One of my biggest pet peeves is water bottles. I don't understand why somebody in the USA would need to purchase drinking water unless they're drinking water from a non-municipal source. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974 (and amendments in 1986 and 1996) ensures that public water systems adhere to a set of standards to keep us safe. Yes, SDWA does not apply to wells on your property, it's your own responsibility to maintain private water sources, but it does mean that a lot of the tap water in the US is safe to drink.
Will you like the taste of the water? That isn't guaranteed. Some people are sensitive to the chlorine and fluoride that some municipalities add to their water. Water can taste stale or flat if it sits in the pipes for too long. Water is an excellent solvent and could pick up off flavors if you have old piping in your house. However, charcoal based water filters are very cheap and will remove many off flavors if you don't like the taste of the water coming out of your tap. Also, chilling your water (ie. putting a pitcher in the fridge) tends to make off flavors less noticeable.
My co-workers drive me insane when they drink bottled water or soda. They're in the break room where we have the water cooler and they're drinking bottled water. Then they throw the bottles in the trash when the recycle bin is right next to the trash can. They're adults and if they want to waste their money on individually bottled drinks then that's their business but at least recycle the bottle. I probably pick out at least three bottles a day from trash cans around the office and we only have six people in my office.
What's my point? Why are people paying $1+ to vending machines and convenience stores for a 20 ounce bottle of water that's often just filtered water from a municipal source? Make the investment of buying a nice water bottle that's BPA free. Plan ahead so you have water when you leave the house. Fill up at a water fountain if you run out. Save your money!
Bottles Rescued From the Trash (03/11/10): 4