The European Union ('EU') 

The EU defines mineral waters to be one of three classifications. These are:

Mineral Water Criteria-Definition

Very low mineral content = Mineral salt content, TDS calculated as a fixed residue, not greater than 50 mg/l

Low mineral content = Mineral salt content, TDS calculated as a fixed residue, not greater than 500 mg/l

Rich in mineral salts = Mineral salt content, TDS calculated as a fixed residue, greater than 1 500 mg/l

With the EU definition a mineral water may be sourced from a natural spring or from an artificial bore.


USA water rulers have a different classification for distinguishing mineral water from other waters. They say in USA mineral waters must have TDS of over 250mg/l.

In USA bottled water is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration according to standards of identity, standards of quality and good manufacturing practices.

Standards of identity define types of water for labeling purposes:

  • Water containing not less than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids is mineral water.
  • Spring water must be derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth's surface.
  • Sterile water meets the requirements under "sterility tests" in the United States Pharmacopoeia.
  • To be called ground water, the water must not be under the direct influence of surface water.
  • Artesian water comes from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer; it may be collected with the assistance of external force to enhance the natural underground pressure.
  • Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or similar processes is purified or demineralized water.
  • Sparkling water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source, although it may be removed and replenished in treatment.
  • Well water is water that has been removed from a hole bored or drilled in the ground which taps into an aquifer.

Standards of quality regulate acceptable levels of the water's turbidity, color and odor, according to sample analysis. Exemptions are made according to aesthetically based allowable levels, and do not relate to health concerns. An example is mineral water, which is exempt from allowable color levels

Dictionary-Mineral Water

Merriam-Webster Dictionary says of 'Mineral Water': "Water that contains mineral salts and gases (such as carbon dioxide)".


This term means 'total dissolves solids' or mineral salts in the water; which also means how much dissolved minerals are naturally present in the water.

Some high TDS mineral waters can be useful for short term body use- but if the TDS is too high in total or in one or more minerals, it is often not recommended for everyday drinking water. Like with anything in life, a balance seems best.

Waters with very low TDS are said by some writers to be dangerous for everyday drinking waters, especially if the TDS has been artificially removed, such as with distillation or reverse osmosis processing.  

Our research seems to indicate that any water with a TDS above 50 and below about 200 to 250 is fine for everyday drinking water.  We welcome feedback from others with varying views on this point.


For defintions of spring water and artesian spring water, see our web site HERE.

Basically spring water comes up naturally to the surface of earth, without any human interference or drilling. It can also be called mineral water in different jurisdictions, as shown above.

There can also be quite different types of springs - from mountain springs, to springs from a low depth young non-contained ground water or a water acquifer, to springs coming up naturally with pressure from a deep artesian contained aquifer. 


Under EU rules and law our SPRING water is also classified as a LOW MINERAL WATER. In USA regulations it is defined as a natural spring water from artesian aquifer.

Our spring is forced up from deep earth with natural earth pressure, indicating it is an artesian spring. It also flows 24/7 in all seasons, and arrives at the surface of earth with reasonably constant mineral composition over time. Again, each indicates a deep enclosed artesian aquifer source. 


Bore water is water which is artificially brought to the earth's surface by way of drilling a well or hole into earth, to tap into ground water or contained or un-contained aquifer water.

It is water the inner earth has not yet decided to share naturally with earth's surface, and may have many different characteristics...often having a low acidic or too high alkaline pH.

All bore water should be carefully analysed and tested in many ways before drinking. It could be considered  akin to a green/not ripe fruit on a tree...not yet prepared by nature for human consumption.

Some bore water is too acid---some too alkaline---some too soft---some too hard.

The Whakatane bore water in NZ is far far far too soft; perhaps dangerously so for anyone who drinks it regularly. Some report its softness at between 11 and 13, as though a very very low softness is good! The bast water for drinking has BALANCE, and the earth produces balance usually by way of a spring. Some water drawn from that bore has a pH below 7. The NZ Ministry of Health suggest in their written recommendations drinking water should have a minimum pH of 7.  A pH of 6.6 is 6 TIMES more acid than a pH of 7.2. Our spring water has a natural pH of 7.2-7.8. 

From a scientific point of view, a large study in UK determined people drinking soft water regularly had 10-15% higher cardiovascular /heart related mortality. That study linked possible cause to fact soft water created greater solubility of metals; but another view is soft water eats away at side of arteries (like it definitely does to pipes). One of world's leading heart surgeons stated before his death the main common fact he saw in heart transplant patients was arteries near heart being stripped on their insides. It is possible this can be caused by soft water, by the softener added to city water, by the too high pH in some bore waters and/or by distilled water.

The above stated effects could be magnified with very very soft water.

These are the reported words of the great 'water man' Viktor Schauberger re bore sub-surface/sub soil water as printed on page 56 of in book titled 'Living Water' by Olof Alexandersson:

" Schauberger did NOT approve of pumped subsurface water as drinking water. The water forced artificially from the depths was "immature" - it had not yet passed through the whole of its natural cycle, and therefore in the long term would be injurious to man, animal and even plants. Only the water that runs out from the soil by itself in the from of springs and streams (Schauberger also noted the environmental destruction/pollution of many streams and rivers) is suitable as drinking water.

The tapping of earth's subsoil water resources contains, according to Schauberger, a double risk; these reserves of "immature" water are used up, and also this water acts in a negative way upon all living biological processes. Instead of imparting energy to the drinker, it takes energy for itself from the organism.

Water flowing from a natural source, particularly a ... spring, acts in a quite a different way. Schauberger found that if one drank one litre of this (spring) water - (which should) increase one's weight by approximately a kilo (as generally one litre of water weighs about a kilo) - the net increase in weight was in fact only 300-400kg. The remaining (spring) water must have been converted directly as energy to the body, thereby explaining the enormously enlivening quality that this (spring) water gives."

Anyone who is serious about a LONG TERM bottled drinking water business, should be looking at the BEST SPRING water source - AND where it can TRULY be bottled at source.


A word giant in bottled water (alongside Coka-Cola and PepsiCo) is 'Nestle'.

'Nestle' sets out a clear definition of differences between the 3 types of water they offer to their customers (Mineral, Spring and Prepared) on its web site --- http://www.nestle-waters.com/brands/types-of-water --- (quoted word for word) here:

"Natural mineral water, spring water, or prepared water, what’s the difference?

These three different types of plain water are defined by their intrinsic characteristics:

origin, consistency, composition, protection and treatment.

The Codex Alimentarius defines these categories for packaged water suitable for human consumption.

1 / Types of water: what is natural mineral water?

Natural mineral water is defined as water that is:

  • obtained directly from underground sources protected from pollution risks
  • characterised by its content of certain mineral salts and their relative proportions
  • guarantees constancy of its composition and the stability of its flow collected under conditions which guarantee the original microbiological purity and chemical composition
  • packaged close to the point of emergence of the source
  • cannot be subjected to any treatment (except for limited ones such as carbonation, iron or manganese removal)
  • may claim medicinal effects

Natural mineral water accounts for the majority of our bottled water sales in Europe, where consumers demand “pure”, “untouched” water.

Natural mineral water also constitutes a significant share of our local brands in emerging markets.

2/ Types of water: Spring water, a water defined by origin

Waters defined by origin – often called “spring water” – are water that:

  • come from a specific underground (or sometimes surface) source
  • have not passed through a community water system
  • are protected within set vulnerability perimeters to avoid pollution and contamination
  • are consistently fit for human consumption at the source and kept in that state until bottled
  • are not subject to any modification or treatment other than those permitted by this standard

Water defined by origin is the leading product type for our United States local brands, as well as the majority of our local brands outside Europe.

3/ Types of water : what is prepared water ?

Prepared waters may:

  • originate from any type of water supply (including municipal water)
  • be subjected to any treatment that modifies the original water in order to comply with chemical, microbiological and radiological safety requirements for pre-packaged water

Prepared water is the standard for emerging countries where purity of water means above all, safety. Depending on local legislation, the label would identify the water as “purified water” or “drinking water”."

“If I had only ... forgotten future greatness and looked at the green things and smelled the air and ignored the self-styled obligations and heard the rain on the roof and put my arms around my wife...and it’s not too late.”
— Hugh Prather from his book 'Notes to Myself'