Water quality is the most essential thing for any human. A person and a society cannot prosper without nutritious and clean drinking water. The discussion of clean drinking water and where to find it in the United States is nowhere more apparent than in our desert environments. The American desert landscape was once empty space and only lighted populated by people. However, as the American population has grown and more people migrate to the Southwest, our lightly populated desert sprawls have morphed into densely populated urban landscapes.
This increase in population density means more strain on the desert water supply as well as more construction to lower the quality of already subpar desert water. State and local governments could do more to improve their water treatment processes, but in the absence of action by city officials, the responsibility of obtaining high-quality drinking water falls on homeowners and residential water treatment experts.
For many homeowners, filtered water feels more like a luxury; however, as demand for water increases in desert urban centers it will become more of a necessity. A smaller water supply means we will need to waste less water while ensuring the water we are drinking is giving our bodies what it needs. It is important for desert homeowners and residential water treatment experts to understand the importance of improving residential drinking water if they plan to live in the Southwest long term. A high-quality water filtration system is an important feature of any desert home.
Hard Climate Leads to Hard Water
It is important to note that compared to the rest of the United States, desert cities such as Phoenix or Las Vegas, do not have spring water or fresh streams that many states in greener parts of the country rely on. This water is softer than the water desert residents get. For example, Central Arizona where Phoenix is located gets most of its water from the Colorado River, the Salt and Verde River systems and from groundwater.
Desert water travels through all kinds of rocks and minerals, and by the time it gets to the reservoirs, it is contaminated with dirt and rust which leads to unbalanced water. It is easy to see how much harder desert water is to bottled water by comparing the Total Dissolved Solids. The TDS level of bottled water is 50 to 100 ppm while Phoenix tap water registered between 360 to 766 ppm, according to the City of Phoenix Water Service Department’s Water Quality Report.
The tap water is not undrinkable but drinking tap water long term with things such as mercury, copper, and arsenic in the water supply is not an ideal way to hydrate our bodies. Plus, we cannot rest on the idea that just because tap water is potable now means it will be more potable as our desert population grows and infrastructure demands are harder to meet. The current municipal water treatment systems consist of disinfecting with chlorine and delivering it to consumers. This tap water often feels closer to pool water than drinking water.
The hard consistency of desert water is not just a problem for bodies but also the infrastructure of homes. Extended exposure to hard water will ruin a home plumbing system by eating away at your pipes, faucets, and basic filtration systems. A basic filtration system in Phoenix only lasts for a year because it does not adequately filter hard water.
Desert water quality is consistently surprising to new residents who are increasing in numbers yearly. Many Americans are not used to living in a state with such hard water.
New Construction Accelerates Poor Water Quality
The Southwest is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. Las Vegas and Phoenix remain popular migration destinations and are consistently in the top 10 places to move in surveys conducted by real estate companies, such as RedFin. Increased interest in moving to those areas means new homes and commercial construction are being built. A record 29% of homes for sale in the Phoenix metro area were new construction, according to AZ Big Media.
People need a place to live, and new homes are a good thing, but it is important to understand that construction diminishes water quality. New construction means a new home attached to the main water line which means more rust and more chemicals entering the water supply during the process of building a new home. Grading and demolition create pollutants that enter our water source and stormwater, and flash floods can wash over a construction site.
There is not much an individual homeowner can or should do to stop the construction of new homes but knowing that new homes can lead to polluted water is information homeowners can use to push themselves toward a robust full-house filtration system.
Water Treatment Professionals Encourage In-house Filtration Systems
The complex issues of desert water supplies and how we will maintain them is too complicated a question for homeowners or residential water treatment experts to tackle. However, water treatment experts can educate their clients on the importance of investing in a quality water filtration system and educate them on where to find information on the quality of desert water.
We cannot control the water supply, but we can ensure the water we drink at home is of the highest quality. Preferably homeowners would install a five-stage reverse osmosis water filtration system, which would ensure better quality drinking water that is soft and easy on your plumbing. A whole house system provides high-quality water without the long-term cost and disposal of bottled water. However, if you are unable to afford a robust water filtration system you must filter your water in any way you can. A simple countertop water filter is better than no filter at all. As water supplies are harder to maintain it is imperative that homeowners take filtering their water seriously. It is not a luxury but a necessity.
Constantin Geambasu is the owner of Water Rehab in Phoenix Arizona. The company's team of water treatment specialists are experts in the installation and repair of water purification systems as well as experts in emergency plumbing. Geambasu has over 25 years of experience in the plumbing industry learning his craft in Romania before immigrating to Arizona. Geambasu and his family are proud to provide the residents of Phoenix with water treatment services.