Potable or Purified: How safe is your drinking water?

Water is crucial for sustaining life. Of late, there has been a crisis for clean, drinking water, also known as potable water, in many areas of the world especially the developing countries. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that only 0.3% of water in the world is potable. This crisis is forcing people to rely on water sources that are contaminated with toxins, suspended solids, pathogens, or disease vectors, some of which can not be removed even after boiling water causing diseases.

Hence, it has become a prime goal to reduce these waterborne illnesses for the interest of public health.

So, what is potable water?

The answer is fairly simple. Water that has been cleaned, filtered, or treated to meet the standards for drinking water, reasonably clear of contaminants and harmful bacteria qualifies as potable water. However, it should have a reasonable amount of dissolved oxygen and essential minerals making its pH range from 7.5-9 (alkaline water).
Alkaline water is recommended for drinking as it does not leach minerals away from bones and teeth and is actually healthy.

Does pure water exist?

People buying bottled water are often under the impression that they are purchasing water that is pure. People considering water purification or filtration believe that they should strive for pure water in their homes. Water treatment companies also suggest that either distilled water or water from Reverse Osmosis is ‘pure’, which is not true.

So, when we talk about pure water, we must understand that it is merely a theoretical concept. This means that water has no other component in it except hydrogen and oxygen. It is scientifically impossible for pure water to exist in nature water is a “universal solvent,” and will always have some traces of the substances with which it has been in contact with.
What we term as pure water is actually purified and mineralized water obtained by treating it via. various processes.

Potable vs. pure water: Which is better?

  • Potable water can be tap water and does not have to be treated. In most developed countries like the United States, people drink water directly from taps. However, this is not possible in developing countries like India.
  • So, it is clear that water is in it’s best and healthy form when purified by way of reverse osmosis, distillation, or UV filtration.

Facts about potable water

  • Potable water is available in most of the populated areas of the world, though it may be expensive and the supply may not always be sustainable.
  • Potable water isn’t always obtained from groundwater. Though groundwater is the source of potable water for some areas in the world, many communities actually get it from surface water. This type of potable water is what collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
  • Surface water is mostly treated to remove possible contaminants and improve its taste to make it safe for drinking.
  • Potable water is much safer than bottled. Bottlers ensure that consumers are unaware if their product gets contaminated. In fact, between 1990 and 2007, this happened about 100 times, when bottled water was found contaminated.
  • When we were taught that pure water is colorless, odorless and tasteless, it was about distilled water and not potable water. Potable water tastes mildly sweet.


  • Clean water is absolutely essential for the proper functions of the body, including skin and organ functionality, immune system balance, cellular respiration and repair, waste elimination, and longevity.
  • Now that you know what pure water is and why the water that one should be consuming should potable instead of pure, make an informed choice while buying a water purifier for your family.

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