Embracing Water Sustainability and Quality for a Healthier Future

Published by firstgreen on


Water is an essential element of life, playing a crucial role in our overall well-being. In the built environment, ensuring water quality and promoting efficient water use are vital for occupant health and environmental sustainability. This article explores the key aspects of water management in buildings, including water quality standards, treatment, drinking water promotion, and water use reduction.

Water Quality Standards

Water quality standards are essential in ensuring that water used in buildings is safe for consumption and other purposes. Standards such as the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality outline the acceptable levels of contaminants, such as bacteria, chemicals, and heavy metals. Regular water quality testing and adherence to these guidelines are crucial in safeguarding the health of occupants.

Water Treatment

Effective water treatment is vital in removing impurities and maintaining water quality. Common water treatment methods in buildings include:

  1. Filtration: Physical filters, such as activated carbon and reverse osmosis systems, remove contaminants and impurities.
  2. Disinfection: Ultraviolet (UV) light, chlorination, and ozonation are commonly used to neutralize or eliminate harmful microorganisms.
  3. Softening: Water softening systems reduce the hardness of water by removing excess minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Drinking Water Promotion

Promoting access to clean and safe drinking water in buildings contributes to the well-being of occupants. Some strategies to encourage drinking water consumption include:

  1. Providing accessible water dispensers or drinking fountains throughout the building.
  2. Offering reusable water bottles or cups to minimize single-use plastics.
  3. Displaying signage and educational materials on the importance of hydration.

Water Use Reduction

Water use reduction strategies not only lower utility costs but also contribute to environmental sustainability. Some effective water-saving practices include:

  1. Installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances, such as low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads.
  2. Implementing a rainwater harvesting system for irrigation or toilet flushing.
  3. Regularly monitoring and repairing leaks in plumbing systems to minimize water waste.

Water quality standards

ParameterInternational (WHO Guidelines)National Building Code of India (NBC)
pH6.5 – 8.56.5 – 8.5
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)< 1000 mg/L< 2000 mg/L
Turbidity< 5 NTU< 10 NTU
Chloride (Cl)< 250 mg/L< 1000 mg/L
Sulphate (SO4)< 250 mg/L< 400 mg/L
Calcium (Ca)< 100 mg/L< 200 mg/L
Magnesium (Mg)< 50 mg/L< 100 mg/L
Sodium (Na)< 200 mg/L< 200 mg/L
Potassium (K)Not specified< 12 mg/L
Nitrate (NO3)< 50 mg/L< 45 mg/L
Fluoride (F)< 1.5 mg/L< 1.0 mg/L
Iron (Fe)< 0.3 mg/L< 0.3 mg/L
Manganese (Mn)< 0.1 mg/L< 0.1 mg/L
Copper (Cu)< 2 mg/L< 1.5 mg/L
Zinc (Zn)< 3 mg/L< 5 mg/L
Lead (Pb)< 0.01 mg/L< 0.05 mg/L
Cadmium (Cd)< 0.003 mg/L< 0.01 mg/L
Chromium (Cr)< 0.05 mg/L< 0.05 mg/L
Nickel (Ni)< 0.02 mg/LNot specified
Mercury (Hg)< 0.001 mg/L< 0.001 mg/L
Total Coliform Bacteria0 CFU/100 mL (absent)0 CFU/100 mL (absent)
Faecal Coliform Bacteria0 CFU/100 mL (absent)0 CFU/100 mL (absent)
Escherichia coli (E. coli)0 CFU/100 mL (absent)0 CFU/100 mL (absent)

By focusing on water quality standards, treatment, drinking water promotion, and water use reduction, we can create healthier and more sustainable spaces for building occupants. Prioritizing these aspects in building design and management practices will contribute to the well-being of occupants and the responsible stewardship of our most precious resource – water.