It’s Drinking Water Week, a time to celebrate the invaluable resource that flows from our taps. Hopefully it’s clean, pure and tastes great.
The American Water Works Association hopes that Drinking Water Week (May 1-7) will raise awareness of the importance of water supplies water service infrastructure, and the health and safety of tap water.
The Association is doing their part with an excellent website filled to the brim with information about where drinking water comes from, what’s in it, and how you can find out more about the water that flows from your taps. The site also includes games, videos, information and activities for kids.
According to the Association, the majority of households in North America receive their water from a local water system or provider. In the United States alone there are 54,000 of these systems, and each system is unique – from its size to its source.
The best way to learn more about your drinking water is to contact your local water system or provider directly, or to review your annual Consumer Confidence Report. Water service providers are required by the EPA to deliver annual drinking water quality Consumer Confidence reports to their community. These reports must be distributed to consumers by July 1st each year.
Smaller water systems may be able to distribute the information through newspapers or postal mail. Larger water systems must post their reports on the Internet to ensure consumers can easily access the information at any time.
Water utilities in the United States are required to monitor for more than 100 contaminants on a regular basis. More than 94 percent of U.S. drinking water utilities are in full compliance with health-based federal regulations annually, meaning that nearly all public water supplies in the United States meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for safe drinking water.
If you don’t like the taste of the water that comes out of your tap, or have to find an alternative source of water due to an emergency, The American Water Works Association provides info that can help you choose the right bottled water. They point out that “some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all.” Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying.
- Artesian Water: Water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.
- Mineral Water: Water containing not less than 250 ppm total dissolved solids that originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. Mineral water is characterized by constant levels and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements at the source. No minerals may be added to mineral water.
- Purified Water: Water that is produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes and that meets the definition of “purified water” in the U.S. Pharmacopeia, 23d Revision, Jan. 1, 1995. As appropriate, also may be called “demineralized water,” “deionized water,” “distilled water,” and “reverse osmosis water.”
- Sparkling Bottled Water: Water that, after treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source.
- Spring Water: Water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth at an identified location. Spring water may be collected at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring, but there are additional requirements for use of a bore hole.
You can also get more info on water choices from the International Bottled Water Association.
Whatever type of water you choose to drink, there really is no need to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. Barring medical issues trust your body’s guidance. For most of us, the best thing is to drink water (or another liquid) when we are thirsty, and stop drinking when we are not thirsty.
Many people believe that the source of the 8/8 water legend was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters of water a day. But somehow everyone blithely ignored the sentence following that statement, which noted that the majority of our fluid needs are satisfied through the consumption of food. Any shortfall could be easily addressed via a wide variety of beverage choices including coffee, tea, milk, juice, beer, etc. Or, if you like, an actual glass of water.
But from a dental health perspective, water is the best of all possible drinks. It contains no sugar or acids, which encourage dental decay. Rinsing with water after meals or after consuming acidy drinks like fruit juice will help keep your mouth clean and your dental enamel strong.
Happy Drinking Water Week!