Diving into the world of ‘fine water’

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pristine / prɪˈstin / (adj.) – left in its original or natural condition without any damages or changes

    The hikers discovered a pristine lake deep in the mountains that is still unknown to many people.

  2. counterpart / ˈkaʊn tərˌpɑrt / (n.) – someone or something that has the same job or purpose as another

    The company’s CEO worked closely with her foreign counterparts to expand business operations outside the country.

  3. sommelier / ˌsʌm əlˈyeɪ / (n.) – someone who is in charge of serving and giving expert advice about wine in a restaurant

    Our sommelier gave an excellent wine suggestion during dinner last night.

  4. swill / swɪl / (v.) – to drink something quickly in large amounts

    He tends to swill his coffee in the morning while rushing to work.

  5. consortium / kənˈsɔr ʃi əm / (n.) – a group of people, companies, or organizations working together to achieve one goal

    The consortium of tech companies worked together to develop a remarkable new software.


Read the text below.

Workers inside a small plant ferry sleek glass bottles along a conveyor as they fill with the spring’s water. They place the finished product in cases and load them on trucks headed for neighboring India’s upscale hotels and restaurants and richest families.

Ganesh Iyer, the managing partner of Veen Waters, which operates the plant, watches like a nervous parent. This natural mineral water—sold as a premium brand—is his “baby,” he says, newly born from beneath the pristine South Asian kingdom of Bhutan.

Like its many counterparts worldwide—captured from volcanic rock in Hawaii, from icebergs that have fallen from melting glaciers in Norway, or from droplets of morning mist in Tasmania—this water is bound for the privileged to uncap and savor as some do a fine wine.

There are tasting competitions and “water sommeliers,” who swill and judge this water. The flavors of each brand give hints about each water’s origins.

As water becomes a bigger commodity worldwide, the “luxury” category is growing. At the same time—and even though the United Nations deemed water a basic human right more than a decade ago—climate change and population growth are leaving the world’s most vulnerable people thirstier than ever. India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, according to the World Bank.

Some might find these two worlds difficult to reconcile, but leaders in the fine water world claim they can help.

Michael Mascha, a founder of the Fine Water Society, a consortium of small bottlers and distributors worldwide, says their movement is helping draw attention to the value of water.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What are your thoughts on water as a luxury product? Do you see the value of this trend or do you find it unnecessary? Why? Discuss.
  • Why do you think the “luxury” category for water is expanding? Do you see the potential for its growth in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In your opinion, is it ethically acceptable for water to be considered a luxury commodity when there are regions, like India, facing severe water stress according to the World Bank? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • How do you feel about water sommeliers or those who judge and appreciate water like wine? Can you personally notice distinct flavors in different types of water? What differences have you noticed? Discuss.
Category : Business