what is good water? Good for what?
The properties of water are so special and unusual that life depends on it. They are still being researched, since not all phenomena are sufficiently understood.
We are largely made of water and we use it for a wide variety of things: drinking, personal hygiene, washing, bathing, watering and flushing the toilet. Optimal drinking water has different properties than optimal pool water or optimal irrigation water.
Clean fresh water is scarce and becoming scarcer. On an island like Ibiza, the lack of water is particularly great. The groundwater is overexploited and salinated. In order to counteract this problem, since years a large part of the tap water is obtained through seawater desalination.
Enormous amounts of energy are used to force the water under extreme pressure through fine membranes, which only let pure water through and hold back all dissolved salts and particles.
However, the osmosis water obtained is not yet good service water. In order not to attack the pipes, it has to be mineralized again. It is blended with groundwater. This creates drinking water quality in almost all areas of Ibiza and with the exception of the months with the highest water consumption. Aqualia rightly advertises that this eliminates the need to buy drinking water in plastic bottles, eliminating transport and packaging costs and waste. In addition, the plastic bottles release unhealthy substances into the water.
Unfortunately, tap water has to be chlorinated to kill potentially harmful bacteria. However, this chlorination is also extremely unhealthy for our body... the result is no longer healthy drinking water.
Fortunately, it is technically easy to remove the chlorine and other contaminants with an activated carbon filter. Thus, the filtered tap water can be drunk with a clear conscience and is at least equivalent in quality to bottled water.
For these filters we work together with Olivia Cantons from it.matters ( 611 153 011, [email protected] ), who offers different solutions.
In order to obtain really optimal drinking water, its structure and chemical composition can be further processed using various techniques. More on that in future newsletters. A reverse osmosis system for drinking water production is therefore unnecessary and a waste of water.
Those who live in the countryside of Ibiza usually have a well and use the groundwater. Its chemical composition depends on which rock strata it previously seeped through. In general, it is richly mineralized on Ibiza and has a high degree of hardness, near the coast mostly salty, otherwise often very rich in sulfate and iron. Sometimes the burden of faecal bacteria is quite high because old domestic sewage treatment plants are leaking.
Since water is such a scarce commodity and each treatment step consumes money, energy and water, we must be careful to treat only the portion of water that we need in a better quality.
The opposite is the standard. I've seen villas where very bad, hard groundwater was first decalcified with an ion exchanger (in this way the lime-forming calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium, whereby salt is consumed and when the exchange resin is renovated, all the retained ions and salt get into the waste water).
Then all the decalcified water is sent through a reverse osmosis system and demineralized. In addition to the enormous waste of water, there is also the energy consumption and running costs for the membranes. About 40% of the groundwater used then remains for use, the rest is problematic waste water!
This elaborately treated water is then used to flush the toilet and water the garden... That's completely crazy!
Responsible water management begins with the analysis: what type of water is present and in what quantity?
What water quality is needed for what?
What is the most environmentally and resource-friendly way to get there?
In future newsletters I will present alternative, environmentally friendly techniques and concepts to get to good water for each use and with minimum ecological cost.