Potable water: The target of water sanitation and hygiene

Water resources refer to sources of water, which are potentially useful to man. It is required by all living things to grow and reproduce. Only about 3 percent of earth water is fresh water while the remaining 97 percent is salt water. Geographically, about 69 percent of fresh water is in glaciers and icecaps. About 30 percent is in groundwater. Only about 0.3 percent is contained in lakes, swamps, and rivers. Fresh water is one of the renewable resources. The groundwater is located subsurface in the pore space of rocks and soil. It flows below the water table. The groundwater is maintained by a dynamic input and output channels. Input channels are several seepage portals from surface water. Output channels are seepage into oceans and springs.

Water as a resource should, however, be preserved and maintained. This has led the development of water recycling programs. Water recycling is a process by which waste water is made useable again. This is done by various methods. This helps to reduce diversion from the freshwater body and the organisms living in them are minimally disturbed. If used in irrigation, it may reduce the need to apply chemical fertilizers constantly. Because the water is reclaimed with the run-off chemicals in it and re-applied.

The actualization of potable water is the target of water sanitation and hygiene. Potable water is one that does not contain microorganisms and chemical substances in amounts that is hazardous to health. The physical characteristics of such water include:

• It should not be turbid. Turbidity results from suspended materials, which are finely divided. Such materials include clay, silt, planktons, etc.

• It should be colorless. Color could be true or apparent color. True colors result from suspended materials. Apparent colors are due to dissolved substances in solution.

• It should not have an odor.

• It should not have a taste.

Recycled water can freely be used for all other processes while potable water alone is reserved for drinking.