Water is the most precious resource at present. Water is invaluable, and we have come to realise this sad reality rather late. Half the world is grappling with the lack of clean and healthy water. Healthy water is required not only for drinking and cooking food but also for various other activities. Healthy water is required for agriculture, fishing, farming, recreational need, industrial, washing cleaning as well as for the generation of clean and renewable electricity.

Out of many sources of water, freshwater is the most healthy water. However, we have managed to pollute this source of healthy water and have also managed to use it indiscriminately, causing water scarcity.

Healthy water means water which is free from impurities like dust, dissolved salt and minerals etc. Our body requires water in adequate quantity to function correctly. Therefore drinking water or portable water should be of the highest quality. Drinking water can come from a variety of sources. Urban centres are supplied with water by the government corporations or municipalities.

Drinking water is available from wells dug deep inside the crust of the Earth-like artisan well, open well or tube well or private wells. There are other sources of water as well, which require a filter or check on water fluoridation.

We will briefly study the type of water to understand what is healthy water and its benefit.

Most urban areas are supplied with piped water.

Tap water:

Piped water is treated and is fit for drinking and other activities. Water is chlorinated and is mostly devoid of impurities. However, some impurities might get into it through some leakage.

Septic tanks should also not be near pipes supplying water for domestic consumption. Therefore, it is advisable to filter tap water too to prevent any outbreak of waterborne diseases. Tap water can be turned into healthy water also by simply boiling it for some time.

Mineral water:

It is another type of healthy water. As the name itself suggest that mineral water contains minerals mostly like sulphur, magnesium and calcium. All these minerals are good for our health. However, we can get these minerals from other food like fish and berries. Mineral water is also more expensive than tap water.

Springwater:

Glacier water is those bottled water. These have been bottled directly from the source of rivers like in glacier. The water may not be drinkable depending upon the source. Water at the source is usually clean and free from pollution.

Sparkling water infused with carbon dioxide gas. This tastes a bit different from regular water. It may also contain some mineral though the amount is insignificant for any health benefit.

Distilled water:

water is first boiled, its vapour is collected and then condensed back to the water. This is pure water without any impurities at ll. One can have this water in a place where the water source is contaminated.

Distilled water may pose some health hazard as it is devoid of any mineral, and it is like such water to draw mineral from anywhere they can. In this case, from our body, if one happens to drink it for a long time.

Purified water:

This is essentially tap water or groundwater that has been treated, and bacteria, fungi, parasites and other diseases organisms have been removed. Sometimes purified water may miss out on beneficial bacteria or added fluoride, which prevents tooth decay.

Alkaline water:

It contains a higher pH level than regular tap water. Alkaline water is not harmful to drink per se, can lower acidic content in the stomach, but this claim has not been proved scientifically.

On the contrary, reduced acid in the stomach would lead to a lower ability to fight bacteria in the stomach and eventually to alkalosis. Its symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

Well water:

It may seem like well water is healthy water as its source is groundwater. This groundwater too may be contaminated and may contain bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Therefore it is advisable to filter it or treat it before using.

Infused water:

New health trend is drinking infused water. That is, water has been infused with fruits or vegetables and kept for some time before drinking it. It has health benefit as the vitamins and minerals of the fruit are passed on to the water. Slices of lemons, grapefruits, cucumber and other fruits are put into water and kept overnight. When taken first thing in the morning, it has loads of health benefits.

World Health Organisation had given a grim report that by the year 2025, half of the world population would face water scarcity. Water scarcity has already started in South Africa. So water conservation is to be taken seriously.

Safe and healthy water option is essential for public health, domestic use, agricultural purpose and also for recreational purpose. Supply of healthy water reduces the chances of transmission of waterborne disease like diarrhoea, hepatitis, dysentery typhoid and polio.

Inadequate treatment of industrial, agricultural and urban waste had lead to pollution of water bodies endangering species living in those water bodies. This inadequate management has exposed millions of people to contaminated and chemically polluted water. This has lead to millions of preventable deaths from waterborne diseases.

In countries having tropical climate water can be the breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dengue mosquitoes breed in clean water. Simple act of covering water would prevent not only vector-borne diseases but also reduce faecal contamination. They are thus reducing disease to a great extent.

The social and economic impact of healthy water:

Respective governments have to make availability of water accessible as well as improve the quality of water supply. Easy accessibility would reduce the commute time and risk to bring water. The saved time could be used in more productive work.

Improved quality of water would help prevent waterborne diseases helping in improved health. The resultant reduction in expenditure on health would lead people to be more economically productive. Children too would clock more school hours improving their playtime and study thus their future.

Author

Mike Brown has done Masters in Hydrology and Water Management. He loves coffee and likes to lecture people on climate change. He plays PUBG when he is not working.

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