Water quality improvement is a broad topic that encompasses implementing new technologies, changes in farming practices, differing water treatment methods, and even activities to capture stormwater runoff. These many types of improvements make it so difficult to give a concrete answer when asked, “What is water quality improvement?”
This article will discuss some of the basic concepts behind improving water quality. We’ll talk about what programs have been implemented in different countries or states, and we’ll also provide an overview of how these programs work.
Water Quality Improvement
Before discussing the different types of water quality improvement projects, it’s essential to understand what water quality is and why it is essential. Water quality refers to the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water. These factors must be in balance for water to be considered high-quality. Water that falls in the low-quality range may be unhealthy for aquatic organisms or humans who consume or contact this water. It may also be aesthetically undesirable.
Water quality is of the utmost importance, not only to people but also to other living organisms. Humans are responsible for impacting water quality by using pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, sewage treatment facilities, and industrial waste. Water contamination also occurs naturally through the process of erosion and runoff. A major part of improving water quality is educating the public about safe water use. This is especially important with the recent revelation that America’s tap water often contains traces of pharmaceutical drugs and other harmful chemicals. These chemicals are often found in the wastewater of factories and sewage treatment plants, which can contaminate our drinking water if not dealt with appropriately.
Tips to Keep Water Safe
1) The best way to avoid contamination is to keep contaminants out. Wash your hands before handling food and water, and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Keep pets away from drinking water sources and do not allow them access to garbage or used kitty litter, which can carry bacteria and viruses.
2) Invest in a water filter. There are various types, from those that require replacement cartridges to those that come with an installed filter. Filters should be replaced regularly to ensure maximum protection from contaminants entering the water supply. Water filters can remove chemicals such as lead and pesticides and viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts.
3) Do not drink water from a stream, lake, or river unless you know for certain that it comes from a protected source and has been tested and is safe.
4) Keep garbage and animal feed away from bodies of water as garbage can attract rodents, which sometimes carry disease.
5) Even rainwater can contain harmful chemicals such as pesticides and PCBs, so use with caution.
6) Do not add chlorine to your water supply. Chlorine can be very dangerous for animals and people and can even lead to neurological symptoms.
7) Water in swimming pools should always be filtered and chemically balanced for it to be safe for children and other vulnerable people, such as the elderly.
8) Avoid adding fish waste near the water source to increase fish populations, as this can pollute the water.
9) Avoid using pesticides near ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water as runoff can lead to deadly contaminants entering the water supply.
10) Do not use tap water for watering fish as fish can contain trace amounts of mercury.
11) Pond maintenance should include removing excess vegetation, which can filter and trap contaminants, and cleaning the pond surfaces to ensure good circulation.
12) Keep pets away from streams and other bodies of water to avoid contamination of the water supply.
13) If using irrigation systems, provide enough water for any runoff that may occur.
Why Is Freshwater Quality Degrading Over Time?
Species introduction, pollution due to over-fertilization, and poor agricultural practices have altered the natural ecological balance in lakes and wetlands, causing a decline in water quality. Today a large part of the world’s freshwater supply is threatened by contamination from pesticides or other chemicals. This is a threat to the health of animals (including humans) that drink or swim in these waters.
Over-fertilization, which is the addition of excessive amounts of nutrients to water through agricultural runoff, has led to an increase in algal growth and the development of eutrophic lakes. Eutrophic lakes, also known as “hypereutrophic lakes,” are lakes that have high levels of nutrients in them. These nutrients cause an overgrowth of phytoplankton (microscopic algae), which can sometimes reach densities so high that they can be seen with the naked eye.
The high levels of phytoplankton fed by water enriched with nutrients can cause blooms to form. When these blooms form, the lake changes from its natural state to very productive and colorful. The loss of natural underwater vegetation due to the overabundance of phytoplankton can cause a decrease in the diversity and abundance of fish and other aquatic organisms that rely on this underwater vegetation as a food source.
How to Test if Water Is Clean?
If you are unsure about the quality of the water, first test it. Do not assume that the water is safe to drink based on food packaging or other types of advertising. Always test for contaminants before drinking or using pool water.
The issue of declining water quality is now recognized as a problem that could negatively affect the world’s inhabitants. The speed at which it has developed requires fast action before it is too late for us. The benefits of preserving our water supply should outweigh the risks of contamination.