Water is without any doubt the most precious natural resource on the planet, and has played a major role in raising and supporting life on Earth. Water forms 92% of blood, and 75% of brain and muscles in human body.
We cannot survive for more than a week without water whereas it is possible to go without food for up to a month. According to WHO half of world population will live in water-stressed areas by the year 2025 making water a precious commodity.
If we use water wisely and sparsely for our needs including personal, domestic, agricultural and industrial, then water scarcity will not prove to be the biggest threat humanity faces in future.
Sufficient and clean water is a basic requirement for healthy and sustainable living. Clean drinking water with the right balance of nutrients is essential to maintain holistic wellbeing. The amount of water you drink even affects your moods, need we say anymore!
Though we do not give much thought to the water we drink, there is a lot that you need to know. If the water that comes from your tap is not clean enough it makes you vulnerable to a whole lot of diseases.
Here are a few stats and facts about water that make for interesting and informative reading.
According to the latest WHO global report 663 million people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water and at least 1.8 billion people drink water from feces-contaminated sources.
The report also points out that economically forward populations and developed countries have access to clean, safe and sustainable drinking water as opposed to under-developed countries. Also, urban and educated communities fare better than those otherwise.
Defined socioeconomic, geographic and cultural inequalities make the task of providing safe, sufficient, continuous and physically accessible water difficult. But with sustained efforts 91% of global population has achieved access to improved drinking source.
Developed countries including Australia have earmarked funds and have generously helped disadvantaged communities in different parts of the world move closer to having access to improved drinking water source.
Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) is a set of guidelines, standards and recommendations that must be applied to consumer drinking water supplies. They define what constitutes safe and good quality water, and lay down methods in which quality can be achieved, assured and maintained.
ADWG are developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council in collaboration with the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, and is the primary and authoritative reference on drinking water quality in Australia. The last updated version of the guidelines was released in 2011 and though not mandatory, are adhered to by suppliers.
The guidelines strictly stipulate that there should be no harmful concentration of chemicals or disease-causing microorganisms in our drinking water. The water should also be aesthetically appealing with regard to appearance, taste and smell.
The ADWG outline methods including settling, coagulation and use of disinfectants like chlorine to disinfect water and maintain safety as it travels to your home through the distribution system. Disinfectants especially chlorine gives a distinct odour to water which many do not especially like. Having a filter at the point of use will help remove it.
Several chemicals are routinely added to drinking water supplies to disinfect, purify and sterilize them.
The common chemicals include liquefied chlorine, fluorosilicic acid, calcium hydroxide and aluminum sulphate. These chemicals may have harmful side effects when consumed for long and continuous periods of time.
A high concentration of heavy metals has also been recorded in tap water on several occasions. Some of the harmful side effects of consumption of heavy metals include neurological disorders and physical illnesses.
The the Jury is still out on the benefits of artificial fluoridation in water with countries like Sweden and Germany discontinuing the practice terming it of no proven benefit.
Proponents are of the view that chemicals are found in negligible amounts and are beneficial in disinfecting and safeguarding our water supply, but very few can argue with the fact that they do negatively affect the taste of drinking water.
Sodium, potassium and chloride ions are commonly found in drinking water, in addition to artificially added fluoride. Heavy metal salts and nitrates, and traces of harmful pesticides and hormones are also sometimes detected in typical drinking water supplies.
Drinking water travels through extensive and old pipe systems and often gets contaminated by leeching impurities. If you use water from other sources like bore wells or rainwater, then there are chances of contamination from pesticides and other impurities that get washed into the drinking water source.
Knowledge about the constituents of the water you and your family drink and use for cooking purposes is helpful in deciding whether you need filtration or not.
Our consumption of bottled water has increased dramatically in the past few years with sales exceeding $500 million dollars last year with an average annual consumption of 14 liters of bottled water per person. But do you know the surprising fact that many brands actually sell filtered tap water?
A good quality filter from a trusted brand will help remove impurities, toxins and chlorine to give you clear water with no noticeable taste or odour. And you will also get great value for money with costs working out several times lesser than relying on bottled brands in the long run.
Filtration also retains healthy concentrations of iron, zinc, copper, iodine, calcium, phosphorous, fluoride, sodium, magnesium and potassium in the filtered water that are so essential for our health.
Contaminants present in drinking water can cause a range of health problems. Common diseases include Cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, polio, lead poisoning, amoebiasis and intestinal worm infections. These diseases are caused by microorganisms or chemical toxins present in impure water and spread easily.
Pregnant women, children, elderly and those suffering from health problems are more vulnerable to water-borne diseases due to their compromised immune systems.
Hepatitis A is a water-borne infection affecting liver and spreads when we consume infected food or water. Person-to-person contact also spreads Hepatitis A but the disease is not fatal and is a self-limiting one.
Dangerous diseases like Arsenicosis, Dracunculiasis, trachoma and typhoid fever can also spread through unsafe drinking supplies, contaminated food and physical contact. Though these diseases are mostly prevalent in backward countries, it shows that harms that come from drinking unclean water are debilitating to say the least.
Lastly, but not the least, Naegleria fowleri is a very dangerous amoeba that thrives in warm waters of inland Australia. These bacteria are found in lakes, ponds, bore wells, dams, creeks and rainwater and cause fatal meningitis encephalitis in small children. The disease causes rapid destruction of brain cells and is virtually untreatable.
Drinking safe, filtered and purified water is the easiest way to ensure well-being and good health of your family.
The water that you drink should be safe, pure, sustainable, aesthetic in terms of appearance and should be free of off-putting odours and taste. Filtered water ensures that you are providing the best for your family. High quality filtration ensures that the water stays alive with good nutrients and minerals, but devoid of disease-bearing microorganisms and harmful chemicals. So check the water quality in your area and make up your mind whether you should consider investing in a suitable water filter.
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