What is Artesian Water and Is It Good for You?

Artesian water is claimed to be naturally filtered - how much does nature really do?

By: Aditi Pai

Grocery store aisles are overflowing with bottled water options. Gone are the days when the main difference between these options is from which fresh spring the water was drawn. The labels now include descriptions that sound like foreign languages: ionized, hydrogenated, isotonic, and artesian. 

Someone with a science background may understand what hydrogenated or isotonic water is, but when asked about artesian water that same person would likely come up blank. Unlike its grocery aisle neighbors, artesian water isn’t named for its chemical makeup, but instead invokes a historical narrative.

To help you understand what artesian water is and if it’s good for you, we’ve thoroughly researched this subject and broken down our findings into an easy to read format so you can understand what’s on store shelves.

What is artesian water?

Artesian water is a specific type of free-flowing, spring water that comes from underground wells. Unlike traditional wells which require a pump, water in artesian wells moves from an underground aquifer to the surface naturally due to pressure. 

The attraction to artesian water comes from the belief that the intense natural pressure acts to filter contaminants and add beneficial minerals which can give it an appealing taste, though the government has stated it is no different chemically or physically from regular groundwater.

Where does artesian come from?

The most famous artesian wells are located in Artois, France, which was known as the Roman city of Artesium during the Middle Ages. In fact, this is where the term “artesian wells” comes from.

The artesian water you see on store shelves today may come from anywhere in the world. In the US, you’ll find artesian wells in Florida and Georgia, though the largest and deepest source of artesian water is located in Australia. The Great Artesian Basin, as it is known, stretches more than 660,000 square miles and is nearly 10,000 feet deep in some areas.

How are artesian wells formed?

The creation of artesian wells starts when water travels down a land decline into porous rock such as sand, gravel, or limestone. This alone wouldn’t form an artesian well, but when this porous rock is surrounded above and below by a layer of impermeable rock like shale — the water gets trapped which results in intense pressure as water continues to come in without being able to leave. Eventually, the pressure from the water’s weight forces it upwards to the surface like a geyser.

Companies around the world have created artesian wells by finding appropriate locations and drilling to penetrate the impermeable rock. When a small opening is created, water shoots to the top without the need for a pump. However, as the aquifer is drained over time, pressure will decrease. When this occurs, the company will either need to move to a lower decline and re-drill to access more of the reservoir, or use a pump to get water from the original spot.

Artesian spring water vs. spring water

Artesian water may also be known as artesian spring water, though it’s important to note that the term “spring water” on its own is something entirely different. Artesian water can be from a well or spring, but the defining characteristic of artesian water is that it’s always under pressure which allows it to reach the surface naturally without the use of a pump.

Spring water refers to groundwater that has made it to the surface, which can come naturally from pressure or through the use of a pump. So spring water can be artesian or non-artesian, which means you should read bottles carefully to make sure you’re getting what you actually want.

What are the supposed benefits of artesian spring water?

Artesian spring water is of interest to your neighborhood hipster because companies that sell artesian bottled water claim that because the water travels at a high pressure through a porous surface, it’s naturally filtered. Furthermore, artesian water companies say that this process is nature’s way of purifying the water while also providing some beneficial minerals from the soil that can give it a distinct taste.

It’s important to note, though, that similar to other water brands derived at least on paper from a natural geological source, artesian well water does not differ much from most regular well water.

Florida and Georgia are great examples of how artesian well water might not be safe to drink. The National Resources Defense Council says these states have some of the least-safe drinking water in the U.S. Based on population, Texas had the most violations in the U.S., followed by Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia. Moreover, the 2017 report found nearly 80,000 violations impacting drinking water systems in every state.

Artesian water still runs the same risk of exposure to many contaminants found in all spring water, well water, tap water, and bottled water sources. Of these sources, tap water may actually be the most safe because it’s heavily regulated, tested, and treated by the government. By comparison, well water testing is the responsibility of the homeowner and bottled water companies (including those who offer spring and artesian water) aren’t required to disclose where the water came from, how it was treated, and what contaminants it contains.

Unfortunately, this means that artesian water is subject to any of the standard contaminants that can be found in any untreated water source – pesticides, bacteria, viruses, lead, chromium 6, arsenic, and more.”

Enjoy healthy water that's backed by science

Science suggests artesian water is no healthier than regular tap or well water despite bottled water brand claims.

To ensure your water is actually being filtered by a scientifically-backed method, consider installing one of our many water filtration systems which are tested and certified to remove harmful contaminants, all while retaining beneficial minerals.

Our Whole House Water Filters enable you to get clean, filtered water from every faucet but you can also check out our Under Sink or Countertop filtration options to find a solution catered to your unique needs.


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