artesian Springs here.

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What Does 'Bottled at the Source' Mean?

Bottled water companies use lots of marketing language to try and get their brands to stand out against their competitors. After all, despite the availability of inexpensive home filtration solutions, Americans will spend over $7 Billion on bottled water in 2021. And the more we spend on bottled water, the more marketers will spend chasing after thirsty customers. But in doing so many of them bend the rules by making confusing claims about the origins of their water, trying to dupe consumers about where their water comes from. Some of the most common misinformation found in bottled water messaging is about source or origin. Brands will pull water from a tap in Florida and call it ‘spring water’ just because it came from the ground, or add in some calcium and call it ‘alkaline water’. Or, in more of the more egregious cases, filling giant containers with well water and shipping it from Hawaii on a freighter to a bottling plant in Long Beach and calling it ‘Spring water from Hawaii’. This corner cutting is deceptive and bad for a brand’s reputation. As part of a compliance settlement with the California Department of Public Health, the Waikea brand was forced to change the labeling on its bottles. This is a heavy price to pay for making false claims about the provenance of water that is available from the tap to Islanders living on the Big Island and then bottling it in California.

Why it Matters

Water that comes from artesian aquifers has a unique provenance that contributes to its naturally occurring pH and preferred taste. The organic minerals found in natural artesian spring water, like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium bicarbonate contribute to elevated levels of naturally occurring pH and make it taste better. So it holds that bottle water this special at the source where it comes out of the earth’s surface, preserves its high pH and great taste. This is why Fuji Water and Hawaiian Springs Water, which are both bottled at the source, taste so good. They come from natural artesian aquifers, which produce the cleanest, purest and best tasting water on earth. If you take water from an aquifer at the bottom of volcano and put it into a giant plastic container and ship it across the Pacific Ocean, the water will lose much of the characteristics that make it special. Changes in air pressure and temperature will adversely affect the taste and quality of the water, and the only reason to do it is to cut costs. The truth is, when you see ‘bottled at the source’ on the label of a mass produced bottled water brand, it only means it was bottled shortly after it was taken from the tap. But water bottled at a plant at the base of a volcano where the aquifer is, means something and you can taste the difference.

As consumers we have lots of choices, and this is especially true when it comes to drinking water. But the convenience of choice comes with the implied burden of educating ourselves about the choices we make. There is an endless supply of information about drinking water available on the internet, so why not use it?

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What Makes Alkaline Water Taste Better?

Water brands like to promote the fact that their water is ‘artesian’, and that the natural processes that allow the water to be accessed give it a special taste or health benefit. The truth is most artesian bottled water is the same, with the exception of the alkalinity or PH in the water. Water with naturally occurring high PH levels generally taste better because they are less acidic and have more minerals, which humans generally like to taste when they drink a nice cold glass of water. Bottled artesian water with a pH over 7.7 is considered to be alkaline water, while normal tap water has a pH of about 7.

Over the years many health experts have weighed in on the idea that alkaline water with higher levels of naturally occurring pH have certain health benefits. Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water, so some advocates of alkaline water think it can neutralize some of the acid in human body, but there is little science to back up that claim. In addition, some brands claim that high alkaline water does a better job hydrating, but again, there isn't much real scientific evidence to support this claim. Finally, there are some studies that contend that acid reflux in certain patients can be mitigated by drinking alkaline water with higher levels of pH, but there are other ways for consumers to control their heartburn. In the end, alkaline water high in naturally occurring pH should be a choice based on taste and in some cases, on price. Some of the other factors impacting taste are the mineral content of the water, the receptacle from which you drink it, and the impurities that remain in the water.


Anyone who remembers their 8th or 9th grade science or chemistry classes may recall that acidic compounds occupy the lower end of the pH measurement scale (1 to 14), while basic compounds have pH levels on the higher end of this scale. And since water fall at a 7, or pH neutral, a pH level of 7.5 or 8.0 in water can make a big difference when it comes to taste, even more so when the higher pH is naturally occurring. This is where artesian aquifers come in. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium bicarbonate that occur naturally in certain parts of the world, act to increase the alkalinity or pH levels in spring water. Generally speaking, this makes it taste better. In the end, personal preferences on pH levels in water generally come down to taste. Whether or not alkaline water tastes better is up to the drinker.


Some people contend that ice cold water from a glass tastes better than, say, a glass of water from a plastic cup. Similarly, others like the metallic bite than can come from drinking water from a metal cup. Anyone who has drank water from an insulated reusable metal water bottle can attest that it tastes different, but whether or not it tastes better is merely a preference. Certain taste receptors in the mouth and on the tongue can briefly trick the brain into thinking they are drinking water with a metallic taste, even though the contents of the liquid haven’t changed just because it is in a metal container.


All drinking water, especially tap water from municipalities, has stuff in it like germs, chemicals, dirt, pathogens and essentially anything that can pass through a filter membrane. This material makes up what is called Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS. Dissolved solids can be measured with an inexpensive device, and the data is reported as a parts per million metric, or PPM. But certain things you definitely don't want in your water may not always show up in a typical TDS measurement, so be wary. Most people who drink naturally pure water with very little total dissolved solids will notice an improvement on how the water tastes. Now try the same, low TDS water with elevated naturally occurring levels of pH and you have some mighty fine, great tasting drinking water. Bottled water companies like FIJI and Hawaiian Springs Water know this. After all, they have been pulling natural alkaline water from pristine aquifers on islands in the Pacific for decades now. Not surprisingly, YouTubers have seized on the opportunity to turn consumer interest in water quality into successful channels that earn them a share of ads dollars from Google. Our favorite is Jon Harchick, whose Jon Drinks Water You Tube Channel boasts over 50,000 engaged, loyal subscribers. Jon takes comments and suggestions from his audience seriously, and is prone to drinking water he shouldn’t, and giving honest and sometimes quite hilarious feedback on the fluids he ingests.

So yes, bottled water with higher levels pH and lower levels of dissolved solids will taste better. When this water comes bottled at the source from an artesian aquifer from Hawaii, it tastes even better.

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What Causes pH in Artesian Water?

Water drinkers and enthusiasts like to talk about the properties of their drinking water, especially bottled alkaline water, and pH is one of the most important characteristics because of how it directly affects the way water tastes. But before we get to external factors that affect the pH levels in water, it is helpful to revisit what exactly pH is and what it refers to.

What is pH and Alkalinity?

In water, pH stands for 'Power of Hydrogen'. The numerical value of pH is measured and on scale of 0 to 14, and is determined by the molar concentration of hydrogen ions (H+). This is done by taking the negative logarithm of the H+ concentration (-log(H+)). For example, if a solution has a H+ concentration of 10-3 M, the pH of the solution will be -log(10-3), which equals 3. PH is a determined value based on a defined scale, similar to temperature. This means that pH of water is not a parameter that can be measured as a concentration or a quantity. Rather, it is a figure between 0 and 14 defining how acidic or basic a body of water is along a logarithmic scale The lower the number, the more acidic the water is, and the higher the number, the more basic it is, with a pH of 7 considered to be neutral.

The word 'alkaline' or 'alkalinity' is often misused by bottled water brands in their marketing literature. While it relates to the pH levels in drinking water, it more accurately refers to the way levels pH fluctuate in drinking water. So, in other words, alkalinity technically is a measurement of water’s ability to resist changes in pH. The levels of pH in water can be impacted by external factors such as temperature, salinity and rainfall. If a body of water is high in alkalinity, it can limit or minimize the impact on pH when these naturally occurring factors occur. This is why water from unique places like Hawaii are alkaline. Because the rainfall in Hawaii is so consistent and generally created by the evaporation of cleaner water with lower levels of pollution and toxins as it enters the atmosphere, water with naturally occurring high levels of pH tend to taste better and of higher quality compared to other sources of drinking water. The alkalinity of an underground aquifer at the base of a volcano, for example, is increased by carbonate-rich soils (carbonates and bicarbonates) such as calcium-rich limestone, Because of the presence of carbonates, alkalinity is more closely related to hardness, or mineral levels, than to pH.

What Factors Impact the pH of Water?

There are many factors that can affect pH in water, both natural and man-made. Most natural changes occur due to interactions with surrounding rock (particularly carbonate forms) and other materials. pH can also fluctuate with precipitation and wastewater discharge. In addition, CO2 concentrations can influence pH levels. The alkalinity of water also plays an important role in the daily pH levels of a body of water. Photosynthesis, the process in plants that convert sunlight to carbon dioxide, by algae and plants uses hydrogen, thus increasing pH levels. Additionally, respiration and decomposition can lower pH levels. Most bodies of water are able to restrict these changes due to their alkalinity, so small fluctuations are quickly 'corrected' and may be difficult to detect with any degree of accuracy.

For the average water drinker who is primary interested in taste, this means that higher levels of pH, especially naturally occurring pH, lead to great tasting water.

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