Raw water: Is the new Silicon Valley craze healthy?

It's the latest health craze to hit Silicon Valley... raw water. We're talking about unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized water.

After a New York Times article highlighted the trend, the product has been flying off store shelves in San Francisco.

"Live Water", the company that produces raw water, says its product is derived from a mountain spring in Oregon.

And techies in San Francisco are guzzling it by the gallon-full.

"[Those techies are] unique I guess, and more power to 'em if they want to drink raw water- yeah," said a laughing Bradlee Kimbrell of Dallas, who was visiting San Francisco this week.

After news of the latest health trend hit the media, jugs of Live Water flew off store shelves at the Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, where signs indicate a future price surge.

"It is expensive," said Betsy Lauppe Rhodes with the SF Public Utilities Commission. "So it's approximately seven dollars a gallon whereas tap water is literally pennies per gallon."

Water and health officials say their larger concern is over raw water's safety.

"Tap water is treated for a reason because there are harmful things in that water that you don't want to drink you could have bacteria, you could have e coli you could have choliform and that's just to name a few," said Rhodes.

Furthermore, 85 percent of San Francisco's water comes from the virtually untouched Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

"I could never go back to drinking dead water again," says Live Water's Founder and CEO Mukhande, in his company's video,which is posted on YouTube. He spoke to KTVU's Tara Moriarty via Facetime from his home in Maui today.

Mukhande stands by his product..

"It's not tainted by any of the surface water on the earth, that has a lot of the Industrial Age contamination in it. Each batch is tested for harmful bacteria."

Mukhande touted his water's health benefits, saying it contains healthy probiotics and minerals.
But health officials remain skeptical, saying his water is still not subject to state or federal testing standards.

The raw water also turns green with an algae bloom after one month, because after all, it is living. So would you try it?

"Probably not," admitted Lakysha Cummings of Oakland. " Especially if it turns green1"

Time will tell if raw water sales surge for good or if they're just a drop in the bucket.