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Water use FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

The question library on water related issues

What do we use water for?

We use large amounts of water each day, as water serves many different purposes. We use water to drink, to do the dishes, to take a shower, to flush the toilet, to cook diner and for many other purposes.
But water is not only used for domestic purposes, humans also use water in the industries and in agriculture. In agriculture water is mainly used to water crops, but in the industries it serves many different purposes. It can serve as an ingredient of a product we produce, but it can also be a part of the whole 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 flushing, as a cleaning agent and for product transport by shipping.

How much water does a person use each day?

Americans use an average of 168 litres a person each day. For Dutch people this is about 135 litres. This water is used for different purposes.

In this pie chart you can see, which purposes domestic water serves:

If we take into account the water that is used by industries, businesses and institutions an American uses an average of 650 gallons each day.

How long can water be stored?

If stored properly, water in 3-litre and 5-litre containers can be stored for approximately two years. Smaller containers of 1 litre up to 2.5 litres of water are made with a thinner grade of plastic and can be stored for approximately six months. They cannot be stored as long, because they are very susceptive to penetrating odours.

How should water be stored?

One should pay special attention to how water is stored. Water should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place and it should be stored away from cleaning supplies and other chemicals. Water can pick up odours from other substances that we cannot detect in the air, so one should always pay attention to the properties of other substances that are stored with the water.

Why does tap water often smell like chlorine?

Drinking water has to be protected from microrganisms and contaminants that can enter the water through the pipelines that transport it to households. This happens by means of disinfection with various disinfection agents, chlorine being the most widely used one. Chlorine is a very effective disinfectant, which is used to kill any harmful bacteria that might be present in the water source. The amount of chlorine that is used is based on the amount of water that is treated, the amount of contaminants that must be controlled and the time it takes for the water to reach the first house. Chlorine levels are usually low, but in some rural areas there are more dangers to drinking water and the levels of chlorine that are used are a bit higher. People can than smell it when they tap water.
When one's tap water smells like chlorine it does not mean a danger to the people that drink it. Chlorine levels used in drinking water are not high enough to form a serious threat to anyone's health.
If the water has a chlorine smell, it may actually indicate that not enough chlorine is being added to the system. By increasing the amount of chlorine used at the treatment plant, different forms of chlorine are created in the water, which diminish chlorine odours.

For water terminology check out our Water Glossary or go back to water FAQ overview

Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions

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