Learn About Water

What is Water?

Water is a molecule called H2O that contains two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. It’s a transparent, odorless liquid that you can find in lakes, rivers and oceans. It falls from the sky as rain or snow.

It may seem hard to swallow, but that tall glass of ice water you had with dinner last night also may have helped refresh a thirsty brontosaurus million years ago.

Contrary to popular belief, water is not a renewable resource. It is finite. The water you use today is literally the same water that existed on the planet billions of years ago. Nature recycles water. It doesn’t make new.

Where does Water come from?

Fresh water is the result of the Earth’s water or hydrologic cycle. Basically, the sun’s heat causes surface water to evaporate. It rises in the atmosphere, then cools and condenses to form clouds. When enough water vapor condenses, it falls back to the surface again as rain, sleet, or snow. The process repeats itself in a never-ending cycle.

The water we consume and use every day comes from two main sources: groundwater and surface water.

Ground Water

When rainwater or melting snow seeps into the ground, it collects in underground pockets called aquifers, which store the groundwater and form the water table, another name for the highest level of water that an aquifer can hold. Water levels can reach the water table or fall well below it depending on such factors as rainfall, drought, or the rate at which the water is being used. Groundwater usually comes from aquifers through a drilled well or natural spring.

Surface Water

Surface water flows through or collects in streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and oceans — not underground like groundwater. Surface water can be beautiful, even pristine-looking, but most of it isn’t directly fit for drinking. Over two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water and can’t be used for drinking because of its salt content. Only about 2.8 percent of it is fresh water? And, more critically, did you know that only about 0.3 percent of the earth’s total water supply is usable by humans and most of it is locked up in ice or glaciers?

In the last decade of the 20th century alone, the earth’s population increased by more than one billion people. At present rates, over the next 50 to 90 years the world’s population will more than double. The demand on water supplies is growing exponentially. Clearly, understanding and using scarce water resources wisely is vital. Our very survival as a species depends on it.

How much do you use?

Count the ways you and your family use water. Drinking. Cooking. Bathing. Doing laundry. Housecleaning. Watering the lawn. Washing the car. Giving the dog a bath. A typical person living in the Middle East uses 100 - 150 gallons of water every day. In fact, people actually drink less than 1% of the water coming into their homes. The rest goes for other purposes.

But that’s only a small part of the water usage picture. So many of the things that we take for granted, things that make our lives easier, also depend on water—vast quantities of water.

Consider that it took approximately 100,000 gallons of water to manufacture your family’s car. The newspaper that landed on your doorstep last Sunday morning soaked up 280 gallons of water just to print. And that five-pound sack of flour sitting on your kitchen shelf required 375 gallons of water to produce. In the United States, water consumption increased by more than 100 percent in the last half century. In the same period, it rose by more than 500 percent in Europe and 300 percent in Africa. Many experts predict world consumption will double by 2020.

Bahrain

Bahrain was ranked as the second country in the world to use the most water per square cm of land (disproportionally large amount of water consumption). Before 1925, water supply in Bahrain depended on natural freshwater springs, which used to flow freely in the northern part of the country. During the 1980’s, most of the springs ceased flowing and demand for water continued to increase leading to a shortage in Bahrain’s water supply.

How does it get to your home or business?

Typically, pipes bring the water supply from a facility that treats the water to your home or business. Another format to provide water specific for drinking to a home or business would be the installation of a water cooler or the delivery of bottled water.

Municipal Water

Raw and untreated water is obtained from an underground aquifer (usually through wells) or from a surface water source, such as a lake, river or sea. It is pumped, or flows, to a treatment facility. Once there, the water is pre-treated to remove debris such as leaves and silt. Then, a sequence of treatment processes — including filtration and disinfection with chemicals or physical processes — eliminates disease causing micro-organisms. When the treatment is complete, water flows out into the community through a network of pipes and pumps that are commonly referred to as the distribution system. Approximately 85% of the Bahraini population receives its water from community water systems. Community water systems are required to meet the standards set by the government.

Well Water

A well is a strategically placed access point drilled into an aquifer, combined with a pump to withdraw the water and a basic filtering or screening system. Approximately --- % of the Bahraini population relies on individually owned sources of drinking water, such as wells. Water quality from household wells is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is popular. Studies suggest that 99% of all Bahrain population drinks bottled water. As with tap water, the source of bottled water is usually a municipal water system or a natural spring, and from there it may go through additional purification. As a packaged product it is regulated but the government.

Bottled water is a strain on our environment and is a waste and we are still uncertain about the long term health effect created by plastic.

To guarantee the bottles water quality more a regulation requirement is been made up in America that require each bottled water manufacturer or distributor to annually prepare a report to be made available upon request and must include;

  • The type of water source;
  • Treatment methods used by the bottler
  • Test results for the microbiological, physical, chemical, and radiological quality of bottled water, as prescribed by federal regulations.

It also requires the following details to be displayed on each bottle's label:

  • The name and contact information of the bottled water manufacturer or distributor;
  • The type of water source
  • Instructions for obtaining the bottled water quality report.

Unless you have your own well, you likely have to pay something for the water you use. A typical Bahraini household pays about BD ____ per 1,000 gallons, or _____files per gallon. For a family of four using 400 - 500 gallons per person each day, that adds up to about BD_____ per month. This might be increased by March 1, 2016

Concerns About Water Quality

You’re not alone if you’re concerned about the water you and your family drink. In Bahrain it is not advisable to drink water from the tap, although in some Western country the water is safe to drink straight from the tap without any risk. A survey by the Water Quality Association found that three-quarters of Americans don’t believe their household water supply is as safe as it could be. Almost 50% won’t drink water straight from the tap.

Environmental problems have an enormous impact on water quality. Water runoff from industrial plants and farms, acid rain and other forms of pollution have tainted groundwater and surface water supplies in many areas of the world. Population growth, urban and suburban sprawl, and industrial and agricultural expansion continue to stress fresh water supplies.

Water contamination problems, epidemic in the developing world, also routinely occur in highly industrialized nations. In the last half dozen years, numerous cases have been recorded in the United States, affecting tens of millions of consumers in more than 1,000 communities.

Some Answers

Today governments around the globe, on every level, are investing hundreds of billions of dollars to improve infrastructure and mandate higher water quality standards.

Today Bahrain relies greatly on non-conventional sources of water. With 4 desalination plants, the total production of Desalinated and Ground water in Bahrain reaches up to 155 mn imperial gallons while the total consumption of Blended Water reaches up to 150.12 mn imperial gallons (2012).

In addition, more and more individuals are relying on modern home water treatment systems to assure an ample supply of fresh, pure water for their families at the most local of all levels—the home.