We explain what drinking water is and why it is important. In addition, its characteristics, what it is for and how it is obtained.
Which is the potable water?
Drinking water is water suitable for human consumption , that is, water that can be drunk directly or used to wash and / or prepare food without any health risk .
The water is extremely abundant on our planet, and since it is the solvent universal , often contains numerous elements and substances dissolved in it, which may (or may not) be detected by the naked eye and modify (or not) its taste, color , and smell, thus representing a potential danger to the human body.
Therefore, drinking water is not so abundant on the planet, despite the fact that there are man-made drinking water mechanisms , since the public health depends largely on the quality of water in a community or nation. Numerous cases of epidemics or mass poisonings have been due to the presence of toxic substances or infectious agents in it.
In this way, the presence of drinking water in the world is constantly threatened by the contamination of water , soil and air , since large bodies of water such as the seas and oceans are not suitable for human consumption, due to their huge amount of dissolved salts.
Drinking water characteristics
According to the regulations of the European Union, it is established that drinking water must have a content of salts, minerals and ions (sulfates, chlorates, nitrites, ammonium, calcium, phosphate, among others) that are within the accepted ranges, which supposes a pH between 6.5 and 9.5.
On the other hand, it should be as free of bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms ( viruses , etc.), as well as suspended particles and organic or radioactive substances. This implies medium purity standards that make it suitable for free and daily consumption.
How do you get drinking water?
Drinking water comes naturally from polar ice, from mountain streams or from underground deposits , and generally requires only a simple disinfection treatment, through chlorine, ozone, ultraviolet exposure or other mechanisms that eliminate the free-living microorganisms present in it.
However, these natural resources are not always available in the immediate vicinity and the purification of common waters is carried out, which can be carried out through one or more of the following processes:
- Filtering processes . By decanting in various materials, filtering the solid particles present or stripping volatile compounds.
- Physical debugging processes . As the selective evaporation, also useful to remove salt levels from seawater, or by reverse osmosis or distillation .
- Boiled . A frequent home procedure, which involves boiling the water for a few minutes, killing the microorganisms that exist in it. However, it is ineffective against dissolved substances or physical waste.
What is drinking water for?
Drinking water is mainly used for direct consumption, that is, for drinking, cooking or washing the food we will eat . It is also drinking water that we use when bathing or washing, although in many countries there is a distinction between the water destined for these purposes (the one we obtain from the pipe) and the mineral water for drinking (which is purchased packaged).
Similarly, drinking water is necessary for the food industry, since at the agricultural level, recycled or treated water is usually used. It is used to make food and beverages, also to manufacture medicines and other chemicals, for hospital cleaning, etc.
Importance of drinking water
Drinking water is, although it may not seem like it, a limited resource . It is much easier to contaminate a liter of water, than to make it suitable for human consumption, and billions of liters of water are consumed daily in our cities , while the investment in water purification becomes increasingly expensive.
The WHO has repeatedly warned the direct relationship between the incidence and morbidity from diarrheal diseases and other epidemics, with access to drinking water in the populations most disadvantaged in the world. To the extent that we do not care for water and reduce the impact of our civilization on it, we will be more exposed to the health consequences that this implies.