Mineral Water Production.
The trade in mineral waters in 1908 did not show the depressed condition of many other industries consequent on the financial disturbance of 1907, according to the annual report of Samuel Sanford, of the United States Geological Survey. The total quantity sold during the year was 56,108,820 gallons, compared with 52,060,520 gallons in 1907, a gain of 4,048,300 gallons, or 7.78 per cent. The value of the output decreased slightly, from $7,331,503 in 1907 to $7,287,269 in 1908. This showing is a little surprising in view of the fact that some of the widely sold carbonated table waters are to most consumers luxuries rather than necessaries. The totals reported do not represent the real importance of this industry in the United States, for the reason that at many resorts the quantity of water furnished free to guests far exceeds the quantity sold, and no figures are available to show the quantity or value of strictly artificial table and medicinal waters or of sweetened beverages (“soft drinks”) produced.
The number of springs reporting sales in 1908 was 695, including one or more in every state and territory. Although this was an increase of 111, or 19 per cent, over the number reported in 1907, the figures show that the gain in production was not due wholly to this cause and that many springs sold more water in 1908 than in the preceding year. The average retail price of the waters at the springs was 13 cents a gallon. The leading states in quantity sold were Minnesota, New York. Wisconsin, Massachusetts. Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and California. in the order named.
The condition of the mineral water industry during 1908 shows that the demand for pure drinking water extends across the continent and has come to stay. The growth of population. the movement toward cities, the wholesale pollution of surface waters, and the time that must elapse before even a major part t the cities are provided with purification plants arc factors that indicate continued growth for the table water trade.
The imports of natural, semi-artificial and strictly artificial waters entered for consumption in 1908 were 2,912,398 gallons, valued at $1,033,047. No figures are available to show the exports, though considerable quantities of certain domestic waters a e known to be ex ported to Canada, Mexico and the West Indies.