The Story Behind Silicon Valley’s Obsession With Raw Water

People are paying over $60 for gallons of unfiltered water in San Francisco, and stores are having trouble keeping up with demand.
By Alejandra Moedano

  • What’s in the water in Northern California? That’s the question people are asking as Silicon Valley has become obsessed with untreated, unfiltered water — even though it may be dangerous.

    2 gallon jugs are selling for over $60 dollars in San Francisco and it’s the raw water craze has become so popular, stores are having a hard time keeping it in stock.

    The founder of Live Water, Mukhande Singh (born Christopher Sanborn), has seen his company go from a small local operation to a company with serious funding from Silicon Valley investors. The reason he’s doing so well? Because, like many people, he believes that public water cannot be trusted.

    He told the New York Times: “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them. Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

    After the New York Times published their story, social media had a field day mocking the raw water trend.

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  • Now a handful of companies are now looking to get in on the rush for Raw Water funding. Zero Mass Water, which sells tech that allows people to collect water from the atmosphere, has already raised $24 million in venture capital. Cody Friesen founded the company and says unfiltered water should be as accessible as oxygen: “Just take a breath of air. Take a deep breath. No matter how wealthy or poor you are, you can take a breath and own that air that you breathe. And yet water, the government brings it to you.”

    So who is funding these companies? One of the most prominent investors is Doug Evans, who recently saw his juicing company collapse last September. Evans says he regularly goes “spring hunting” with friends, and since there aren’t many accessible springs near San Francisco, he has to cross private property under cover of night.

    Experts say that this trend is dangerous. Untreated water can include bacteria that leads to infection and disease. But because filtered, treated water has become the norm, most people don’t realize how dangerous so-called raw water can be.

    What do you think? Is raw water the next big health trend, or is this another example of crazy rich people?

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