Any water is better than no water at all. Although, these days, when you have so many options to choose from it’s important to stay informed. There’s no need to stress that hydration is important for you. So let’s take it a step further and see what these options are.
What kind of different properties does water from different sources contain? And if one type of water is actually better than another one?
What is Purified water?
Basically it’s engineered water that is safe to drink, cooking, bathing, and other common uses. Pretty much any water can be purified: groundwater, tap water, rainwater, or any other source. You can even purify spring water if that’s what you desire.
As long as some device or technology is involved to treat it, then the water can be considered and labeled purified. Purified water is necessary in highly sterile environments or mechanical applications.
The main goal of water purification is to remove undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. And then to produce water fit for specific purposes. There are very complex and quite simple ways to purify water.
This can be as simple as a DIY filter from scrap, as neat as EDC survival filter-straw, or as sophisticated as dedicated water purification units.
Filters meant for water purification often involve activated carbon as an effective adsorbent. Simple, popular, and affordable solution for home use is a water pitcher with an installed filter.
If water is filtered on massive scales, such as to supply cities and municipalities, more complex technologies are used. Special sand filters, membrane filtration, and such.
As a side note – the three chemicals most commonly used as primary disinfectants for tap water are chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and ozone.
While they are used together with water filtration methods, it’s best to remove even the allowable amounts of them from your drinking water. Since common tap water is also considered purified.
This is among the most effective technologies to purify water. It’s used on a large scale to supply water for whole municipalities. The army uses RO when dislocated off-shore. Many people use RO in their homes.
Reverse Osmosis is a technology that purifies water and makes it good for you to use in food and drink. Reverse Osmosis systems combine water filtration with RO membrane purification technology. Most systems even have a remineralisation unitis to produce water with the best pH balance.
On top of that, it’s possible to install Ultraviolet light disinfection units to kill bacteria. This makes RO water some of the purest safest options to produce drinking water.
In essence, distillation mimics natural earth cycle. Rain can be considered distilled water because liquids evaporate into the atmosphere, collects into clouds, and rains down. In a similar way, water distillers heat the water up, then collect and cool down the evaporated steam that once more becomes liquid. Distilled water is perfectly fine to drink. Although the taste of it is quite uncommon.
This process is good for several reasons. It kills microbes and produces safe to drink water with the most basic technology needed. However, boiling does not remove other contaminants that are not susceptible to heat. While you can and you should boil water in the wilderness, simply boiling tap water will not do much good.
Benefits of purified water
The single biggest benefit of purified water is that it allows for safe and healthy water for us to drink. All of the bottled water that meets legal standards is purified water. The most common alternative to purified water, that is most common throughout the western world is tap water.
Regulations for tap water are less strict than that of what can be legally labeled as purified water.
Of course, if you’re thirsty it’s better to choose tap water over, lake water. Then it’s better to choose bottled water vs tap water. But some sort of locally purified water would be an even more preferred option. Let’s find out why.
Making your own water for your own needs
The most common way of getting drinkable water is buying bottles. The second most common and gaining more and more popularity is making your own water.
That’s doubly true if you have some special requirements. Like artisanal coffee production, aquarium, CPAP machine, air humidifier, or such. Then making your own water seem the right way to go. Exceptional food and drink creation requires the finest quality water .
It’s possible to buy spring water in big quantities but it’s so much easier and cheaper to make water based on your own preferences.
You can make purified water from pretty much any water including springs, rivers, wells, municipal tap water systems. Or, with some more robust technology even delaminate seawater.
Since access to water, in general, is not a problem throughout the western world, we can have such discussions. And it just might happen that purified water will be the future of drinking water around the globe.
What is Spring water and where does it come from?
Simply speaking it’s water that comes from the earth. Spring water is common in areas with thick bedrock, limestone in particular. During the natural weather cycles, rain soaks the earth, and water seeps through it even further. It collects in the natural underground reservoirs called aquifers. The excess of this water rises to the surface and becomes known as spring water. So springs normally form along the sides of hills and in the valleys.
During historical times, spring water was always sought after as pure and safe source water for multiple uses. Sometimes springs were even considered sacred. It’s important to note that clean water was very sought after and areas containing spring water were respected and cherished.
Spring water travels through compacted sand, pebbles, rock, and cracks. That’s how it gets naturally filtered. If the water travels through mineral deposits, some of those minerals dissolve into it along the way. That’s how we get natural mineral water.
But is all bottled water spring water? Well not necessarily. To be legally labeled as ‘Spring water’, the water must be collected after it naturally comes out of the spring.
Although it’s possible to drill a hole into the earth, to make a bore and reach an underground aquifer. Then water may be collected by using an external force to enhance the natural underground pressure. Or, if the conditions allow, simply use a pump or a bucket. That’s basically a well.
As a side note – bore water is not considered spring water. Because it has not risen to the surface on its own. Thus, well water will have different characteristics than spring water. It will taste differently and should be examined before deemed safe for prolonged consumption.
Benefits of Spring water
Many people consider the natural emergence process of spring water makes it taste better. People feel better when drinking something, they know, that came from nature. In truth, bottled spring water may undergo some treatment to purify it by removing microbes and other impurities. But steps are taken to preserve other properties of it.
Natural occurring mineral composition of spring water will result in specific taste. Spring water will taste so much different than RO water and even more different than distilled water. You might like it or not. It might be interesting to taste different spring waters and compare them. Or find the one that suits your palate best. But there simply is no one single taste of it.
Spring water will have relatively high Total dissolved solids levels. And these particles are known as those giving the spring water its supposed health properties.
Probably the main benefit for spring water would come if it’s naturally accessible for you personally. If you happen to live near mountains, in a valley or in the area where there are underground reservoirs of water, then this might be the best water to drink and consume.
Oftentimes, if the natural occurring water is tested clean, people don’t even use filters or other purification technology. However, this is becoming a rearer exception these days.
Which water is better for you?
This answer is twofold. And it’s impossible to draw a strict conclusion.
Healthwise, there is not a huge difference. Unless you have a special condition – to get enough water is much more important than to get a specific type of water.
Mineral water is most mineral-rich and spring water will have variable amounts of them. You can get a remineralization unit with your RO system and cover that need easily. The most important part is to get pure and contaminant-free water. For someone just getting into home water purification, a countertop RO system might be the right stepping stone.
However, there is an environmental responsibility that we all share. While it would be nice for all the people to have access to the natural and clean spring water – it’s not possible. Buying bottled water over and over again is a drain on the natural planet resources.
Gathering, packaging, transporting, and selling water creates so much waste and consumes much energy. While it’s interesting to taste spring water from other parts of the world, making your own purified water might be the better option for everyone.