Safe, clean drinking water is essential for us, but not everyone gets it. Whereas the advanced industrialized nations like the US, UK and Canada have been successful in providing clean and safe drinking water to their citizens, it is a major cause for concern in developing countries.
 Why should I be aware of this?
Human body is made up of lots of water. Out of every 4.5 kilograms of the body weight, about 3 kilograms is water. Every day we require at least 7 glasses of water to enable our organs to function well and keep us healthy. It is, therefore, necessary to know what kind of water is drinkable and what is not.
As drinking water quality varies from place to place depending on its source and the way it is treated, it is reasonable to question its safety, or lack of safety. The water available to us directly from our home faucets can contain harmful chemicals and bacteria which, when ingested daily, can lead to some long-term side effects. Our tap water could include such things as chlorine, pesticides and herbicides.
 All about drinking water
- Hard water is water that contains a lot of minerals. It gives less lather and is salty.
- Soft water is the water that has low mineral content. It gives a lot of gives lots of lather with soap and is sweet to taste.
Here is a simple activity to find out what type of water you have in your home.
 Drinking water and my health
Poor quality of drinking water can cause illness from poisoning or infection. Children and the elderly are the most affected. The two most significant waterborne diseases are gastroenteritis (caused by germs) and lead poisoning.
Pesticides and industrial by-products
It is possible that the water you use to drink, to add to cooking and for bathing has unacceptable levels of pesticides including atrazine, a weed killer known to cause birth defects in animals as well as liver, kidney, and heart damage. Even by-products of plastics as well as industrial items like paint removers can be found in the water we drink daily.
Lead and arsenic
Arsenic in high concentrations is likely to be present if your water is sourced from the ground. Long term arsenic exposure has been associated with a variety of cancers, including those of the lungs, kidneys, bladder, and prostate. Lead, found in water pipes, is known to have devastating effects on brain development in children.
Chlorinated water contains large amounts of chemical compounds known as Trihalomethanes (TCM). These are believed to increase possibilities of cancer and also affect the body’s system.
Too much consumption of flouride through water leads to symptoms similar to arthritis, lower IQ and increases the risk of cancer.
 Drinking water and environment
Various waste disposal practices of industries contribute to contamination of drinking water. Industries which use large amounts of water for processing discharge their waste into streams and rivers and pollute waterways. Wastes discharged by industries include pesticide residues, solvents and cleaning fluids, dissolved residue from fruit and vegetables, and lignin from pulp and paper, among others. to name a few. Effluents can also contain inorganic wastes such as brine salts and metals.
 What can I do about it?
Unless we are absolutely certain about the quality of our drinking water, we should purify all water before using it for drinking, preparing food, brushing teeth, or washing dishes. Check first whether the water contains some floating material. Strain it through a clean cloth before purifying it.
Here are three methods of water purification. However there is no 100 percent guarantee that all contaminants and microbes will be removed. Salts and heavy metal contaminants will continue to remain. Treating your water with more than one method will increase the effectiveness.
Boil the water and allow it to cool before use. After boiling don't contaminate the water with dirty utensils, hands or containers. Add a pinch of salt to each quart of boiled water to improve the taste.
Filtering helps to get rid of the impurities in our drinking water and make it safe for drinking.
Household bleach is a good disinfectant for water, but do not use bleach that contains soap. The amount of chlorine in bleach bottles is variable. Mix the bleach thoroughly in the water and let it stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesn't, repeat the dose and let the water stand for an additional 15 minutes.
Iodine. Adding household iodine also purifies water
- Half or more of your body weight is water
- If you are on a diet one of the main things that are recommended for drinking is water.
- Available fresh water amounts to less than one half of one percent of all the water on Earth. The rest is sea water, or is frozen in the polar ice. Fresh water is naturally renewable only by rainfall, at the rate of 40-50,000 cubic km per year.
- In India, some households pay a staggering 25 percent of their income for water.
- Poor residents of Lima, Peru, pay private vendors as much as $3 per cubic meter for buckets of water which is often contaminated. The more affluent pay 30 cents per cubic meter for treated municipal tap water.
- More than five million people, most of them children, die every year from illnesses caused by drinking poor-quality water.
- More than one billion people live in arid regions that will face absolute water scarcity by 2025.
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