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Frequently asked questions on the use of water


1.What do we use water for?

Every day we use large quantities of water for many different purposes: we use water to drink, wash dishes, take a shower, to flush, to prepare dinner and for many other purposes. But water is used not only in domestic use: humans also use it in industries and agriculture. In agriculture, water is mainly used to irrigate crops, but in industries it is used for many different uses. It can serve as an ingredient for the realization of a product, but it can also be a part of the entire production process. Water can be used to cool substances in the production process, for transportation and conditioning of raw materials, for boiling or cooking, for flow, as an agent for cleaning and for transporting the product by means of boats. 

2.How much water does a person consume every day?

Americans consume about 168 liters of water per person per day, the Dutch about 135 liters. It is used for different purposes. This pie chart shows the uses that are made of water:

3.How long can water be stored?

If stored correctly in 3 or 5 liters containers, water can be stored for about two years. Smaller containers, from 1 to 2.5 liters are made with thinner plastic and can be stored for about six months. They can not be stored for longer, because they are very susceptible to the penetration of odors.

4.How should water be stored?

Particular attention should be paid to how water is stored: it should be stored in a cold, dark and dry place away from cleaning agents and other chemicals. Water can take odors from substances that can not be detected in the air, so you should always pay attention to the properties of other substances that are stored with it.

5.Why does tap water often know about chlorine?

Drinking water must be protected from micro-organisms and pollutants that can enter it through the pipelines that transport it to their homes. This is accomplished by disinfection with various agents, including the most widely used chlorine: it is a very effective disinfectant, used to kill all the harmful bacteria that may be present in the water source. The amount of chlorine used is based on the amount of water that is treated, on the amount of pollutants that must be controlled and on the amount of time the water takes to reach the first house. Chlorine levels are usually low, but in some rural areas the dangers to drinking water are greater and the chlorine levels used are somewhat higher. People can feel its presence in tap water. When tap water tastes like chlorine, it does not mean it’s dangerous to drink it. Chlorine levels used in drinking water are not high enough to pose a serious health threat.  If the water tastes of chlorine, it may mean that the system has not been added enough chlorine: increasing the amount of chlorine used in the treatment plant, different forms of chlorine are in fact generated in the water, reducing the odor of chlorine.


For water terminology, go to our water glossary or return to the FAQ summary.

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