Freshwater can be used for drinking and tap water, but also for non potable uses such as irrigation in agriculture, and for cooling in electricity generation.
We’ve put together a short guide explaining the water quality standards for both potable and non potable water.
(Note – this guide contain general information only, and not professional advice)
Summary – Water Quality Standards For Drinking Water, & Non Potable Water
Fresh water comes from different sources
Drinking water generally comes from groundwater aquifers, or lakes, rivers and dams.
For other uses of water such as irrigation for example, water can come from dams, bores, wells, rivers, town water, channels and recycled water.
In some cities, water generation methods like desalination are used
Every city across the world has a different quality of their fresh water sources (due to variables like water pollution and contamination), and also has different processes in place for regulating water quality at law, as well as treating and filtering drinking water, testing potable and non potable water, and so on
Drinking water usually has it’s own Drinking Water Act in developed countries
Non potable water used for irrigation in agriculture, or cooling at thermal power plants, usually has to pass different testing and regulation guidelines
*Note – A qualified expert is the only person who can give a professional opinion on whether a water sample shows safe results, or whether water is safe to drink, consume or use.
Additionally, people should make the decision to consume or use water at their own risk, and after doing their own due diligence
Quality Of Drinking Water/Tap Water
We already wrote a guide on researching drinking water quality in different countries and cities.
Some notes from that guide that are relevant to the quality of drinking water are:
Water comes from fresh water sources
Every city and country has a different quality of fresh water sources they extract drinking water supplies from
Every city and country has different guidelines and regulations for Drinking Water quality, codified in an Act
Every city and country has different treatment plant processes for Drinking water
Water can be tested independently separately to official water testing
All these variables, and other variables, lead to different tap water quality in different cities and countries.
Cities & Countries With The Best & Worst Drinking Water & Tap Water
Water Quality Of Non Potable Water Used For Irrigation, Industry & Other Uses
For all other uses of water other than drinking water, there can be different testing and regulations guidelines in place.
If we take water used in agriculture for irrigation for example, it may be best practice to get the water quality assessed via chemical laboratory analysis by an independent and accredited laboratory.
Problems specific to water used for agricultural irrigation might include salinity, the water infiltration rate, specific ion toxicity, and other miscellaneous problems.
The water used for farming can impact the soil, yields and other factors.
The US and Australia both provide resources on irrigation water quality:
Irrigation water quality (lenntech.com)
Water quality evaluation information (fao.org)
Irrigation water quality (dpi.nsw.gov.au)
Solutions To Improve Water Quality Related Problems