|Look for December 2013 "Did You Know" tips at links below|
- Agricultural Irrigation
- Crop Production
- Drinking Water
- Lakes / Ponds / Streams
- Lawn and Landscape Irrigation
- Lawns, Landscapes and Gardens
- Livestock Manure Management
- Policy / Law / Economics / Human Behavior
- Stormwater Management
- Wastewater - Domestic Sewage
- Water Basics (groundwater, surface water, hydrology)
- Well and Wellhead Management
The following are from Plain Talk About Drinking Water: Questions and Answers About the Water You Drink, by Dr. James M. Symons, published by the American Water Works Association.
Q: Is it okay to substitute other drinks for the recommended six to eight glasses of water needed each day to maintain good health?
A: Juice, Milk and soft drinks are almost all water, so they do count toward the required daily fluid intake. Nutritionists often recommend tap water because some beverages contain chemicals like caffeine and alcohol that do not help the body maintain fluid balance as well as other drinks.
Q: Why does dishwater or the dishwasher leave spots on glasses?
A: The spots that may appear on glassware after washing and air-drying are caused by nontoxic minerals that remain on the glass when the water evaporates. Sports on glass shower doors appear for the same reason. Commercial products are available that allow the water to drain from glassware more completely.
Q: What is a watershed?
A: A watershed is the region of land where all water drains, or ‘sheds,’ to the same river, reservoir or other body of water.
Q: In towns and cities, what is the major cause of pollution of drinking water sources?
A: The major source of pollution in towns and cities is rainwater that flows into street catch basins (called urban runoff or stormwater runoff). While the rainwater alone is not necessarily harmful, it frequently carries untreated waste products from our streets and yards directly to rivers, lakes and streams.
Q: Why does drinking water often look cloudy when first taken from a faucet and then clear up?
A: The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water, similar to the gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks. After awhile, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter, when the drinking water is cold.
Q: Why is some drinking water stored in large tanks high above the ground?
A: Two reasons: First, this type of water storage ensures that water pressure and water volume are sufficient enough to fight fires, even if the electricity that normally pumps water is turned off. The second reason is to provide an extra source of drinking water during the day, when water use is high. The water storage tanks are refilled at night when drinking water use is low.
Q: Can I tell if my drinking water is okay by just looking at it, tasting it, or smelling it?
A: No. None of the chemicals or microbes that could make you sick can be seen, tasted or smelled.
Q: When I’m working in the yard, I’m tempted to take a drink from my garden hose. Is this safe?
A: No. The water is safe, but a standard vinyl garden hose has substances in it to keep it flexible. These chemicals, which may get into the water as it goes through the hose, are not good for you. In addition, the outside thread opening at the end could be covered with germs.
Q: If traveling overseas, in which countries is the water safe to drink?
A: Besides the U.S. and Canada, the water is generally safe to drink in western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In other countries, you should insist on carbonated bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
Q: Is the fluoride and chlorine in my drinking water safe?
A: Yes. When added or naturally present in the correct amounts, fluoride in drinking water has greatly improved the dental health of American and Canadian consumers. Many tests have shown that the amount of chlorine found in treated water is safe to drink, although some people object to the taste. NOTE: even in the correct amounts, fluoride or the disinfectant chlorine in drinking water makes the water unsuitable for use in kidney dialysis machines or aquariums.
Q: Water often looks cloudy when first taken from a faucet and then it clears up. Why is that?
A: The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to the gas bubbles in beer and carbonated soft drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone.
Q: What is hard water?
A: The answer may surprise you. Hardness in drinking water is caused by two nontoxic chemicals - usually called minerals - calcium and magnesium. If either of these minerals is present in your water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard because making a lather or suds for washing is ”hard” to do. Thus, cleaning with hard water is difficult. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is called soft water. Water that does not contain enough calcium or magnesium many be “too soft.”
Q: What is the cost of the water I use in my home?
A: Prices vary greatly around the U.S. and Canada, but a typical cost is about $2 for 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters). At that price you get approximately five gallons (20 liters) of tap water for a penny.
Q: Many areas near the ocean do not have large supplies of fresh water. Why can’t ocean water be treated to make drinking water?
A: Ocean water can be treated, but the process is expensive. The cost of converting salt water to drinking water has been estimated at $5 to $7 for each 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) instead of the 30-50 cents for treating 1,000 gallons of fresh water.
Q: Why is ocean water salty?
A: Rainwater doesn’t contain any salt, but when it falls on the ground, salt from the soil dissolves in the water as it flows back down to the ocean. When this water evaporates from the ocean, the salt stays behind. This has been going on for more than a billion years. That is why the ocean is now very salty.
The following are from: Michigan State University Institute of Water Research and MSU's Groundwater Education in Michigan Program.
Q. How much water does the average American use each day for household activities?
A. The average American uses about 60-100 gallons of water per day for dishwashing, bathing, lawn care, etc.
Q. 80 percent of the earth's surface is water. This amounts to how many gallons?
A. The water on the earth's surface totals about 362 trillion gallons. Only one percent is freshwater. The rest is salt water (97 percent) and glacier ice (two percent).
Q. True or False. People can live longer without food than they can live without water.
A. True. People can live without food for two months, but normally die in less than a week without water.
Q. Name an animal that doesn't drink water.
A. The desert rat and koala bear are two animals that get their liquid from the food they eat. Although they don't actually drink, they still need water from their food.
Q. True or False. Popular bottled waters have no minerals in them.
A. False. Only distilled water has no minerals)
Q. True or False. The ancient Romans built aqueducts to bring fresh water from the mountains to the city.
A. True. They are still in use.
Q. True or False. Fluoride occurs naturally in some water sources?
Q. On the average, how many inches of snow equal one inch of water?
A. Approximately 10 inches of snow equals one inch of water.
Q. Everything we eat uses water. How much water does the typical American meal "cost?"
A. It could easily cost between 500 and 2,000 gallons of water to produce a typical American meal. On average, it takes about 1.6 million gallons of water to feed one American for a year.
Q. In water treatment, chlorine is used for what?
A. Chlorine is used to disinfect water. Since it has been adopted in our drinking water, diseases such as typhoid and cholera have all but disappeared. The disinfection of water has saved more lives than all the doctors and hospitals in the world.
- Plain Talk About Drinking Water: Questions and Answers About the Water You Drink, by Dr. James M. Symons, published by the American Water Works Association [first set of questions/answers].
- Michigan State University Institute of Water Research and MSU's Groundwater Education in Michigan Program [second set of questions/answers].