What Is Water Quality That’s the Prime Time Debate Topic Nowadays

Water quality refers to the compatibility of water for different uses according to its physical, chemical, biological, and organoleptic properties. It is very important to understand and measure water quality as it directly affects human consumption and health, industrial and domestic use, and the natural environment. Regulations like the EU Drinking Water Directive and regulatory agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards for enforcement of water quality based on various water analysis, with local governments acting as the front-line enforcers.

Water quality is measured using lab tactics or home kits. Lab testing measures various parameters and provides the most accurate results but takes time. Home test kits, that include test strips, provide rapid results but are less accurate.

Water suppliers which include municipalities and bottled water companies often make their water quality reports available publicly on their websites. The tested water quality parameters must meet parameters set by the local governments which are often influenced by international standards set by industry or water quality organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO).

What Is Water Quality?

It is “a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics” as per the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Therefore, it is a measure of water circumstances relative to the requirement or uses of humans or even the requirements of various land or aquatic animal species.

Three types of parameters of water quality are measured that includes physical, chemical, and biological/microbiological parameters.

Physical parameters of water quality concern those that are determined by the senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch. These physical parameters combine temperature, colour, taste and odour, turbidity, and content of dissolved solids.

Chemical parameters of water quality are measures of those characteristics which represent the environment with which water has contact. These chemical parameters measure pH, hardness, amount of dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and levels of chloride, chlorine residual, sulphate, nitrogen, fluoride, iron and manganese, copper and zinc, toxic organic and inorganic substances, and radioactive substances as well.

Biological parameters of water quality are those measurements that represent the number of bacteria, algae, viruses, and protozoa that are present in water.

Water quality is influenced by anthropogenic activities and natural parameters. Listed below are some of the factors which affect water quality.

  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Runoff
  • Erosion and Sedimentation

Water quality is tested in a lab or at home based on local conditions and requirements. Lab testing of water quality is based on instrumental and chemical analysis of collected water samples. Labs are able to measure different physical, chemical, and biological parameters of these samples and provide highly accurate results. Unfortunately, laboratory tests are costly and require time.

At-home water quality testing methods, like strips, color disks, and digital instruments, are used to quickly check for the presence and concentration of common water contaminants. These tests can be used as screening tools to determine whether further laboratory analysis of water quality is in order. They are used in commercial or industrial facilities for initial screening tools.