How the World’s Water Supply is Monitored

Water quality indicators definition

Maintaining water quality is important for many reasons. This is vital for drinking water as well as for water used for industrial, commercial, medical, and lab purposes. In an effort to determine water quality effort to ensure that it is safe or its quality is maintained, it needs to be regularly monitored.

On a daily basis, there are approximately two million tons of sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural waste released into the water. On a global basis, 3.1% of deaths are caused by unsafe or inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.

When inadequate sanitation conditions exist, the worldwide water supply can be contaminated. Furthermore, inadequate sanitation is considered to be one of the most prevalent types of water pollution.

Across the globe, there are 2.5 billion people living with inadequate sanitation systems. Over 70% of these individuals are living in Asian countries.

A recent study was conducted on streams in the United States. This study found that only 28% of these streams possessed healthy biological communities.

It was also found that the following assessed bodies of water were not clean enough for fishing, swimming, or other forms of recreation:

    Stream miles: 44%
    Lake areas: 64%
    Bay and estuaries: 30%

During times of rain fall, there are different absorption rates for rural and natural environments as opposed to urban environments. Rural environments experience the following absorption rates:

    Ground absorption: 50%
    Evapotranspired: 40%
    Runs off: 10%

Urban areas, or areas with impervious surface areas of 75%-to-100%, experience the following absorption rates:

    Ground absorption: 15%
    Evapotranspired: 30%
    Runs off: 55%

When monitoring water quality, there are a variety of tests that are performed. Since water is used for different purposes, there are specific quality standards for each. Conductivity and resistivity both need to be considered when monitoring water quality.

With high purity water applications, resistivity measurement is used. Conductivity measurement is used for all types of monitoring. For example, due to its 18 megohm-cm resistivity, ultra-pure water is not considered to be an effective electrical conductor.

In order to measure and monitor water quality, there are different types of testing equipment and tests that are used. Depending on the origin or location of the water being analyzed, as well as its intended purpose, one or more of the following types of tests and/or testing equipment may be used:

    Water conductivity monitor
    Water resistivity monitor
    Water resistivity meter
    Fresh water test kit
    Well water test kit

A water resistivity meter, as its name implies, takes water resistivity measurements. When referring to a water resistivity meter, there will be indicators that will point to its quality. Helpful info also found here. Read more.

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