Where does drinking water come from? We learn from a young age that we should not drink water from oceans, lakes or rivers as they are not safe and that we should drink water from a drinking water tap or supply. So, where does our drinking water come from and what happens to make it safe?

We start with raw water – that’s what we call water that has yet to be treated. Raw water mainly occurs as rain and is then extracted from different water sources. When it rains an intensive exchange of substances takes place as the water hits the ground, so when extracting water from wells or collecting from lakes and reservoirs there are natural impurities present, such as iron and magnesium compounds, salts, solids or even silica.

Depending on the nature and composition of the earth, the water releases the substances from it and absorbs them – healthy as well as harmful. That could be; Natural minerals from rock, fertilizers and pesticides (used in agriculture), mineral oils and even nitrates.


Rainwater is drinkable; however, the water condensed into rain absorbs pollutants on the way back to earth: particulate matter, exhaust gases and bacteria, for example. Once on the roof of a house and in the gutter, there are other unappetising substances flowing too, which we would absorb directly if we consumed it without any treatment or filtering.

Rain however is the biggest contributor when it comes to drinking water production as it is the start of the cycle. Natural filtration happens when the rain passes through different layers in the earth and then the water is collected for extraction.


Nitrates found in water are increasing, this is due to fertilisers and pesticides that are used in farming and agriculture. Which means that most raw water resources can still be used for drinking water, but they must undergo specific treatments in order to be used.

That said, our groundwater levels are falling. After all, it is not only private households that use drinking water derived from groundwater, but also industry, agriculture and the production of electricity. The fact is households only make up 30% of used drinking water that is produced.

Another factor is climate change. Our seasons are changing and rainwater levels each year are never dependable to produce the water needed for production.

Nevertheless, everyone should remind themselves once again that when it comes to water, nothing is taken for granted.


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