Insane, Unsound, And Just Plain Stupid: The 2018 Darwin Awards

Published December 25, 2018
Updated July 3, 2019

Silicon Valley Trendsters Drinking “Raw Water” May Have Poisoned Themselves

Mukhande Singh Founder Of Live Water

Live Water/FacebookLive Water founder Mukhande Singh holds a water jug.

“The first time I drank fresh, living spring water,” said Live Water founder Mukhande Singh, “a surge of energy and peacefulness entered my being; I could never go back to drinking dead water again.”

The “raw water” trend rejects modern treatment systems in favor of untreated, unfiltered, unsterilized drinking water. Never mind that unclean water has been killing people since the dawn of humanity.

According to a recent report by The New York Times, the firm Live Water and several other startups have gained traction, particularly on the West Coast, over the past few years thanks largely to Silicon Valley venture capital like from big-wig entrepreneur Doug Evans.

Evans brought 50 gallons of Live Water to the Burning Man festival this past year, and the Times reported that 2.5-gallon glass orbs of Live Water were selling for $36.99 (which includes the cost of the container) at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery. In the few days since that report went live, Business Insider stated that the price rose to $60.99.

Those paying such a price for raw water are likely motivated by raw producers’ claims that treated water eliminates beneficial minerals and probiotics while adding in harmful chemicals. According to Singh (born Christopher Sanborn):

“‘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.’”

Despite these claims, health experts have now condemned the raw water movement as wholly unsafe. Lawyer and food safety advocate Bill Marler reported that:

“Unfiltered, untreated water — even from the cleanest streams — can contain animal feces, spreading Giardia, which has symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea and results in roughly 4,600 hospitalizations a year. Hepatitis A, which resulted in 20 deaths in a California outbreak in 2017, can be spread through water if it isn’t treated. E. coli and cholera can also be transmitted via untreated water… Most Americans don’t personally know anyone who died of Hepatitis A or cholera, thanks to advances in technology and more stringent safety standards. As a result, they had a hard time realizing the risks involved in consuming untreated water.”

In addition, as Dr. Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. told the Times, “Without water treatment, there’s acute and then chronic risks. There’s evidence all over the world of this, and the reason we don’t have those conditions is because of our very efficient water treatment.”

Nevertheless, Singh hopes to one day provide raw water — the “ancient source of all life,” as he calls it — to the entire world.

Leah Silverman
Leah is the associate editor for All That's Interesting. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Columbia University's Creative Writing program.