Water quality refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water. It is an important and often overlooked issue that can affect human health and the environment. For drinking purposes, water must be free of contaminants and have a clean distribution system.
What Makes Water Good?
Good quality water is free of contaminants and odors. It has a pH of approximately 8.6, which is acidic enough to be hygienic, but not too acidic as to negatively affect the taste, effectiveness of chlorine disinfection processes, and solubility of heavy metals making them toxic. It is also a great solvent for molecules, which allows most of the essential chemical reactions to take place inside of cells. Proteins, for example, are the workhorses of cells and provide structure, receive signals, and catalyze chemical reactions in the cell. Without proteins, cells would not be able to perform their vital functions. They also play a role in the development of organs, allowing them to grow and develop.
Benefits Of Drinking Good Quality Water
Water is a vital part of the body’s system and should be consumed regularly. It prevents dehydration, which can cause unclear thinking and mood change, overheating, constipation and kidney stones. It also helps your body remove waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Drinking enough water can help you feel more energized, reduce headaches and back pain, and boost productivity. Some people boil their water to remove chemicals and other contaminants. However, boiling water may not always completely remove toxins. It’s also important to remember that water can lose its beneficial properties after being heated or boiled, such as minerals and electrolytes.
Consequences Of Drinking Poor Quality Water
Poor water quality can lead to health problems, such as gastrointestinal illnesses and nervous system or reproductive effects. It can also cause chronic diseases, such as cancer. The most common contaminants of water are bacteria, but other microorganisms, such as parasites, viruses, and pharmaceuticals, can cause similar effects. Contaminants can be absorbed into the body through contact with skin, mouth, and eyes, or by drinking contaminated water. Depending on the contaminants, the effects can vary from mild GI illnesses to life-threatening illnesses such as cholera or dysentery. While these ailments are rare, they can still be devastating to individuals living in areas where water quality is poor. It is important to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
How To Determine Water Quality
The most basic way to determine water quality is to test small samples of it in a laboratory. These are usually collected in sterile bottles and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. There are also tests that can be done in the home using inexpensive digital instruments. These cost $15 or less and are available for pH, temperature, specific conductance, total dissolved solids, and salinity. More advanced tests involve dipping a sample into a liquid or powder reagent simultaneously with another and then rotating a color disk until the concentration is visible. The color of the water sample and the resulting concentration are then measured by an electronic instrument.