Drinking water or potable water is water of sufficiently high
quality that can be consumed or used with low risk of
immediate or long term harm. In most developed
countries, the water supplied to households, commerce
and industry is all of drinking water standard, even
though only a very small proportion is actually
consumed or used in food preparation. Typical uses
include washing or landscape irrigation.
Over large parts of the world, humans have inadequate
access to potable water and use sources contaminated
with disease vectors, pathogens or unacceptable levels
of toxins or suspended solids.
Such water is not wholesome, and drinking or using
such water in food preparation leads to widespread
acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of
death and misery in many countries. Reduction of
waterborne diseases is a major public health goal in
Water has always been an important and life-sustaining
drink to humans and is essential to the survival of
all organisms. Excluding fat, water composes
approximately 70% of the human body by mass. It is a
crucial component of metabolic processes and serves as
a solvent for many bodily solutes.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency in
risk assessment calculations assumes that the average
American adult ingests 2.0 litres per day. A daily
diet of fruits, vegetables and grains requires more
than 1,500 litres of water, as compared to 4,300
litres needed for a diet rich of animal protein.
Drinking water of a variety of qualities is bottled. Bottled water is sold for public consumption
throughout the world.