It's like the Pepsi challenge, only with bottled water and tap water.

All this week, people at the University of Saskatchewan are being asked to take part in a blind taste test. They're asked to say which cup of water they prefer, not knowing which contains plain tap water, and which is the bottled variety.

"This one's bottled, that one's tap," one student guessed.

"Nope, the other way around," came the swift response.

The point of this exercise is to drive home a point — Saskatoon's tap water tastes just as good as the water sold in plastic bottles. It's also far cheaper and it's safe.

Changing attitudes 

It's part of a campaign called Better than Bottled. Students at the School of Environment and Sustainability and the Global Institute for Water Security are on a mission, to change attitudes on campus towards the use of bottled water.

"[The university has] contracts with Pepsi and have water bottles in our vending machines but we thought that since the city of Saskatoon's water is of very good quality it's really an unnecessary product on campus," said Raea Gooding, one of the graduate students taking part in the campaign.

Their eventual goal is to either curtail or outright ban the sale of bottled water on campus. Towards that end, they have also launched an on-line petition to gauge popular support for such a move.

Safe to drink

One thing Gooding discovered is that international students aren't always aware that in Saskatoon plain tap water is safe to drink.

"So we really wanted to just educate students about thinking more about where their water is coming from," Gooding said.

She points to the environmental impact of bottled water, including the energy that goes into making and transporting it, and the oil used to make the plastic bottles.