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The water that is fit for drinking is called potable water.
\(1\) to \(2\) grams of dissolved salts, mostly common salt \(NaCl\), are present in every litre of drinkable water. Small amounts of calcium (\(Ca\)), magnesium (\(Mg\)), potassium (\(K\)), copper (\(Cu\)) and zinc (\(Zn\)) are present in addition to common salt. Water has a unique taste due to the minerals it contains. These minerals are also beneficial to our bodies’ metabolism. Dissolved gases are also present in potable water.
Have you ever had a taste of seawater? What would be your first reaction?
You would probably feel like vomiting. There is a lot of salt in the water, which makes you feel nauseous. There are \(35\) grams of dissolved salts in every litre of saltwater, the most common of which is sodium chloride (\(NaCl\)). Such water is also called saline water. It is said to be non-potable water because it is not suitable for drinking.
Characteristics of potable water:
  • Colourless and odourless
  • Transparent
  • It should be free of bacteria, viruses and protozoa
  • Impurities such as suspended solids should be absent
  • It should have some minerals and salts that our body need and some dissolved gases to add a taste to it.