DRINKING WATER, also known as POTABLE WATER or IMPROVED DRINKING
WATER, is water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation ,
without risk of health problems. Globally, in 2015, 91% of people had
access to water suitable for drinking. Nearly 4.2 billion had access
to tap water while another 2.4 billion had access to wells or public
taps. 1.8 billion people still use an unsafe drinking water source
which may be contaminated by feces . This can result in infectious
diarrhea such as cholera and typhoid among others.
Water is essential for life. The amount of drinking water required is
variable. It depends on physical activity, age, health issues, and
environmental conditions. It is estimated that the average American
drinks about one litre of water a day with 95% drinking less than
three litres per day. For those working in a hot climate, up to 16
liters a day may be required.
Water makes up about 60% of weight in
men and 55% of weight in women. Infants are about 70% to 80% water
while the elderly are around 45%.
Typically in developed countries , tap water meets drinking water
quality standards, even though only a small proportion is actually
consumed or used in food preparation. Other typical uses include
washing, toilets, and irrigation .
Greywater may also be used for
toilets or irrigation. Its use for irrigation however may be
associated with risks.
Water may also be unacceptable due to levels
of toxins or suspended solids. Reduction of waterborne diseases and
development of safe water resources is a major public health goal in
Bottled water is sold for public consumption in
most parts of the world. The word potable came into English from the
Late Latin potabilis, meaning drinkable.
* 1 Requirements
* 2 Access
* 2.1 Global
* 2.3 Climate change aspects
* 3 Improving availability
* 4 Health aspects
* 4.1 Diarrheal diseases
* 4.2 Well contamination with arsenic and fluoride
* 4.2.1 Identifying hazardous substances
* 5.1 Improved water sources
* 5.2.1 Point of use methods
* 6 Regulations
* 6.3 Russian Federation
* 7 Other animals
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 External links
A fountain in
France . The sign reading
Eau potable indicates that the water is safe to drink. Main article:
The amount of drinking water required is variable. It depends on
physical activity, age, health, and environmental conditions. It is
estimated that the average American drinks about one litre of water a
day with 95% drinking less than three litres per day. For those
working in a hot climate, up to 16 litres per day may be required.
Some health authorities have suggested that at least eight glasses of
eight fl oz each (240 mL) are required by an adult per day (64 fl oz,
or 1.89 litres ). The
British Dietetic Association recommends 1.8
litres. However, various reviews of the evidence performed in 2002 and
2008 could not find any solid scientific evidence recommending eight
glasses of water per day. In the United States, the reference daily
intake (RDI) for total water intake is 3.7 litres per day (L/day) for
human males older than 18, and 2.7 L/day for human females older than
18 which includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water
contained in food. An individual's thirst provides a better guide for
how much water they require rather than a specific, fixed quantity.
The drinking water contribution to mineral nutrients intake is also
unclear. Inorganic minerals generally enter surface water and ground
water via storm water runoff or through the Earth's crust. Treatment
processes also lead to the presence of some minerals. Examples include
calcium , zinc , manganese , phosphate , fluoride and sodium
Water generated from the biochemical metabolism of
nutrients provides a significant proportion of the daily water
requirements for some arthropods and desert animals, but provides only
a small fraction of a human's necessary intake. There are a variety of
trace elements present in virtually all potable water, some of which
play a role in metabolism. For example, sodium, potassium and chloride
are common chemicals found in small quantities in most waters, and
these elements play a role in body metabolism. Other elements such as
fluoride , while beneficial in low concentrations, can cause dental
problems and other issues when present at high levels.
Fluid balance is key. Profuse sweating can increase the need for
electrolyte (salt) replacement.
Water intoxication (which results in
hyponatremia ), the process of consuming too much water too quickly,
can be fatal.
Water resources Only 61 percent of people
in Sub-Saharan Africa have improved drinking water. Drinking
water vending machines in
Thailand . One litre of potable water is
sold (into the customer's own bottle) for 1 baht .
Water covers some 70% of the Earth's surface. Approximately 97.2% of
it is saline , just 2.8% fresh . Potable water is available in almost
all populated areas of the Earth, although it may be expensive and the
supply may not always be sustainable. Sources where water may be
* Ground sources such as groundwater , springs , hyporheic zones and
* Precipitation which includes rain, hail, snow, fog, etc.
Surface water such as rivers, streams, glaciers
* Biological sources such as plants.
* Desalinated seawater
Water supply network
Atmospheric water generator
Springs are often used as sources for bottled waters.
Tap water ,
delivered by domestic water systems in developed nations , refers to
water piped to homes and delivered to a tap or spigot. For these water
sources to be consumed safely they must receive adequate treatment and
meet drinking water regulations.
The most efficient way to transport and deliver potable water is
Plumbing can require significant capital investment.
Some systems suffer high operating costs. The cost to replace the
deteriorating water and sanitation infrastructure of industrialized
countries may be as high as $200 billion a year. Leakage of untreated
and treated water from pipes reduces access to water. Leakage rates of
50% are not uncommon in urban systems.
Because of the high initial investments, many less wealthy nations
cannot afford to develop or sustain appropriate infrastructure, and as
a consequence people in these areas may spend a correspondingly higher
fraction of their income on water. 2003 statistics from El Salvador,
for example, indicate that the poorest 20% of households spend more
than 10% of their total income on water. In the United Kingdom
authorities define spending of more than 3% of one's income on water
as a hardship.
World Health Organization
World Health Organization /
UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP)
Water Supply and
Sanitation is the official United Nations
mechanism tasked with monitoring progress towards the Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) relating to drinking-water and sanitation (MDG
7, Target 7c), which is to: "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people
without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic
sanitation". The JMP is required to use the following MDG indicator
for monitoring the water component of this: Proportion of population
using an improved drinking-water source.
According to this indicator on improved water sources , the MDG was
met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. Over 2 billion more people
used improved drinking water sources in 2010 than did in 1990.
However, the job is far from finished. 780 million people are still
without improved sources of drinking water, and many more still lack
safe drinking water: complete information about drinking water safety
is not yet available for global monitoring of safe drinking water.
Estimates suggest that at least 25% of improved sources contain fecal
contamination and an estimated 1.8 billion people globally use a
source of drinking water which suffers from fecal contamination. The
quality of these sources vary over time and are typically of worse
quality in the wet season. Continued efforts are needed to reduce
urban-rural disparities and inequities associated with poverty; to
dramatically increase coverage in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and
Oceania; to promote global monitoring of drinking water quality; and
to look beyond the MDG target towards universal coverage.
WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) coverage and monitoring
in non-household settings such as schools, health care facilities, and
workplaces, is an important post-2015 development objective.
In the USA, the typical single family home consumes 69.3 gallons (262
litres) of water per day. Uses include (in decreasing order)
toilets, washing machines, showers, baths, faucets, and leaks. In some
parts of the country water supplies are dangerously low due to drought
and depletion of the aquifers, particularly in the West and the South
East region of the U.S.
CLIMATE CHANGE ASPECTS
World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund predicts that in the Himalayas, retreating
glaciers could reduce summer water flows by up to two-thirds. In the
Ganges area, this would cause a water shortage for 500 million people.
The head of China's national development agency in 2007 said 1/4th the
length of China's seven main rivers were so poisoned the water harmed
United Nations secretary-general
Ban Ki-moon has said this
may lead to violent conflicts.
Solar water disinfection application in
One of the
Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN includes
environmental sustainability. In 2004, only 42% of people in rural
areas had access to clean water.
Solar water disinfection is a low-cost method of purifying water that
can often be implemented with locally available materials. Unlike
methods that rely on firewood , it has low impact on the environment.
One organisation working to improve the availability of safe drinking
water in some the world's poorest countries is
Operating in 26 countries,
WaterAid is working to make lasting
improvements to peoples' quality of life by providing long-term
sustainable access to clean water in countries such as
India . It also works to educate people about
sanitation and hygiene.
Water for All (SWA) is a partnership that brings
together national governments, donors, UN agencies, NGOs and other
development partners. They work to improve sustainable access to
sanitation and water supply to meet and go beyond the MDG target. In
2014, 77 countries had already met the MDG sanitation target, 29 were
on track and, 79 were not on-track.
Contaminated water is estimated to result in more than half a million
deaths per year. Contaminated water together with lack of sanitation
was estimated to cause about one percent of disability adjusted life
years worldwide in 2010.
Over 90% of deaths from diarrheal diseases in the developing world
today occur in children under 5 years old :11.
especially protein-energy malnutrition , can decrease the children's
resistance to infections, including water-related diarrheal diseases.
From 2000 to 2003, 769,000 children under five years old in
sub-Saharan Africa died each year from diarrheal diseases. As a result
of only thirty-six percent of the population in the sub-Saharan region
having access to proper means of sanitation, more than 2000 children's
lives are lost every day. In South Asia, 683,000 children under five
years old died each year from diarrheal disease from 2000 to 2003.
During the same time period, in developed countries, 700 children
under five years old died from diarrheal disease. Improved water
supply reduces diarrhea morbidity by twenty-five percent and
improvements in drinking water through proper storage in the home and
chlorination reduces diarrhea episodes by thirty-nine percent.
WELL CONTAMINATION WITH ARSENIC AND FLUORIDE
Some efforts at increasing the availability of safe drinking water
have been disastrous. When the 1980s were declared the "International
Decade of Water" by the
United Nations , the assumption was made that
groundwater is inherently safer than water from rivers, ponds, and
canals. While instances of cholera, typhoid and diarrhea were reduced,
other problems emerged due to polluted groundwater .
Sixty million people are estimated to have been poisoned by well
water contaminated by excessive fluoride , which dissolved from
granite rocks. The effects are particularly evident in the bone
deformations of children. Similar or larger problems are anticipated
in other countries including China, Uzbekistan, and Ethiopia. Although
helpful for dental health in low dosage, fluoride in large amounts
interferes with bone formation.
Half of the Bangladesh's 12 million tube wells contain unacceptable
levels of arsenic due to the wells not being dug deep enough (past 100
metres). The Bangladeshi government had spent less than US$7 million
of the 34 million allocated for solving the problem by the World Bank
in 1998. Natural arsenic poisoning is a global threat, 140 million
people affected in 70 countries on all continents. These examples
illustrate the need to examine each location on a case by case basis
and not assume what works in one area will work in another.
Identifying Hazardous Substances
In 2008, the Swiss Aquatic Research Institute, Eawag, has a method by
which hazard maps could be produced for geogenic toxic substances in
groundwater. This provides an efficient way of determining which
wells should be tested.
Drinking water quality standards Further information:
Water quality ,
Water pollution , Appropriate technology §
Water sampling stations EPA drinking water security poster
Parameters for drinking water quality typically fall under three
Physical and chemical parameters include heavy metals , trace organic
compounds , total suspended solids (TSS), and turbidity .
Microbiological parameters include
Coliform bacteria , E. coli , and
specific pathogenic species of bacteria (such as cholera -causing
Vibrio cholerae ), viruses , and protozoan parasites .
Chemical parameters tend to pose more of a chronic health risk
through buildup of heavy metals although some components like
nitrates/nitrites and arsenic can have a more immediate impact.
Physical parameters affect the aesthetics and taste of the drinking
water and may complicate the removal of microbial pathogens.
Originally, fecal contamination was determined with the presence of
coliform bacteria , a convenient marker for a class of harmful fecal
pathogens . The presence of fecal coliforms (like E. Coli ) serves as
an indication of contamination by sewage . Additional contaminants
include protozoan oocysts such as
Cryptosporidium sp., Giardia lamblia
Legionella , and viruses (enteric). Microbial pathogenic parameters
are typically of greatest concern because of their immediate health
Throughout most of the world, the most common contamination of raw
water sources is from human sewage and in particular human faecal
pathogens and parasites. In 2006, waterborne diseases were estimated
to cause 1.8 million deaths each year while about 1.1 billion people
lacked proper drinking water. It is clear that people in the
developing world need to have access to good quality water in
sufficient quantity, water purification technology and availability
and distribution systems for water. In many parts of the world the
only sources of water are from small streams often directly
contaminated by sewage.
There is increasing concern over the health effects of engineered
nanoparticles (ENPs) released into the natural environment. One
potential indirect exposure route is through the consumption of
contaminated drinking waters. In order to address these concerns, the
Water Inspectorate (DWI) has published a "Review of the
risks posed to drinking water by man-made nanoparticles" (DWI
70/2/246). The study, which was funded by the Department for
Rural Affairs (Defra), was undertaken by the
Food and Environment
Research Agency (Fera) in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team
of experts including scientists from the Institute of Occupational
Medicine /SAFENANO. The study explored the potential for ENPs to
contaminate drinking water supplies and to establish the significance
of the drinking water exposure route compared to other routes of
IMPROVED WATER SOURCES
Access to safe drinking water is indicated by safe water sources.
These improved drinking water sources include household connection,
public standpipe , borehole condition, protected dug well, protected
spring, and rain water collection. Sources that do not encourage
improved drinking water to the same extent as previously mentioned
include: unprotected wells, unprotected springs, rivers or ponds,
vender-provided water, bottled water (consequential of limitations in
quantity, not quality of water), and tanker truck water. Access to
sanitary water comes hand in hand with access to improved sanitation
facilities for excreta, such as connection to public sewer, connection
to septic system, or a pit latrine with a slab or water seal.
Water purification and
Most water requires some type of treatment before use, even water
from deep wells or springs. The extent of treatment depends on the
source of the water. Appropriate technology options in water treatment
include both community-scale and household-scale point-of-use (POU)
designs. Only few large urban areas such as
Christchurch , New
Zealand have access to sufficiently pure water of sufficient volume
that no treatment of the raw water is required.
In emergency situations when conventional treatment systems have been
compromised, waterborne pathogens may be killed or inactivated by
boiling but this requires abundant sources of fuel, and can be very
onerous on consumers, especially where it is difficult to store boiled
water in sterile conditions. Other techniques, such as filtration,
chemical disinfection, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation
(including solar UV) have been demonstrated in an array of randomized
control trials to significantly reduce levels of water-borne disease
among users in low-income countries, but these suffer from the same
problems as boiling methods.
Another type of water treatment is called desalination and is used
mainly in dry areas with access to large bodies of saltwater.
Point Of Use Methods
Portable water purification
The ability of point of use (POU) options to reduce disease is a
function of both their ability to remove microbial pathogens if
properly applied and such social factors as ease of use and cultural
appropriateness. Technologies may generate more (or less) health
benefit than their lab-based microbial removal performance would
The current priority of the proponents of POU treatment is to reach
large numbers of low-income households on a sustainable basis. Few POU
measures have reached significant scale thus far, but efforts to
promote and commercially distribute these products to the world's poor
have only been under way for a few years.
Guidelines for the assessment and improvement of service activities
relating to drinking water have been published in the form of
International standards for drinking water such as ISO 24510.
Water Supply and
Sanitation in the
The EU sets legislation on water quality.
Directive 2000/60/EC of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing
a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, known
as the water framework directive , is the primary piece of legislation
governing water. The
Drinking water directive relates specifically to
WATER INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
Each member state is responsible for establishing the required
policing measures to ensure that the legislation is implemented. For
example, in the UK the
Water Quality Regulations prescribe maximum
values for substances that affect wholesomeness and the
Inspectorate polices the water companies.
Drinking water quality in the
United States , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets
standards for tap and public water systems under the Safe Drinking
Water Act (SDWA). The
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates
bottled water as a food product under the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).
Bottled water is not necessarily more pure, or
more tested, than public tap water . Peter W. Preuss, former head of
EPA's division analyzing environmental risks, has been "particularly
concerned" about current drinking water standards, and suggested in
2009 that regulations against certain chemicals should be tightened.
In 2010 the EPA showed that 54 active pharmaceutical ingredients and
10 metabolites had been found in treated drinking water. An earlier
study from 2005 by the EPA and the Geographical Survey states that 40%
of water was contaminated with nonprescription pharmaceuticals, and it
has been reported that 8 of the 12 most commonly occurring chemicals
in drinking water are estrogenic hormones. Of the pharmaceutical
components found in drinking water, the EPA only regulates lindane .
In 2009, the EPA did announce another 13 chemicals, hormones, and
antibiotics that could potentially be regulated. In 2011 EPA
announced it would develop regulations for perchlorate .
In 2013, researchers from
Duke University reported detecting methane
in drinking water in
Pennsylvania and claimed that "serious
contamination from bubbly methane is 'much more' prevalent in some
water wells within 1 kilometer of gas drilling sites ". The
researchers noted that methane levels were "an average of six times"
higher and ethane levels were "23 times higher" in the water wells
"closer to drilling sites, compared with those farther away.". EPA,
in a 2015 report on the impact of hydraulic fracking, "found no
evidence that the contentious technique of oil and gas extraction has
had a widespread effect on the nation's water supply."
Water supply and sanitation in
A list of normative documents that regulate the quality of drinking
* Sanitary norms and rules SanPin 126.96.36.1994-01 "
Hygienic requirements for water quality of centralized drinking water
supply. Quality Control. "
* Sanitary norms and rules SanPin 188.8.131.526-02 "
Hygienic requirements for water quality, packaged in a container.
Quality Control. "
A cat drinking tap water
The qualitative and quantitative aspects of drinking water
requirements of domesticated animals are studied and described within
the context of animal husbandry . However, relatively few studies have
been focused on the drinking behavior of wild animals. A recent study
has shown that feral pigeons do not discriminate drinking water
according to its content of metabolic wastes, such as uric acid or
urea (mimicking faeces-pollution by birds or urine-pollution by
Bacteriological water analysis
Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys
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