Water and Health?
What is water?Water is a very important substance, Water is found everywhere on earth, as most of the earth consists of water; namely the oceans. As it makes up the larger part of an organism's body. But what exactly is water? Inside the body of a human being there is a skeleton, which makes your body solid and makes sure you can stand up without falling apart. Water is also a kind of skeleton. It consists of tiny particles, the atoms, just like every other substance on earth. One of these atoms is called hydrogen and the other is called oxygen. When lots of water molecules melt together we can see the water and drink it or use it, for instance to flush a toilet.
But nowhere water in its chemically proportionate form available. Because Of the 326 million cubic miles of water on earth, only about 3% of it is fresh water, and ¾ of that is frozen. Only ½ of 1% of all water is underground; about 1/50th of 1% of all water is found in lakes and streams. Oceans and Seas comprises of 97.29%, ice caps and glaciers comprises of 2.09%, underground aquifers comprises of 0.61%, lakes and rivers comprises of 0.01%, and atmosphere has 0.01% water. The average human is about 70% water. You can only survive 3 or fewer days without water.
How many types of water are available? Water is generally classified into three groups, Surface and ground and gaseous water. On land water cannot only be found in taps and toilets, but also outside the house in streams, lakes, wetlands, and reservoirs. This is called surface water. What we cannot see with our own eyes is that water can also be found in the ground, this is called groundwater. Groundwater is rainwater that infiltrates into the soil and is stored in pores. The soil consists of different layers, the so-called aquifers, that all contain certain amounts of water. Finally water can be found in gaseous state in the sky as moist or in cloud form.
How does water spread through the ground? The ground is made up of different types of layers vertically, called the aquifers. Groundwater spreads through the ground horizontally; it moves from the area of infiltration through an aquifer and out to a discharge area, as a part of the water cycle. This can be a well, a lake, a stream or even an ocean. Groundwater normally moves from points of high elevation and pressure to points of lower elevation and pressure. This movement is quite slow, typically only 1 meter or so per year and rarely more than 0.3 meter per day.
Which factors determine water quality? Water quality is determined by the presence and quantity of contaminants, by physical/ chemical factors such as TDS, PH and conductivity, by the number of salts present and by the presence of nutrients. Humans largely influence all these factors, as they discharge their waste in water and add all kinds of substances and contaminants to water that are not naturally present.
What does it mean by TDS?The term TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) describes all solids (usually mineral salts) that are dissolved in water. The TDS and the electrical conductivity are in a close connection. The more salts are dissolved in the water; the higher is the value of the electric conductivity. It is measured in PPM (Parts per Million) or mg/l. technically it is sum of all cation & anion present in water. TDS can be measured by TDS meter or in laboratory by chemical analysis.
Low TDS means safe water, is it so? No way, the value of TDS affects the quality & taste of water. High TDS is due to mainly presence of undesirable mineral or quantity of salts above than permissible limit. As per standard whole TDS of drinking water must be well in limit and volume of each salt also must be well within limit. Your water may be of low TDS, but it is not necessary that every salt is in permissible limit, if your water has iron, arsenic content higher than required & other salts well in limit, even than total TDS may be well in limit, because it is sum of ions. To be sure of permissible limit of every salt, it is to be checked out, what treatment is given for water. Membrane technology (RO) is only the answer to protect it. Moreover, if the well treated water also travels through pipe line, everywhere possibility of mixing of other elements and bacterial growth due to poor maintenance of pipe line.
What does the boiling in water make changes? Boiling reduces the threat of living organisms. It serves as a method for killing bacteria during emergencies, it is not recommended for long term use. Very little is removed by boiling. It may kill germs, but you still have dirt, sediment, dissolved solids, bad taste, and odor remaining-there may also be many chemical contaminants and even the dead bacteria, remains within water with chances of evaporating pure water.
How much water do we need on a daily basis? Our daily need of water is mainly covered through drinking. On a daily basis we need to drink about 1.5 - 2 litres of water. Foodstuffs that have high moisture contents also contribute to our water supply. With our food we absorb about 1 litre of water a day. Our total required amount of water is 2.5 litres a day. If we drink enough water and eat enough water-containing food, this should not be a problem. How much water we drink is determined by our habits, not by thirst. When we feel thirsty, this usually is a sign that we have not been drinking a sufficient amount of water.
Why should we drink so much water? Water, after oxygen, is the second most important substance for human health. Water is a universal solvent and transport medium, and because of that it is the basis of all biological processes in the human body. Water is mainly important for the digestive system, because it contributes to the constant supply and export of products and substances. The transport of nutrients can only take place through a solvent, and as such water acts as the main transport medium of nutrients. Water also attends heat regulation in our bodies. For humans it is of vital importance that the body temperature stays at a standard level. That is why we have to drink water, when we are infected with a fever. Water takes up heat and transports it out of the body while we are transpiring. We can survive without food for about 20 to 30 days, but we can only survive a few days without water. This is a factor that proves how important water is for us.
What causes humans to become thirsty? When the human body gives off water the amount of saliva in the mouth will decrease. When our salivary glands give off less saliva, our mouth will become drier. This dryness of the mouth is experienced as thirst.
Why should we not drink seawater?A long time ago a group of people were shipwrecked, but they had been able to save themselves and now they were floating around on a raft that they had constructed out of wooden boards from the ship that came floating up to the surface. They had no food and no water and they were so far away from the main land that they had no hope of being discovered any time soon. Because they were very thirsty, life became very hard on the raft after several days. Some of the passengers started drinking seawater in despair. But this made them die of dehydration pretty soon. How could this have happened while they were drinking water? It happened because seawater contains a lot of salt. When salt enters your body it will absorb a lot of water through a process called osmosis. This will cause the water content of your body to fall, which causes serious dehydration. That is the main reason why we cannot drink pure seawater and why salt is removed from seawater during drinking water preparation processes.
What is best approach to filter the water? The most efficient and cost effective approach to the problem of water purity is to treat just the water you will consume for drinking and cooking where you will consume it.