What’s In South Africa’s Water?

What’s In South Africa’s Water?

Water; two hydrogen atoms, one oxygen atom. It’s simple enough, right? Not at all!

Most water being marketed as “pure” is entirely subjective, considering that water will contain either some or all of the below, immediately rendering the “pure” title nullified for scientific reasons. See, most water contains things such as micro-organisms, minerals and microscopic impurities.

While the above mentioned substances are in no way a serious health threat – due in part to the insignificant quantities in which they are present – they do actually (in some cases) have benefits.

Think of minerals for example; without minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium present in your water – you’d be left with a very bland tasting drink.

“Pure” water has such little taste that some actually find it off-putting, the reason why most bottled water manufacturers add their own special mix of minerals and flavourants.

Municipal water on the other hand has added ingredients that can, in fact, be harmful; the reason for this is the necessity to add regulated substances, such as fluoride, chlorine and other flavour-enhancing chemicals to be able to supply potable water to the majority of households. Municipalities focus mainly on quantity over quality.

Also consider your municipal water undergoes quite a lengthy route to reach your taps from the reservoirs and aquifers. Acid rain can soak into the soil, and eventually into the water supply itself and cause contamination. Outdated storm and sewer systems may sometimes leach lead or other unsavoury items when the systems are under pressure after heavy rainfall, and groundwater may be contaminated by chemicals leached into the soil from landfills, septic systems as well as unregulated agricultural overflow.

But what can you do about it? A good starting point is to do a quick home-test on your tap water. Start by simply inspecting your water with your eyes! High-quality water is clear. Plain and simple.

Presence of the colours red, orange or a murky-brown are definite indicators of the presence of manganese or iron.

A greenish-bluish tint indicates the presence of copper – possibly stemming from outdated plumbing on your property. Once you’ve done these simple tests, you can eliminate the non-possible causes and save yourself some time.

If you have found cloudy water, allow it to settle before panicking; this is simply and indication of water pressure fluctuations – as murkiness is simply air bubbles in the water.

Microbial contaminants are going to be more tricky to spot – so those will require an actual water testing kit – normally available at hardware or DIY stores.

They are not too costly in any case – so running a test on your water is always a good idea – especially if you have noticed a sudden change from clear to discoloured, foul-smelling or bad tasting water.

While there are stringent measures already in place – municipalities do not concern themselves with “after-the-fact” issues – such as corroded home plumbing or contamination that occurs after the water has left the aquifer.

Installing a home water purification system directly to your tap is an excellent way to ensure a higher-quality water than you are currently using.

The best choice for drinking water however is always going to be a bottled solution – as bottled water manufacturers have exponentially higher standards than municipalities.

We’d love to know if you’ve found any interesting results from testing your municipal water – let us know below!

Bathing vs Showering: Which Is More Eco-Friendly?

Bathing vs Showering: Which Is More Eco-Friendly?

There have been more campaigns than Ic are to count, encouraging citizens to rather opt for a shower instead of a bath, in an effort to reduce consumption and conserve our unsteady water supply.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably sat wondering “how is a shower more effective in saving water than a shower?”. I mean – a bath uses a set amount of water you can use for however long you want.

Well, there are two sides to every story – so let’s clarify this once and for all:

Showers beat baths from an environment standpoint so long as you aren’t taking a very long shower, Grist reported earlier this year. … The average bath uses 36 gallons to fill a tub, while the average shower (without the water-saving device) uses five gallons of water per minute, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.” – as reported in November 2016 by Huffington Post.

While a bath is a “set amount’ of water – it may be a good idea to opt for this method if you intend on relaxing in the water, of perhaps have children who could share that water.

If you are going to shower – to come short of the amount used in a bath – you’d have to ensure yo shower for less than 10 minutes – before meeting the 36 gallon mark.

There you have it – both baths and showers can be just as eco-friendly as the other – provided you use each correctly.

How Much Water Is Wasted from a Leaking Tap?

How Much Water Is Wasted from a Leaking Tap?

A leaking tap might seem insignificant to most of us; a drop here and there surely can’t be crippling to the water supply, let alone to our pockets.

Thanks to this article published on DorringtonPlumbing.com – some sobering facts have been brought to light.

“Imagine you have a leaking tap which leaks 10 drips of water a minute. After a day it will add up to 14,400 drips, which is equivalent to about 3 litres; after a week it will be 21 litres, after a month will be 90 litres and so on. Depending on how fast the water is dripping, in some cases you could loose up to 20,000 litres of water in a year! (That is enough water to fill a small pool)”

A small pool, you say? Most definitely! Every single one of those small drops adds up to the equivalent of approximately one small pool’s worth of water from EVERY leaking tap in a household, business or centre!

This article works off Australian models for quantity analysis, but we may deem it safe to say that in our country – South Africa – with an excess of 50 million citizens should tighten our seals and get to the bottom of this problem.

The solution to the problem may be as simple as replacing the rubber seal inside the tap fitting – and if more serious – calling out a plumber to check for leaks. While he (or she) is at it – check for any other underground or “not so obvious” leaks around your house. You might surprise yourself with a hugely reduced water bill at month end, simply for exercising some diligence in how much water you may be letting slip through the cracks.
Want to quickly test how much water you might be wasting? Check out this quick link.

Another Australian has made this video to further prove how quickly we can be allowing dwindling water resources to be unnecessarily depleted.

What Is The Recommended Water Intake By Age?

What Is The Recommended Water Intake By Age?

We know that from the time we’re born, our daily water intake changes on a monthly and yearly basis. Babies under the age of 6 months should not ingest water by itself whatsoever – as it fills their stomachs unnecessarily and may lead to malnutrition as they will consume less and less milk or formula. The recommended guideline for infants and children are as follows: Babies and infants need 0.7 to 0.8 litres of water daily (700-800ml) from breast milk or formula. They should not be taking water in on it’s own.

Small children need 1.3 litres to 1.7 litres every day. Boys and girls age 9 to 13 need 2.5 litres every day.

In our teens and twenties – it’s imperative we drink as much water as we can without becoming sick. We are at the peak of our mental and physical vitality at this age; when going through puberty, teenagers need to up their water intake to flush out pimple-causing toxins, as well as provide them with enough hydration for leading such busy lifestyle s- including school, college, after-school activities and sports.

The need for a relatively high water intake continues well into adulthood – and the suggested daily guideline is 3 litres (about 14 glasses) of total fluids a da – for men, and 2.2 litres (about 10 glasses) a day for women. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women should increase this slightly – to whichever safe capacity they can handle – in order to sustain the extra demand on their bodies.

 

As we age, we tend to lead more sedentary lifestyles – and as such consume less water. Unfortunately, ailments such as incontinence can drastically affect the amount of fluids an elderly person may want to take in – but it’s vital that they do maintain a daily fluid intake of no less than a litre per day. Keep in mind that by the time a person feels thirsty, they have already lost a substantial amount of water and are experiencing dehydration. In an elderly person this could be a much bigger problem – so even if they are deriving their fluid intake from tea and cordials – they too need to be on top of their water intake game.

Want the good news? Water intake can be derived from more than just consuming plain water!

“Although it’s a good idea to have water ready at all times, food can also provide fluids. Typically, food provides about 20% of total water intake. Many fruits and veggies, watermelon and tomatoes for instance, are 90% water by weight.

Similarly, milk and juice are mostly water. Beer, wine, and caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or soft drinks can add more, but these must not be a major part of your daily total water consumption.

Plain water is your best choice because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive, and easily accessible. Most important, it’s what your body needs!”
Excerpts from caloriebee.com.

How Does Water Get To Your Home or Business?

How Does Water Get To Your Home or Business?

If your immediate thought was “Aquazania delivers my water” – then we love you! Yes, we do deliver your freshly squeezed water to your business or home – and we love that we can do that for our customers.

But the real question is – how exactly does that water even get to Aquazania, in order for us to process it from what it comes to us as – all the way through to the pure-tasting water you have delivered in your 21.8 litre bottles?

The water we consumer every day comes from one of two main water sources; ground water (underground) and surface water (lakes, dams etc.). Other sources of water we often do not even consider include the likes of snow melting, rain and recycled “grey” water. These types of water have limited use due to their possible contaminants but they are gaining popularity nowadays because of the water crisis our country has found itself in.

A sobering thought may be that a meagre ONE PERCENT of all water is accessible to the population.

Let’s quickly run through the two main water sources.

Ground Water

Rainwater and melted snow seeps into soil, collecting underneath the surface in pockets of space called aquifers. Once an aquifer is filled to capacity with the water catchment, it is called a water table. A drop in the water table indicates unstable factors – such as inconsistent rainfall or a drought that has depleted the resource and not had the chance to renew it.

Surface Water

This water source consists of water flowing through streams, lakes, rivers, reservoirs and the oceans. This type of water is often marvelled at for how clean and clear it appears – but beware – it can often be contaminated and thus not fit to drink. 97% of this water is found in the oceans, saline and undrinkable – and we have actually recently seen the opening of the very first desalination plant in Richards Bay South Africa. The remaining 3% of oceanic water – which is actually fresh water – is “locked up” in glaciers and ice.

So, how exactly does water get to my home or business?

Those enormous concrete pipes we see being lugged onto new properties are essentially the backbone to any water system. They house further piping which allows for the transportation of municipal water from the treatment plant, straight into our homes.

When these water systems are maintained, routinely replaced and generally well looked-after, an efficient system is generally going to be the result. However, as we’ve seen a huge decline in infrastructure maintenance and improvements over the years, from Flint (who are experiencing one of the largest lead contamination cases of recent history) all the way through to our very own beloved South Africa – where part and parcel of the drought we have (and still are) experiencing is due to poorly maintained water systems – your next best and safest bet is going to be to outsource your drinking water at the least – to a reputable, sustainable and safe water source.

So, once the water has been transported from either the underground or surface water catchment area, it is sent through to the water treatment facility. Processes at these facilities include disinfecting and “purifying” the water. The end goal of the water treatment facility is to take untreated water and make it potable – i.e. – relatively safe to drink.

The process to make the water potable involves systems such as the removal of debris, filtration of the water and disinfection of the water. Disease-causing micro-organisms are mostly removed, and thereafter the water flows out into the through a network of water pipes – commonly known as the water distribution system.

Public vs Private Water Treatment Facilities

Public / municipal systems are owned and operated by the cities or towns they serve and are under the auspices of a mayor or another elected official.

Private systems include individual wells (sometimes serving a single household) to small corporate associations that provide water to homes – or contain their own water divisions.

From The Pipes to Your Tap

Whether the water you use comes from the treatment facilities or a well (as we just discussed earlier) – the water is still going to come out your tap the same way. The key to having his last step run smoothly is to ensure your own homes plumbing is up to scratch, Unfortunately, metal pipes used in household plumbing often erode and allow lead an other contaminants to leech into your water supply. Ensuring your own plumbing is in tip top shape means even less of a chance of dirty or infected water.

Bottled Water

Speaking for ourselves – we receive municipal water which is piped through to us via underground water transportation systems. Once we have received this water – it is held in large storage tanks, to allow for hard sediment to settle to them bottom. Then the magic starts to happen – where the water undergoes hard as well as mechanical filtration to remove [pretty much every other component other than the actual two Hydrogen and one Oxygen molecule. The water is purified, undergoes reverse osmosis, ozone sterilisation etc., and is then re-injected with great tasting minerals.

The bottles themselves are sterilised, so you’re guaranteed the cleanest and purest water you could ever imagine.

Information sourced from “Water Treatment for Dummies’ booklet.

Is Recycled Water Our Next Big Idea?

Is Recycled Water Our Next Big Idea?

An article extracted from Business Day today, a poignant opening statement that opens our eyes is as as follows:

“Owing to SA’s dwindling water resources, South Africans must seriously consider using recycled water for basic needs. The reality is that water stressed-countries have long resorted to using grey water for drinking, cooking and washing.”

Here are a few more excerpts from the article – which we’ll piece together to get the full picture:

…we are rated by the World Bank as among 30 dry countries in the world that will become a desert in 30 years unless we start saving water now.”

In SA, the level of water consumption is skewed, depending on the nature of the business the water is used for. Agriculture, for instance, uses 62% of our resources to irrigate crops. In a country where drinking water is fast becoming a luxury, the consumption of such huge volumes of water by one industry is implausible.

Last month, SA hosted a historic three-day world summit in Durban. Attended by think-tanks in the water sector, including the president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong-kim, the international summit brought to the fore the question of waste water as an obvious alternative to the world’s water woes.

President Jacob Zuma set the scene for a vigorous debate during his opening address when he warned that the “bleak” 2017 UN World Water Development Report required world leaders to urgently prioritise the improvement of access to potable water and sanitation services. The report, he said, should draw attention to the dismal global status of water and sanitation and inspire commitment to action by world leaders to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

This raises the question as to what countries with myriad water challenges should do to deliver water to their citizens.

It’s about time that governments re prioritise water and puts it at the top of their budgetary systems. The current trend is to make water the last national priority and to relocate small budgets that have been allocated to the resource to other programmes.”

“The visible impact of poor on-site wastewater management has been masked in recent years due to the dry conditions. However, in average and higher rainfall years, the impacts of poor wastewater management can be seen in street drains and runoff into neighbouring properties.”

While we’ve omitted some of the content originally produced in the original Business Day article, we can see clearly that due to the unfortunate non-cooperation of governmental departments in finding innovative and we ways to store, conserve and recycle our natural water resources, we’re left with no other choice but to take matters into our own hands.