Now here's one from out in left field.
It's probably been 15 years since it started. No, not that long, but more than 10. I had just moved back in with my mother, maybe within a year or so. My dad's second wife was a health nut, for a while, and had a Brita filter - that's about when I started drinking water - like, often; like, daily; like, how some people drink soda, or beer.
Then I got back home staying with my mother, and started drinking tap water. I got sick, somehow something contaminated the city water and others got sick as well, not really an epidemic but kind of a big thing, I suppose. We got ourselves a contract, I guess it was, with Alhambra, for them to deliver 5-gallon bottles of water, and we leased a dispenser. (What my mom never knew, and I learned later, is you can get your own dispenser, even your own 5-gallon bottles, and doing either or both lowers the bill.) I would keep a gallon or two in the fridge to keep some cold, and more often than not fill my mug with a mixture of cold and warm, call it 40/60. But over the years it just kept getting more and more expensive. What started out as less than $20 a month became over $45 a month. So my mother asked me to find a more efficient solution. We got a Brita filter for around $30, and a 4-pack of filters for just under $20 at Costco, and that $50 investment let us make our own bottled water for close to a year, because a filter can last 2 or 3 months depending on use. (We replaced every 2 months.)
When I came out to North Carolina, the first visit in September 2004 (damn, it's almost been 3 years - and I'm married to her now), I knew I'd have to have filtered water, so I asked her if she had bottled or clean water. She told me about the well water (nasty stuff) so we stopped at Walmart and I bought a Brita filter (only about $20) and one filter. I tried but the water still smelled like crap. (Sorry Jen.) (She doesn't like it too much when I talk bad about the well water.) Now what we do is, we either get gallon jugs of water when we go to Wal-Mart, or we take empty jugs and fill them with tap water at Jen's sister's place. Chocowinity tap water isn't good, either, but at least it can be filtered to make good water. Well water from between Chocowinity and Grimesland - well, that's a different story.
I still buy bottled water, even when we can get it for free. I'll buy the 24-packs of half-liter bottles when they go on sale. Once the store had a deal, buy 1 get 2 free, and it was only about 5 bucks to start with. So you can't tell me you wouldn't take 72 bottles of good water for $5, if you weren't strapped for cash and you were inclined to drink it. (They had the same deal on the store brand ice cream, and pounds of strawberries, too. We took advantage of all three.)