Do you have clean water? Are you sure? Why can’t people get clean water in some places?
The discussion is ongoing, as clean water becomes more precious to us. Even children know that we need clean water. In fact, “healthy food and clean water” is a common preschool theme.
The Importance of Clean Water
Clean water, especially clean drinking water, can be a matter of life and death. The weight of the adult human body is 50 to 70 per cent water, and we can survive for only a few days if we do not regularly take in more. It matters, though, whether we take in clean water or unclean water.
Government reports are awash with facts about the importance of clean water.
- Globally, unclean water is the greatest killer of children less than five years old.
- A lack of clean water is a major cause of disease and death at all ages in underdeveloped countries.
- Thousands of Chinese suffer from various illnesses because they lack clean water.
- More is spent on bottled mineral water for the wealthy than on passably clean water for the poor.
- 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water for drinking.
- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., disaster crews could not keep up to the demand for clean water.
According to a recent United Nations report, unclean water is a sure predictor of shortened life expectancy. The importance of clean water cannot be overstated.
Do You Have Clean Water?
Many people take it for granted that water flowing from the taps in their homes is clean water. The term “clean” is not well-defined, though, and has not been from ancient times.
Our earth initially had clean water. Crystal clean water flowed in every stream. Crystal clean water bubbled forth from every spring. No one had to worry about unclean water. Centuries later, water was not as pure, and people took steps to ensure they were drinking clean water. If it tasted good, it was probably clean. If it tasted bad, it was probably unclean.
As water became more contaminated, the ancient Greeks and Romans lined their drinking pottery with silver, believing that would ensure clean water. Later, they used boiling to ensure clean water.
As recently as 1905, people used copper vessels exposed to sunlight as holding tanks that led to charcoal filters that produced fairly clean water.
Now, municipalities add disinfectants to bring water up to government standards – but is it clean water? Not necessarily.
A study of 19 U.S. cities’ drinking water systems found systems and treatments dating back to before 1915! When those rotting pipes break – as they will – they may leach contaminants, making relatively clean water dangerous. Those old treatment plants, built to conform only to the knowledge and conditions of the late 1800’s, often fail to remove modern contaminants and bacteria.
What Can You Do?
If you care enough about clean water for you and your family, you will take as many precautions as you can.
- Have your tap water tested professionally, or test it yourself with one of several inexpensive kits available.
- Read up on the water purity in your area.
- Install a filter or purifier.
Bottled Water, Anyone?
As reported elsewhere on this blog, buying water in a bottle is not guarantee that you are getting clean water. Several popular drinking water bottlers take their water directly from municipal water supplies. It is no cleaner than the tap water. Regulations on bottled water do not require purity. Read carefully.