How do we get the most out of our municipal water?
As we know that water is a renewable resource (inexhaustible source) that is provided naturally through the earth’s water cycle in the form of rain. While water is provided by nature, many of us depend on a complex network of pipes, pumps, equipment, and people provided by our community’s municipal water systems which safely deliver us clean water to our taps, and eliminate all the used water from our homes and other places.
There are 6 main steps or stages in our municipal water systems:
>Source water –
The lakes, rivers and underground systems which are the source of our water supply that gets filled up by rain and snow.
The method by which water is filtered and purified that is safe to consume for many purposes.
>Water distribution systems –
The method by which the pipes and pumps delivers clean water to our taps.
>Wastewater collection systems–
Sewers are the pipes and pumps that take away all the used water from toilets, drains, bathtubs etc.
>Wastewater treatment –
The method to eliminate all contaminants from our used water sothat it can be safely returned to the environment. This is also known as sewage treatment.
>Storm systems –
The pipes, ditches and natural systems which channel our rain water and snow melt away from our houses and other places and back to the natural environment. And this is known as storm systems.
Now the question arises where does our water come from?
86% of the water that comes into municipal water systems is taken from rivers and lakes and hence these are called surface water sources as these are taken from surface sources. And the rest 14% of the water that comes into municipal water systems is taken from underground aquifers called ground water sources.
How is water taken from the source to the taps?
In municipal water systems, water is drawn from the water source and treated prior topumping to our homes and other places. The quality of the source water determines the type of treatment process. Most systems will have several stages of filtration (to eliminate all the suspended particles, debris and algae) and disinfection (to eliminate maximum no of bacteria and viruses and purify the water). Disinfection process that includes chlorination and treatment with ultra violet light.
After this whole treatment, municipal water systems distribute water to all houses and large industries and factories through large pipes known as water mains that are buried under roads and sometimes also under sidewalks. These large pipes called water mains are maintained by our local governments and are paid by people for water rates and property taxes. Small pipes are the pipes that transport water from water mains to our homes, apartments and other places. Property owner is responsible for these water lines.
How do we check that the water we consume is safe to drink and for other purposes?
Water in municipal systems is required to meet strict water quality standards which is established in provincial rules, and is tested to ensure that it is safe to consume in all purposes especially drinking.
For more information, consult Netsol water