Americans spend up to $100 billion annually for bottled water (41 billion gallons). The only beverages with higher sales are carbonated soft drinks. Recent news stories have highlighted the fact that most bottled water comes from municipal water supplies (the same source as your tap water), although it may undergo an extra purification step called reverse osmosis.
Imagine two tanks that are separated by a membrane that's permeable to water, but not to the dissolved minerals present in the water. Tank A contains tap water and Tank B contains the purified water. Under normal conditions, the purified water would cross the membrane to dilute the more concentrated tap water solution. In the reverse osmosis process, pressure is applied to the tap water tank to force the water molecules across the membrane into the pure water tank.
After the reverse osmosis system has been operating for 30 minutes, the solution in tank A would