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Water glossary



Water makes up about 60 perent of the adult body's weight, and the amount and type of water we drink may have positive or negative health effects.

So what is the difference between natural water and spring water, purified water and well water or soft and hard? The following should help clear things up a little.

  • Artesian water: water drawn from a well that taps a confined aquifer in which the water is under pressure
  • Bottled water: drinking water sold in bottles
  • Carbonated water: water that contains carbon dioxide gas, either naturally occurring or added, that causes bubbles to form in it; also called bubbling or sparkling water. Seltzer, soda, and tonic waters are legally soft drinks and are not regulated as water.
  • Distilled water: water that has been vaporized and recondensed, leaving it free of dissolved minerals.
  • Filtered water: water treated by filtration, usually through activated carbon filters that reduce the lead in tap water, or by reverse osmosis units that force pressurized water across a membrane removing lead, arsenic, and some microorganisms from tap water.
  • Hard water: water with a high calcium and magnesium content.
  • Mineral water: water from a spring or well that typically contains 250 to 500 parts per million (ppm) or minerals. Minerals give water a distinctive flavor. Many mineral waters are high in sodium.
  • Natural water: water obtained from a spring or well that is certified to be safe and sanitary. The mineral content may not be changed, but the water may be treated in other ways such as with ozone or by filtration.
  • Public water: water from a municipal or county water system that has been treated and disinfected.
  • Purified water: water that has been treated by distillation or other physical or chemical processes that remove dissolved solids. Because purified water contains no minerals or contaminants, it is useful for medical and research purposes.
  • Soft water: water with a high sodium or potassium content.
  • Spring water: water originating from be an underground spring or well. It may bubbly (carbonated), or "flat" or "still", meaning not carbonated. Brand names such as "Spring Pure" do not necessarily mean that the water comes from a spring.
  • Well water: water drawn from ground water by tapping into an aquifer.

For more information: Water: How much should you drink everyday? and Water and health


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  • Angela 5 years ago

    Correction: soft water is not high in sodium or potassium. Soft water is water without minerals.