Water is the most abundant resource on earth, covering up to 72% of the planet’s surface. It’s been around for roughly 5 billion years, and as a chief ingredient for life, is one of the reasons that we exist.
Today, human civilization uses water in a number of ways, and in this article, we’ll be exploring the different types of water, their usage, and why they’re important.
Most people get their water from taps. In countries where tap water is safe to drink, it goes through a comprehensive recycling process before reaching your home. Although some studies have shown that tap water contains a number of plastic particles—a sad result of plastic pollution around the world.
Mineral water is pulled from a mineral spring. Mineral water has passed over various rocks before reaching the surface, which deposits healthy minerals such as calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. Because of the health benefits of mineral water, it tends to be a little more expensive than purified water.
Some people don’t enjoy the taste of mineral water, but it has clear health benefits.
Spring water comes from the source of a water spring, which tends to be clean, free of toxins, and can contain some healthy minerals. However, it’s not advisable to blindly trust major corporations when it comes to spring water, as companies like Coca Cola have been caught red-handed bottling local tap water, purifying it, and claiming that it came from a spring1.
Purified water is usually tap or groundwater that has been treated using Reverse Osmosis membranes, which removes 99.98% of bacteria, virus, dirt, chemicals and metals. This is a good option if you can’t drink your local tap water, or don’t have access to safe drinking water.
Distilled water is created by boiling water, collecting the steam, and waiting for it to condense back into a liquid. The boiling process removes the harmful substances, making it safe to drink. Distilled water might be considered a type of purified water, but has been through a different process to make it safe.
Sparkling water is water that has had carbon dioxide added to it through a carbonation process, to make it fizzy. It can be regular tap water, spring, purified, distilled, or anything else. As a carbonated drink, sparkling water may help to improve digestion, and reduce constipation. It’s also a much healthier choice than other sugary drinks, while providing the same fizzy sensation.
If you’re living in the Western world, it’s unlikely that you’ve had to drink water from a well. But many third-world countries still use well water as their primary drinking source, with the liquid pulled up from underneath the earth’s surface, where the peak of the water table rests.
Well water can be risky to drink because it hasn’t been treated, and might contain bacteria, nitrates, and parasitic infections such as giardia2.
There’s many different types of water, each with their pros and cons. Tap water is cheap, spring water tastes great, and sparkling water is the invention of a madman (just kidding, some people love the stuff).