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Water Snippets

Water Quantity Snippets

  • In 1904 Typhoid Marry was an Irish Immigrant who was the first known healthy carrier of Typhoid fever in the USA.
  • About two thirds of the human body is water. Some parts of the body contain more water than others, for example 70% of your skin is water.
  • You can survive about a month without food, but only 5 to 7 days without water.
  • For every cup of hydrating fluid, which includes tea, coffee and cold drinks, you loose approximately 2 cups of water, which needs to be replaced to ensure good hydration. Therefore water should be the fluid of choice.
  • Of all the worlds’ water, 97% is salt water found in oceans and seas.
  • In order to burn 100 g of fat you require the presence of 107 g of water.
  • You can refill a 250 ml glass of water approximately 15 000 times for the same cost as a six-pack of cold drink or beer.
  • A dairy cow must drink 4 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk.
  • Parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per litre (mg/l) equals:
  • • One Minute in two years * One cent in R10 000.00
  • 20 kg of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is equivalent to the allowed airport luggage.
  • Approximately 99% of calcium exists in the bones and teeth.
  • Water is also the best liquid to quench a thirst. Adult water requirements are approximately 1 ml/kcal: e.g. a 70 kg man would require approximately 1.75 litres of water daily.
  • Your bones are like a bank, you can deposit calcium until around the age of 30, and then for the rest of your life you have to withdraw the calcium that you have “saved”.
  • Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body; it makes up about 1.5% to 2% of the body weight and 39% of the total body minerals.
  • In rural Africa 19% of woman spend more than an hour on each trip to fetch water. An exhausting and often dangerous chore that robs them of the chance to work and learn.
  • Loss of 20% of body water may cause death; loss of only 10% causes severe disorders.
  • The fluoride in your drinking water is adequate (0.2 mg/l) and in most circumstances the food that we eat contributes to your fluoride intake.

Water Quality Snippets

  • Water supply, water purification, climate regulation, flood regulation, coastal protection, recreational opportunities are all performed by wetlands.
  • Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount towards the total calcium and magnesium of the dietary needs of a human.
  • No metabolic, physiological or biochemical reaction can take place in the body without the presence of water.
  • The white deposit in your kettle, on shower heads and shower doors is a mineral deposit. When water is heated, calcium and magnesium tend to settle out of the water, causing scale to form on kettle elements and in pipes. This scale forms a protective layer, thereby preventing corrosion.
  • Acid rain is a term used to describe rain that has a lower pH than that of normal rain.
  • The intensity of the exercise leads to a rise in body temperature - not the lack of water.
  • You can get Typhoid if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S.typhi or if sewage contaminated with S.typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food.
  • Without water you would feel tired more easily, suffer muscle cramps, and be unable to think straight (which is a major factor to be considered in school going children). You may get a headache and your kidneys could become overworked due to having to concentrate large amounts of waste in a small volume of fluid.
  • Water maintains the correct levels of body fluids.
  • Dehydration in pregnant women can be very serious. Hormones change the way women store water during pregnancy, so they begin to retain water (which needs replenishment), and drinking plenty of water assists this process.
  • The benefits of drinking water during pregnancy include healthier skin, less acne, washing away of unnecessary sodium, less chance for pre-term labour or miscarriage and better bowel movements.
  • Water is useful to rinse out the mouth after eating to prevent the formation of dental cavities and bad breath.
  • The muddy appearance of water after a pipe burst could be due to sand that entered the pipeline supplying your home during repairs or maintenance operations.
  • A harmless substance called geosmin usually causes an earthy or musty taste or odour. Algae (tiny water plants) in rivers and dams produce this at certain times of the year (usually summer months).
  • Home treatment devices are not needed to make the water safe if it meets drinking water specifications. In fact if the devices are not properly maintained, they actually promote water quality and health problems. You only need to consider buying the home treatment device if you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to components in drinking water or if the taste is very important to you.
  • Why is my drinking water Milky or White in colour?
    Answer: Stand a glass of the water on a surface and watch it closely. If the white colour clears from the bottom up, very small bubbles of air cause it. The air is usually dissolved in the water under high pressure but when you open the tap, the pressure releases the air bubbles to the surface.
When it comes to drinking water Rand Water ensures sparkling clear water at an affordable cost.


Bacteria: Unicellular microbes (very small living cells) which utilise simple nutrients to grow and multiply. There are various ways of classifying them. They can be divided into:

  • aerobic bacteria, which need oxygen to grow, and
  • anaerobic bacteria, which can grow and divide in the absence of oxygen.

They can also be divided into pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria and non-pathogenic (non-disease causing or friendly) bacteria.

Bacterium: Singular of the plural bacteria.

Indicator organisms: These are microbes, which are found in large numbers in faeces. Testing for the presence of these organisms gives an indication of faecal pollution, and the possible presence of pathogens associated to faecal matter.

Contamination: The entry of undesirable organisms into some material or object.

Close contacts: Individuals with which the individual comes into the close vicinity of, e.g. members of the same household or office environment, school class, etc.

Dehydration: The removal of water.

Diarrhoea: Watery stools (faeces).

Dysentery: Diarrhoea with blood and mucus present.

Faecal material: Solid, usually brownish coloured waste matter (excreta) produced during defecation, and consists largely of undigested cellulose and food residues, as well as bacteria.

Faecal Oral route: The most common route of transmission of gastrointestinal disease where the disease-causing organism is excreted in the faeces and faecal matter containing the causative organisms finds its way to the mouth or the same or another individual either, e.g. via contamination of the water or food by the faecal matter.

Immune system: cells and organs within a living animal/human being that protect against specific diseases.

Incubation period: The time lapse between the exposure to an infection and the appearance of disease symptoms, or the time period during which microorganisms inoculated into a medium are allowed to grow.

Ingestion: The intake of food or water.

Parasite: An organism that lives in or on another organism and derives nourishment from it.

Pathogen: Disease causing microorganism.

Viruses: Non-cellular infectious agents that pass through filters and prevent the passage of bacteria.


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Chin, J (Ed)(2000). Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 17th edition, American Public Health Association, Washington DC, pp624.

DWAF, DOH & WRC (2002). Quality of Domestic Water supplies, vol. 5, Management Guide. Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Department of Health, Water Research Commission, Pretoria.

Kemster, PL, Kuhn, AL, Van Niekerk, H, Jagals.P & Venter, SN (2002). The role of water in transmission of microbiological diseases-A management perspective. Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), 19-23 May 2002, Durban, South Africa.

Levy, SB (1994). The antibiotic paradox. How miracle drugs are destroying the miracle. Plenum press, New York.

MacKenzie, WR, Hoxie, NJ,Proctor, ME, Gradus, MS, Blair, KA, Peterson, DE,
Kazmierczak, JJ, Addis, DG, Fox, KR, Rose, JB & Davis, JP (1994). A massive outbreak in Milwaukee of Cryptosporidium infection transmitted through the public water supply. New Engl. J. Med. 331:161-167.

Scheld, WM, Armstrong, D, & Hughes, JM (Ed) (1998). Emerging infections. ASM Press, Washington DC., PP277.

DWAF & WRC (2001). Management of Water-related Microbial Diseases., Vol. 5, Management Guide. Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Department of Health, Water Research Commission, Pretoria.

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