Where does water come from?
Accessing the water you need might be as simple as turning on the faucet, but this isn’t ultimately where your water comes from. In fact, the Earth’s water supply comes from a series of different places—some you might expect, and others you might not. To fully understand the process of obtaining quality drinking water for your home, it’s crucial that you first know these sources. These are the different types of water sources around the globe and how they each play a role in what comes out of your home’s sink.
Surface Water Resources
Surface water resources are the most used method of supplying water to various regions in the United States. This classification primarily includes rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands—all of which contain fresh water rather than saltwater. These sources are easiest to filter, so they produce the highest-quality drinking water for the general public. Plus, another reason we mostly use these resources is their accessibility—many people live near large lakes or streams from which they can easily extract water. Surface water is therefore the most reasonable option for providing homes and businesses with the resources they need to function.
However, people commonly use rivers and lakes for recreational activities such as swimming and fishing; these places also play a part in the industrial manufacturing processes. As such, water from these sources requires extensive sterilization before it’s ready for consumption and use.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a larger source of water underneath your feet than there is in all the rivers and lakes combined. However, we rarely get to tap into these sources due to how difficult they are to reach. Groundwater fills the cracks in bedrock and sand beneath the surface, making contaminants tedious to filter out in large quantities. These sources also saturate soil and contain so much sediment that the water must undergo a thorough filtration process to even become drinkable. So, while groundwater is the main source of plant hydration, it’s not often a sustainable option for people. Fortunately, we aren’t completely cut off from groundwater sources—many of them feed some of our surface water supplies through underground springs.
Otherwise known as runoff or rainwater, stormwater is water that comes from heavy weather such as rain, snow, and hail. This water flows over the land and, in the process, collects a variety of pollutants such as engine oil, fertilizer, and pesticides. As it picks up these contaminants, it eventually gathers in different areas, potentially combining with some of our other water sources. For this reason, stormwater—and water from any other type of source—must undergo a series of tests that properly identify and filter out dangerous toxins. In addition, since the majority of this water flows back into the oceans, capturing it beforehand is a great way to increase our overall water supply on land. For this reason, many sustainability experts have researched different ways to collect this water and filter it before it washes away.
You might not initially think of it as an option, but wastewater is another type of water source in the world. This is the water we use for our household, manufacturing, and agricultural activities; it’s then disposed of through our drains and local sewage systems. Because this water has already been used, it may contain several potentially toxic elements that must be filtered out and disposed of before the water can be used again. Unfortunately, while recycling water is a common practice in various communities, most wastewater still gets dumped in local surface water resources. This contaminates them and makes it even more difficult to filter out all the contaminants. For this reason, conservation efforts to stop businesses from dumping wastewater into lakes and rivers are on the rise. Preventing this practice better maintains the amount of water for us to live off of.
It’s common knowledge that our oceans make up over 70 percent of the planet. However, the salty, abrasive nature of this water makes using it for any of our current processes extremely difficult. In fact, the amount of salt present in ocean water makes it impossible for us to safely drink it in large enough quantities to survive. Therefore we dominantly rely on freshwater sources to supply us with the water we need to drink. Fortunately, recent advances in filtration technology have yielded more effective ways to dilute saltwater and remove the acidity that prevents us from using it. Still, desalination plants are low in number due to the amount of energy this filtration process requires. Further evolution of these tools will make the process more sustainable and easier to repeat.
Ice Cap Water Resources
Shockingly, it’s theoretically possible for us to retrieve some water from the polar ice caps and glaciers. These large bodies of ice float through the oceans, but they actually consist of fresh water. This makes them some of our most ideal resources—if we can develop reliable ways to tap into them. Unfortunately, the glaciers are too far away for us to regularly utilize, and we have yet to come up with an effective way to melt them. The process of even reaching these territories is too much of an economic burden to be sustainable for long periods. In addition to this, the polar ice caps are crucial to regulating the Earth’s surface temperature. Going through the effort of melting them would ultimately throw our global temperatures out of balance and do more harm than good.
By appreciating these water sources, you can gain a further understanding of what it means to have clean, refreshing water to drink each day. The process water goes through to reach your faucet is a long one, and we at Uncle Tilo’s Clean Water LLC want to better hone this process in your own home or office. Our Clean Water Filter Pack not only purify toxins and pathogens from your water supply, it also changes your life. After all, the quality of your water is a direct link to the quality of your health.
Rainwater Harvesting (RWH)
Is the collection and storage of rain, rather than allowing it to run off. Rainwater is collected from a roof-like surface and redirected to a tank or cistern. Dew and fog can also be collected with nets or other tools. Rainwater harvesting differs from stormwater harvesting as the runoff is collected from roofs, rather than creeks, drains, roads, or any other land surfaces. Its uses include watering gardens,irrigation, livestock and household use and consumption with proper maintenance and disinfection treatment.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest and oldest methods of self-reliance in personal water supply. Ask yourself these questions:
How many gallons of water will I need?
Will I drink or shower in this water?
What is the best water disinfection available?
They say the next war will not be about oil, but rather water.
Are you prepared?
Uncle Tilo's Clean Water LLC in the Pahoa Marketplace can assist you.