Water treatment is essential to our everyday way of life. We take it for granted that we are able to turn on any tap in our home and cold, drinkable water comes right out. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that the water that we drink and bathe in is safe.
We’ve gathered ten interesting water treatment facts that may amaze you:
1. There isn’t as much drinkable water as you think!
In actual fact, the amount of water on earth that can be used as drinking water is around 1%. This sounds scary at first but when you realize that we have entire oceans of water that is too salty to drink this number makes a lot more sense.
Most of the earth’s surface water is permanently frozen or salty. That sounds crazy but it’s true. Water is everywhere, even making up 60% of your body.
2. You won’t last long without water
You can only last about a week without any water. Dehydration can ve very serious and even a few days without water can result in hospitalization. If possible, always try to carry a bottle of water with you at all times.
Getting one reusable water bottle and filling it up at a water fountain saves a huge amount of plastic waste. Not only does this help to save the planet thought there being less landfill, but it also means that fewer single-use plastic bottles need to be made. What does this have to do with water? The machines that create plastic water bottles need a tremendous amount of water to function on a daily basis.
3. Thousands of chemicals are removed from the water before you drink it
Water filtration plants do a lot more than your Brita filter. Water can become contaminated in so many different ways as it leaves your sink and enters the sewage system. Many of the contaminants would be very harmful to your health if you consumed them.
There are many types of filter systems and technologies available, such as screen filters and disc filters, which are used in different industrial settings. So the next time you take a sip of tap water, remember all of the hard work that went in to making it safe to drink.
4. Nearly a billion people worldwide have limited access to clean water
This is a staggering number. The lack of accessible drinking water is due to poor infrastructure and arid weather conditions. Although progress is still being made it is not fast enough. Another crazy fact is that in developing countries people have to walk 6 kilometres a day to collect drinkable water.
5. It doesn’t take much to contaminate water
Just 4 litres of gasoline can cause 2.8 million litres of water to be unsuitable for drinking. So the next time you hear about an oil spill, think about the damage it is really doing.
When water is contaminated, it’s usually our fault. Any contamination that is filtered out by water treatment plants is almost always because of human actions. This fact is a lot scarier than people give it credit for.
6. Ultraviolet light can sterilize water
This is a safe and cheap way to kill all but 0.01% of harmful water bourne bacteria in water. This is what makes them so popular at cottages. However, UV alone can’t filter water. For that, you need a more robust system in place.
7. It takes a lot of water to feed a family
Yes, that is correct, it’s not typo. Water is needed to grow crops and feed animals. So when you think about the environmental impact of your meal, be sure to think about how much water is used. This is especially true of nut-based milk like almond milk.
8. Industrial wastewater is a real problem
Water is used on an industrial scale to cool and lubricate machinery. When this water has been used a few times it is often contaminated with so many chemicals that it can’t be treated. This water needs to then be disposed of in such a way that it won’t enter the water table. Wastewater is often combined with sand or stored in watertight containers indefinitely.
9. A drip from a tap can fill buckets
Remember those billion people who don’t access to water. Well, a leaky tap can waste well over 100 litres a day if left unchecked. Not only that, but over the course of a year, you will be paying a great deal more than you have to in your utility bills.
10. Bottled water isn’t better than tap
This may come as a real surprise but bottled water may not always be safer to drink than tap water. Not only is it not safer, but it is also a lot more expensive. Bottled water can cost over two-thousand times more than the same amount of tap water.