All living things need water to survive. This remarkable compound makes up approximately 60% of the human body and is a nutrient that is critical to all bodily functions. While this universal ingredient is the foundation of all beverages and a fundamental component of numerous foods, there are many varieties when it comes to the water we drink.

Varieties of Waters

There are a number of varieties and types of water available. National governments have regulations for the various types of water that are sold on the market. The regulations specify the name that must be used for the water product, as well as requirements for safety, packaging and labeling. These definitions generally vary, country-to-country. The examples below illustrate various types of water sold in the United States.

Bottled Water: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) describes bottled water as water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients, except that it may contain a safe and suitable antimicrobial agent. Fluoride may also be added within the limits set by the US FDA.

Spring Water: Water from an underground aquifer which may or may not be treated. Spring water is collected as it flows to the surface or through a borehole. Learn more about bottled water.

Tap Water: Water that comes directly from a community water utility to your faucet or tap.

Sparkling Bottled Water: Water that, after treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had when initially emerging from the source.

Tonic Water: Carbonated drinking water flavored with quinine and a sweetener like sugar, high fructose corn syrup or low-calorie sweetener. Quinine, from the bark of the cinchona tree, is used as the base flavor in most bitters.