It’s a known fact, water is the key to life. Without it survival is unlikely. Without a doubt, drinking plenty of water everyday is an important part of your total well-being. When you’re on a diet, water also acts as a critical weight-loss aid because it can help you eat less, so drinking water to lose weight is always a good idea. With the news coming out of Flint, Michigan about the contaminated water supply, it’s important to know and understand where your water originates. The presence of contaminants in any public water source can lead to adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders; people whose immune systems are compromised are especially vulnerable.
Where is your home water source?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 286 million Americans get their tap water from a community water system. If you live in a community, chances are your home drinking water comes from either surface water or ground water. Surface water collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs near your home. Ground water is water located below the surface where it collects in pores and spaces within rocks and in underground aquifers. Ground water is obtained by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.
Public water systems provide water from surface and ground water and then runs it through a water treatment plant operated by local government or privately-held firms. When using a surface water system, it pulls water from the source, treats it, and delivers it to your home. Ground water systems also withdraw and deliver water, but they do not always treat it. If you live in a rural area, you probably have a private well that uses ground water as its primary water source. Owners of private wells and other individual water systems are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants. The EPA regulations that protect public water supplies do not apply to private wells.
What about bottled water?
Americans spend billions of dollars every year on bottled water. People choose bottled water for many reasons including taste, health concerns, or as a substitute for other beverages. Standards for bottled water are set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under the Cosmetic Act of 1933, the FDA regulates bottled water and sets standards based on ones developed by EPA. If these standards are met, water is considered safe for most healthy individuals. The bottled water industry must also follow FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) for processing and bottling drinking water. Bottled water includes nutrition labels and place of origin. Although bottled water outbreaks are not often reported, they do occur, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The United States has one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, however, there are always new challenges to protect our nation’s water supply. One strong concern is that the drinking water infrastructure, which includes the pipes that bring water to our homes, is aging, (up to 100 years old in some cases) and is in desperate need of upgrades or altogether replaced. Your water supply is your lifeline.