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Water Our Lifeline

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Water: An Introduction

There are certain components of earth that have their own specific role in this world. Most of these components are used by humans to keep themselves healthy and sane. For instance, we can take oxygen. Homo sapiens and other mammals cannot live without oxygen. Likewise, there is another substance, which is not only precious to everyone but also necessary for everyone. That component, as we read, is water.

Water is deemed as the most vital substance, which is required for all living forms. As water contains oxygen, it carries nutrients to cells of the body. Let us learn more about water in the article.

Water and its Structure

Water is a colourless, odourless substance, which is the main constituent of the earth’s hydrosphere. It has the ability to dissolve any substance and is a solvent. Although water is colourless, it appears to be blue because of the scattering of light. The main molecules of water are hydrogen and oxygen and its structure is H2O (2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen). Even though the structure is simple, its chemical and physical properties are complicated, and not easily understandable.

Water helps living organisms in both ways. One, as a living habitat for aquatic mammals and two, as hydrating plants and animals on the land. Water can also provide food and a home for marine animals, whereas, it can also provide water for living organisms on land, through rain, as water evaporates, travels through the atmosphere from the oceans, and pours as rain on the land. From this, we can understand how essential water is for our life.


Water that is used or contaminated by various substances is termed as waste water. By substances it means human waste, chemical compounds, scraps, garbage, oil, and other non-hygienic substances. It has been hazardous to the health of all living organisms, especially for the people who live near the gutter or contaminated areas. People with limited supply of fresh water suffer the most.

Usage of wastewater is deemed unhealthy as it contains chemical compounds like nitrogen and phosphorus. The wastewater is mostly generated from domestic places like homes and from industrial places like factories and construction sites. The waste sometimes is not cleaned thoroughly and is dumped in vast water bodies like rivers and lakes. This causes harm to the fish and also to the people who live beside these water bodies.

Due to the chemical compounds in wastewater, when mixed with oxygen, lead to the release of hazardous gases in the atmosphere. These phenomena cause various health problems and limit the usage of river and lake water.

Components of Wastewater

A component of wastewater includes the cleaning of sewage plants by several methods. These components associated with sewage treatment plants remove harmful and contaminated substances from the wastewater before releasing them. The major components include:

  • Grit chamber

  • Comminutors

  • Bar screens

  • Pre-aeration tank

  • Biological filters

  • Primary setting tank

  • Secondary settling tank

  • Aeration tank, etc.

Wastewater From Kitchen

The wastewater from kitchen is called Sullage. They are mostly liquid wastes from the basin of the kitchen, and from the bathrooms. Kitchen water is generated without human waste contamination, so it is known as sullage waste. This water consists mostly of the waste from food, the excess liquid that was used for cooking, wastes from washing used dishes, etc.

Kitchen water is different from normally occurring sewage water because kitchen water can be reused. They can be recycled and used to water plants as plants do not require clean water like us. They can also be used to dump water in toilets for flushing. There is a vast difference between sewage and sullage water and one needs to understand it better in order to keep our environment clean.

Difference Between Sewage and Sullage



Sewage water includes wastes like human waste, industrial waste, and chemical waste.

Sullage water consists of waste from the kitchen and bathrooms.

They require special treatment from the sewage treatment plants to eliminate waste.

They do not require treatment and can be used for other purposes.

Cannot be used again.

Can be used for other purposes like watering plants etc.

Contaminates water bodies like rivers and lakes.

Does not contaminate but contains germs that may be harmful to live beings.

It is not easy to clean the waste.

Not required cleaning but not recommended to use for personal reasons either.

Treatment requires pre-aeration, biological filters, etc. and other sewage treatment methods.

Treatment methods include disinfection, filtration, etc.

Interesting Facts

  • Most freshwater is available as ice.

  • Some water may have come from comets.

  • Our body consists of 70% water.

Key Features

  • Water consists of two molecules hydrogen and oxygen.

  • Water carries nutrients to cells.

  • Water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid including sulphuric acid.

  • Wastewater treatment plants cost a ton. Hence why wastewater is not treated properly.

FAQs on Water Our Lifeline

1. How healthy is drinking water for our body?

Getting enough water every day is important for our health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood changes, cause our body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones. Water also helps in keeping a normal temperature in our body, lubricating and cushioning joints, protecting spinal cords and other sensitive tissues and getting rid of wastes through urination and faeces. Our body needs water in hot weather, when we are physically active, running a fever and having diarrhoea.

2. Why does wastewater affect the environment?

Cleaning wastewater is not an easy task. In the upcoming years, there will be more or less water on earth than there is right now, which means that all of the wastewater generated from industries, homes, and farms eventually returns to the environment to be used again. So, if wastewater receives inadequate treatment, the overall quality of the world’s water supply will suffer.

Locally, the number of wastewater homes and communities produce, its characteristics and how it is handled can greatly impact residents' quality of life.

3. What are the diseases caused by wastewater?

  • Campylobacteriosis: The most common diarrheal illness in the United States. This infection is caused by the bacterium campylobacter. Its symptoms are bloody diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain, nausea and fever.

  • Cryptosporidiosis: it is caused by the parasite cryptosporidium parvum. This is the most common waterborne disease and is found in every region of the United States. Symptoms are diarrhoea, loose stools, etc.

  • Escherichia Coli Diarrhoea: This disease is caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli and can be transmitted by contaminated water or by person to person. Symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, kidney failure, etc.