Problems With Drinking Water Quality

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“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink;” so cries Samuel Coleridge’s ancient mariner in the first days of his lengthy punishment. The prospect of water deprivation horrified Coleridge’s readers at the end of the 18th century, and is frightening still at the beginning of the 21st. Humans survive only a few days without potable water and need water for many other purposes -- cooking, basic sanitation, growing food, recreation, industry. Earth is the solar system’s water planet, and two-thirds of its surface is water. Humans are creatures of the earth and we reflect its makeup; our bodies are sixty percent water.

The volume of water on the earth remains about what it was in Coleridge’s day; however, with a growing human population come growing demands, especially for potable water. Ninety-seven percent of the water on Earth is saltwater, and most of the freshwater is locked in glaciers and icecaps. Only three tenths of one percent of the Earth’s water is both potable and accessible, and ninety-eight percent of that is underground (LaMoreaux). Water is abundant on Earth a...
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