The bulk of water we consume comes from streams, rivers, lakes, and wells. These sources are divided into groundwater and surface water. In cities, a majority of people fetch the water from their faucets. In rural areas, water comes from wells, streams, and ponds.
Scientists have advanced several theories that try to explain where the water came from. Most support the theory that water was formed during the earth’s formation – what is known as the Big Bang. Other theories advanced include the Degassing and the comet Hale-Bopp theories.
Theories That Explain Where Water Comes From
The Big Bang
Scientists, through various studies, suggest that the origin of water was a direct result of the big bang during the earth’s formation. During the big bang, the constituents of the atom heated up to extreme temperatures and formed elements like hydrogen and helium.
As time went by, helium and hydrogen underwent fusion giving rise to elements like oxygen. Hydrogen and oxygen molecules, when combined, give water; however, to achieve this, this method needs a lot of energy.
The degassing concept tries to explain where ocean water came from. When heavy elements from within the sun bombarded young earth, it combined with oxygen, in a process known as degassing. It allowed hydrogen and other gases available to combine with oxygen to form the atmosphere and oceans.
The Comet Hale-Bopp
Another theory by scientists states that all the water in the oceans came from asteroids and comet collisions. Studies into the comet Hale-Bopp suggest that comets contain heavy water. This is contrary to the composition of ocean water, making this theory insufficient.
The water cycle refers to the exchange of water from the atmosphere, earth and ocean, and land. It can exist in various forms, including vapor. Earth’s water undergoes major processes, including evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
Evaporation is the process where liquid water turns into water vapor. The energy from the sun drives this process. As the sun heats the water, it turns into gas. The gas rises because of the reduction in density.
After water evaporates, it reaches an altitude where the temperatures are lower. The water vapor turns into liquid. Depending on the prevailing atmospheric circumstances, water vapor can condense at higher altitudes or the ground level.
Precipitation occurs when water falls to the earth. It includes rain, hail, and snow. After water falls onto the ground and becomes surface water and runoff onto rivers, oceans, or drainage systems. The cycle repeats all over again.
They refer to the water’s existence at any given point in the water cycle. Examples include ice sheets, underground aquifers, oceans, and the atmosphere.
It includes any water deposited on the earth by rain, ice, and hail. The sources include oceans, streams, and rivers. We call the groundwater that reaches the surface also surface water. It must be treated to provide clean drinking water.
Filtration occurs for groundwater due to rocks and sand along the water path. Both groundwater and water on the earth’s surface are, however, prone to pollution. It may occur upstream where the water originates or downstream by human activities. Deriving a sustainable amount of clean water requires proper management of our water resources. Groundwater requires treatment to eliminate microbes and provide drinking water.
Oceans cover about 70% of the planet. They make up about 93% of the water on earth; however, it is saline and not usable for day-to-day human activities.
Large-scale desalinization plants continue to be developed to purify ocean water. Desalinization involves removing salt and other dissolved minerals from the water. Experts see ocean water as a viable option for providing drinking water to cities. It is estimated that in the next decade, desalination rates will increase by up to 20%.
People dig private wells to access water in aquifers. Wells are an example of groundwater. A pump drives that water from the ground. Pipes and general plumbing pump that water into the house.
A water quality test and analysis are important to ascertain that the owner can drink the water. Water treatment and good quality water filters are imperative to get rid of sediments and microorganisms in the water. We recommend a whole house filtration system.
How the Source Affects Water Quality
There is a direct correlation between the source of water and the level of contamination. For instance, we cannot compare water from the river with water from wells.
Groundwater has substantial levels of contaminants such as hard minerals, sediments, and other impurities. Surface water from a lake or a river will have more sediments, microorganisms, chemicals, and heavy metals because of surface runoff.
Municipal authorities mostly source use surface water for residential and commercial use. Although the level of impurities is higher, the availability of surface water is better. The Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) regulate water quality and standards.
From the Source to the Tap
Surface water forms the bulk of fresh water supply to our cities. Municipal authorities treat streams, lakes, and rivers found on the earth’s surface and supply this water to our homes.
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers
Rivers play a critical role in the supply of usable water. These two rivers are prime examples of usable water sources in the United States. They serve the Atlanta area, which has a population of about 4.1 million residents. The federal water utility companies treat water to supply you with tap water. Another example is the Colorado River, the lifeline of seven states spanning from Los Angeles to Denver.
Virtually all water we consume is treated before it gets to our faucets. Treatment involves removing any harmful contaminants, including heavy metals and microorganisms, resulting in adverse health conditions.
Drinking water may flow from a surface water source or groundwater. The water treatment depends on where the water comes from. Well water will be treated differently from river water. The ultimate goal is to get clean water.
How Drinking Water Is Delivered to Homes
The two best-known ways to supply water for consumption are via pipes and bottled water. Most homes have piping systems installed to channel water from the main water line managed by local authorities.
Piping enables many residences to get tap water. The source can be either the municipal council or a private well.
After the utility company has treated the water, pipes transport and deliver the water to neighborhoods. Individual homes connect to the main pipes where they draw water. The connections are metered for billing purposes. Residences use this water for drinking and general household use.
There are a plethora of companies that produce bottled water in plastic bottles, ready to drink. Water is treated using various methods, packaged, and supplied to stores. Manufacturers source water from springs or the municipal council. Bottled water is also regulated by guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration, just like water from local utility companies.
So, where does water come from? With theories like Big Bang, we try to explain the formation of water. The water we drink, shower, or use in gardening comes from diverse sources. Rivers, oceans, and wells are some of the common water sources on our planet. To get clean water out of these sources, water treatment is mandatory. Pipes distribute and get drinking water to our residences.