An Educational Guide About Drinking Water

Drinking water is also called potable water, and it is water of a decent enough quality to consume or use with a very low risk of getting contaminated or harmed. Many developed countries have a water supply that is provided to either households or businesses, which is all of a drinking water standard. However, only a small part of this is actually utilized for drinking or for use in food preparation. Much more goes to basic washing or landscaping irrigation. It is important to have clean drinking water to prevent the spread and contraction of diseases, and it is also important to regularly drink water every day to avoid dehydration.

Sources of Fresh Water:

Surface water

Surface water can be thought of as water from a fresh water wetland, river or lake. It is automatically replenished through precipitation. It is naturally lost by way of discharge to evaporation and the oceans.

Under river flow

The total water volume in a river that is transported downstream is frequently a mix of free water flow and a contribution of water that flows across sub-surface gravel and rocks. This is referred to as the hyporheic zone. For some rivers, this unseen, underground flow may be greater than the visible flow of water. This zone oftentimes creates a significant interface between real groundwater and surface water.

Ground water

Ground water is also called sub-surface water. Ground water is located in what is called the pore space of rocks and soil. Ground water is water that flows beneath aquifers beneath the water table. The natural input to ground water is any seepage from surface water.


Desalination can be thought of as an artificial process. It is when saline or sea water is transformed into fresh water. Reverse osmosis and distillation are two of the most common desalination processes. Compared to other alternative sources of drinking water, desalination is quite expensive.

Frozen water

Using frozen water as a drinking source has only been toyed with. It has only been performed for novelty purposes to this date. For example, there have been several theories proposed to use icebergs as sources of fresh water. However, glacier runoff is seen as surface water.

Access to Safe Drinking Water

Not all of the world has access to safe drinking water. This is especially true of third world or developing countries on continents like Africa and Asia. This is dangerous for people who live in such countries. Their risk for infection and getting harmed is a lot higher than countries that have safe drinking water.

Countries Where Less Than 25% of Population has Access to Safe Drinking Water – Afghanistan and Ethiopia

Countries Where 26-50% of Population has Access to Safe Drinking Water – Rwanda, Chad, Angola, Guinea, Eritrea, Kenya, Haiti

Countries Where 51-75% of Population has Access to Safe Drinking Water – Vietnam, Togo, Tanzania, Romania, Gabon, Gambia

Countries Where 76-90% of Population has Access to Safe Drinking Water – Argentina, Bolivia, India, Honduras, Syria, South Africa, Thailand

Countries Where more than 90% of Population has Access to Safe Drinking Water – U.S., U.K., Chile, Bulgaria, Cook Islands, Norway, Egypt, Switzerland

Safe Drinking Water Maps

  • Safe Drinking Water Map: This website shows a world map where different colors show different drinking water availability.

  • Relief Web Map: This website features a PDF map of countries with accessible drinking water.

  • Problems Map: This website features maps that show problem areas for drinking water.

  • Water Maps: This website presents a few maps related to world water drinking issues.

  • Access Map: This website shows a map of places that have access to drinking water.

Water Quality

Water quality can be thought of as the biological, physical and chemical characteristics of water. Water quality is a measure of water’s condition compared to the needs of one or more biotic species as well as those of humans. In the U.S., the water quality standards are determined by the EPA, which restricts the quantity of particular contaminants in public water systems. The EPA relies on primary standards and secondary standards in their determination of water quality. Measuring water quality comes down to environmental and drinking water indicators. Environmental indicators are high amounts of certain microorganisms and toxic substances, while drinking water indicators relate to metals, salts, bacteria, herbicides, pesticides, chemical contaminants and radioactive contaminants.

Startling Water Facts

  • Across the world, about 884 million people suffer from a lack of access to water that is safe.

  • More than 3.5 million people will die every year due to sickness that is water-related.

  • A child dies from a water-related disease every 20 seconds.

  • Diarrhea kills more children under the age of 5 than malaria, measles, and AIDS combined; about 1.5 million each year.

  • Compared to richer people residing in the same city, less wealthy people are forced to pay between 5 to 10 times more for a liter of water.

  • An American who takes a shower lasting just five minutes already utilizes more water than an average person who lives in the slum of a developing country does in one entire day.

  • In the human body, more than 60 percent is made up of water.

  • While 75 percent of the surface of the globe is covered in water, 98 percent of that is unfit for drinking because it is saltwater.

  • An average human can only last for about a week without drinking any water.

  • Almost 4 trillion gallons of water are consumed in America each month.

  • A typical American utilizes 176 gallons of water every day, while the typical African family utilizes just 5 gallons of water every day.

Additional Resources