The purification of water entails the power to ensure that all people on the planet can have access to this vital resource. However, we know that not all countries and continents have the same availability and ways of making water drinkable. It is estimated that only and exclusively 0.4% of the world’s water is suitable for human consumption. For this reason, at present, more and more research and proposals are focused on investing in projects that facilitate access to drinking water for all inhabitants of any corner of the planet. But, how to make water drinkable for human consumption? Can rain water be made drinkable or even sea water drinkable?
What is water purification
The purification of water is a process that is based on the treatment of water to make it suitable for human consumption and domestic animals, so that it does not present any type of health risk. Also called “drinkable” water, drinking water has been previously treated for consumption following a series of quality standards, which are determined by both local and international authorities.
To do this, during the purification of the water , substances that can be toxic to people, such as sand, lead and zinc, are eliminated . Various organisms with the ability to cause disease and infection in humans are also killed: certain species of algae, viruses, and bacteria.
In this way, it is possible to make well water drinkable, as well as water from rain and the sea, as long as any element that is a potential risk to our health and that of domestic animals is eliminated.
What is drinking water for?
Being a basic requirement for life and health, drinking water is used for both drinking and preparing food. However, numerous diseases caused by drinking unsafe water continue to affect and kill millions of people each year. Mainly in Asia and Africa there are various water-borne diseases, such as gastrointestinal infections (eg diarrhea and cholera) that kill millions of people, most of them children under 5 years of age. Therefore, guaranteeing access to drinking water is essential to avoid deadly diseases transmitted through water.
On the other hand, the demand for drinking water in the world is increasing, assessing as a whole, the consumption of water for domestic, industrial and livestock purposes (with the exception of irrigation water). Due to the incessant increase in the world population, as well as the populations of domestic animals, the consumption of water has multiplied by six in the last 100 years. To this disadvantage should be added the fact that worldwide access to water resources decreases every year due to the increase in water pollution. You can learn all about the Causes and consequences of water pollution here.
How to make water drinkable – techniques
The water is made drinkable in the drinking water treatment plants , technically known as the Drinking Water Treatment Station (ETAP). In these facilities, the industrial techniques that are followed, step by step, during the water purification process are the following:
- Water pretreatment: large solids, sand and some organic substances are removed.
- Coagulation-Flocculation: in a mixing chamber, various chemical components are added to the water that guarantee its purification, as well as coagulating agents. In addition, the pH of the water is adjusted.
- Decantation: by action of gravity, the suspended particles that remain in the water are separated. On the other hand, those denser sediments that are harmful remain at the bottom, where they are eliminated.
- Filtration: any type of impurities are eliminated, using a porous medium that filters them.
- Water disinfection: finally, to eliminate viruses and bacteria, chlorine is added to the water, or ultraviolet radiation or ozone is applied.
- Analysis: to ensure that the water purification process has been carried out successfully, it is necessary to carry out various analyzes that guarantee that the drinking water obtained is colorless, odorless and tasteless, also complying with the current regulations of the country in which it is used. carry out the purification of the water.