Title: "The Water In Your Life", The Fascinating Story of the Most Important Substance on the Face of the Earth
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004217/00001
 Material Information
Title: "The Water In Your Life", The Fascinating Story of the Most Important Substance on the Face of the Earth
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Popular Library - New York By William Laas and Dr. S.S. Beicos
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - "The Water In Your Life", The Fascinating Story of the Most Important Substance on the Face of the Earth (JDV Box 43)
General Note: Box 18, Folder 5 ( Pamphlets, Books, Articles, etc - 1960s & 1970s ), Item 1
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text





William Laas Dr. S. S. Beicos


aaanas I I I -.~,-. I---,

All POPULAR LIBRARY books are carefu
elected by the POPULAR LIBRARY Editorial
and represent ties by the world's greatest a

dly se-
Board -
P -

Copyright O 1967 Morton International, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


1_~ __C ~__~_ _I _1_1____ __ ___ ___ __ _~____ 1_______ ___

__il___l_ ___T

-~-- ---*FI -----~ I_~~7--...w^~CLI --IF-- --- ---

When you turn on the faucet you expect water to
flow from it night and day, summer or winter, whether
you fill a glass or water your lawn. It should be clean
and pure without odor.
Water is truly an amazing substance, and yet it is so
common and ordinary that we seldom are really aware
of its presence, its vital role in life processes and the
importance of its unique characteristics.
The very presence of water on earthris unique, for
water is a rare substance in our planetary system. The
earth and its atmosphere are composed of a wide vari-
ety of natural solid and gaseous substances but there
are very few natural liquids.
America's water problem has erroneously been re-
ferred to as a national crisis. It is not a crisis, butit is a \
problem. Though the fact is little-known, there is as
much water available to us today as there has been in
the past. It is one of the--if not the only-natural re-
source which is genuinely self-replenishing.

The technological advances of our civilization are
causing new water problems. They, are, at the same
time, underscoring the importance of water quality and
our need for quality water is growing rapidly.
Just as water conditioning can provide the high qual-
ity water needed for space age technology, so water
conditioning can also be a major factor in removing
water contaminants produced by that technology.
Our life span is longer today than ever before, but
we are becoming aware that our entire environment-
and particularly our food and water-should be scru-
tinized and studied closely. Perhaps certain substances
should be added and others removed from the little
over a quart of water we need each day. Perhaps medi-
cal science will be able to "engineer" diseases other
than communicable diseases out of our environment.
You have lived in towns, seen or read about places
where water doesn't have these qualities. What goes on
when foreign matter enters a body of water? Where
does water originate? Why is earth unique from the
other planets of our solar system? To understand these
questions you would have to dig into large volumes of
printed-matter in order to learn of the amazing proper-
ties of water. We have researched this subject and have
tried to present the information which would be enter-
taining, educational, and helpful in heightening interest
in general information about water and its uses.


If invaders from another world really are hovering
S about in those flying saucers, looking us over, the most
astonishing sight to meet their eyes-if they have eyes
-must be plain water. So commonplace on earth, so
abundant we take the oceans for granted, liquid water
is a cosmic miracle. Men from Mars might'be unable to
imagine what it is, be afraid to fouch it. In all likeli-
hood, because there is no water on Mars, there are no
men from Mars.
SAs far as the most sophisticated space probes can tell,
only one of the nine planets circling the sun enjoys the
blessing of rain. That planet is the earth. Because of
this. circumstance, life in the solar system appears to
be restricted to our lonely globe. We shall have to look
far beyond our solar system, to some other lonely
planet circling its sun-star in some distant galaxy, to
find life elsewhere in the universe. When we do, we
shall probably find water.
9 N

.~T -- ~ --

For water is life; without water there is no life as
we know it. When we talk about water, we are talking
about the most important single substance on the face
of the earth. For want of it, great civilizations'have
vanished. Empires have risen and fallen with the rise
and fall of a water table. Armies have fought over wa-
ter; religions have bathed in its mysteries; peoples have
prayed to the gods of rain. No wonder that in the
United States today the supply of water is a matter of
utmost concern.
Such concern goes back to the prehistoric age. The
need to provide water for raising food was the goad
that transformed primitive man into civilized man
9,000 years ago. What is new is a concern tinged with
alarm in a land well-watered compared to most others:
the United States. Shortages and pollution of water
are the twin problems.
Recommendations to Congress concerning water
have become a fixture in the annual State of the Un-
ion messages of recent Presidents. The 1967 message of
President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a section entitled
Water-Abundant and Pure, said this:

"As our population increases, our cities grow,
and our industry expands, water becomes an in-
creasingly precious resource. Many regions of
the country are facing critical problems of water
supply. We must thoroughly explore every
means for assuring an adequate supply of pure
water to arid areas....
Adding to our pure water supply is not enough.
The steady encroachment of pollution continues,
throughout America's rivers, lakes,, and coastal
waters. During the last year and a half, we have
acquired important means for resisting its prog-
ress. ...


These actions recognize that polluted waters are
not a problem of individual cities, or counties, or
states. Each *ater pollution problem is as broad
and as long as the watershed it affects. To win the
battle against pollution, we must concentrate our
effort on entire river basins. ..."

S The President recommended establishment of a
national water commission to correlate the massive
effort of a patchwork of agencies-federal, state, and
local. As an example of the size of this effort, the U. S.
Geological Survey. alone publishes 10,000 pages of
data on water problems every year-and it is only one
of many government offices concerned with quench-
ing our thirst.
This book is about water in America, the water in
your life. When our nation was founded, the-pioneers
from Europe found themselves in a land of lush forests,
green hills, and clear flowing rivers. They accepted.
the water all around them as a gift from God, a birth-
right to be squandered as they pleased. If it ever
stopped flowing, they had simply to move on like the
Indians. But there came a time when all the best land
was occupied and they could move no further. Today
we face a shortage of good water in the midst of
Americans cherish their freedom, so it comes as a
shock to many that water no longer can be considered
free for the taking or using. In arid regions of the
West, where every drop of water is scarce and pre-
cious, no one needs convincing that the supply must be
managed and conserved. But where water has been
plentiful for 300 years, as in the humid Northeast or
around the Great Lakes, the droughts and man-made
.shortages of the Fifties and Sixties struck people as a
disaster. It was hard to believe that New York City,

: ;---a------- -- ---------?-. _I-,~5------~-s-.- .I-

2 Ti7E WAT9x 01 YOUR tuFE
having reached out hundreds of miles with the na-
tion's most elaborate mountain water system, found it
necessary to post signs in washrooms reading: "Don't
Flush for Everything!"
What went wrong? Confident of unending supplies
from nature's rain and snow and mighty rivers, men
wasted water and polluted it. They increased their wa-
ter use per person and multiplied the number of people
using it. Modem industries developed an unquencha-
ble thirst. America, which in 1900 consumed less than-
five gallons per person per day, today consumes 50 gal-
lons per person with three times the population-which
becomes 150 gallons a day with municipal water serv-
ice, and up to 2,000 gallons with irrigation of faris
and creation of the products of industry.
The first idea to grasp is the sheer size of the water
problem. Ainerians use, all told, 370 biUioi gallons of
fresh water a day. This is expected to double in the next
twtO decade-s One trilo gallons (1,000,000,000,000) is
the stupendous quantity that some official forecasters
predict the United States will consume each day by
the year 2000.
Where will it all come from? The second fact to
grasp is that most of the water we use is a manufac-
tured product. When we think of water shortages we
think first of drought, that somehow nature has failed
us. We should realize instead that when man takes
over the land, when he populates it and seeks to con-
trol the natural order of things, then he, not nature, be-
comes responsible.
Nature has not failed us. Exactly the same amount
of water exists on earth as ever did; it rains just as
much, and the rivers flow as they have for untold
eons. Unfortunately, it does not always rain and the
rivers do not always flow at full crest precisely in those


If invaders from another world really are hovering
S about in those flying saucers, looking us over, the most
astonishing sight to meet their eyes-if they have eyes
-must be plain water. So commonplace on earth, so
abundant we take the oceans for granted, liquid water
is a cosmic miracle. Men from Mars might be unable to
imagine what it is, be afraid to touch it. In all likeli-
hood, because there is no water on Mars, there are no
men from Mars.
As far as the most sophisticated space probes can tell,
only one of the nine planets circling the sun enjoys the
blessing of rain. That planet is the earth. Because of
this, circumstance, life in the solar system appears to
be restricted to our lonely globe. We shall have to look
far beyond our solar system, to some other lonely
planet circling its sun-star in some distant galaxy, to
find life elsewhere in the universe. When we do, we
shall probably find water.

- --*--`


ter contains the two elements in approximately 33 dif-
ferent combinations known as isotopes and ions. (The
most famous water isotope is deuterium, extracted as
"heavy water" without changing the rest of the liquid,
and a key to -creating atomic energy.) Further-
more, water dissolves almost anything it touches. When
you sip a glass of water, you are sipping, among many
other things, a few invisible molecules of glass.
It is possible, though not probable, that pure H20
occurs momentarily high in the atmosphere, when wa-
ter vapor first condenses into droplets to form a croud.
However, no one has-ever been up that high with the
proper equipment to find out. The water droplets in-
stantly begin to pick up carbon dioxide, dust, micro-
organisms, anything floating in the air. By the time
they reach the ground as rain, these drops of "pure"
water have become a diluted carbonic acid solution
The question of purity, therefore, is one of degree.
We are concerned here with the usefulness of our wa-
ter supplies, not with eliminating every last trace of
impurities; If your water were distilled in the labora-
tory for you, made as pure as possible within the capa-
bilities of modern science, you would not like it. Dis-
tilled water has no taste. This question of degree is a
thought to keep in mind when arguments rage and
tempers.flare over keeping water supply simon-pure.
Because water in its natural state is never 100 per cent
pure, and because the activities of man constantly con-
taminate it further, nearly all usable water in our urban
society is treated water-that is, manufactured up to
an acceptable standard of quality. The same water
may be used, returned to the land as waste water,
picked up and reused, again and again and again. Very
little water on the land is consumed, made to disappear
altogether. How to reuse water efficiently holds the


S The President recommended establishment of a
National water commission to correlate the massive
effort of a patchwork of agencies-federal, state, and
local. As an example of the size of this effort, the U. S
Geological Survey. alone publishes 10,000 pages of
data on water problems every year-and it is only one
of many government offices concerned with quench-
ing our thirst.
This book is about water in America, the water in
your life. When our nation was founded, thepioneers
from Europe found themselves in a land of lush forests,
green hills, and clear flowing rivers. They accepted.
the water all around them as a gift from God, a birth-
right to be squandered as they pleased. If it ever
stopped flowing, they had simply to move on like the
Indians. But there came a time when all the best land
was occupied and they could move no further. Today
we face a shortage of good water in the midst of
Americans cherish their freedom, so it comes as a
shock to many that water no longer can be considered
free for the taking or using. In arid regions of the
West, where every drop of water is scarce and pre-
cious, no one needs convincing that the supply must be
managed and conserved. But, where water has been
plentiful for 300 years, as in the humid Northeast or
around the Great Lakes, the droughts and man-made
s. shortages of the Fifties and Sixties struck people as a
disaster. It was hard to believe that New York City,

- r -- --- 'i7 rfC7-: -~-~---.T~srr -----~~~---~-~- -

These actions recognize that polluted waters are
not a problem of individual cities, or counties, or
states. Each water pollution problem is as broad
and as long as the watershed it affects. To win the
battle against pollution, we must concentrate our
effort on entire river basins. .. ."

~~~~~L~~~~~~ ~ r'2n-~ I_*l.i~i. C~~ii n~-i--~- 7r -- IIFIF ---l-...~--- -"-i~l.r--v'-1- 1

real answer to the problem of assuring adequate water

The Cosmic Flood

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about water is
that few people ever stop to consider how remarkable
it is. Water is everywhere. It is inside us as well as all
around us. About two-thirds of the human body con-
sists of water. The oceans cover three-fourths of the
earth's surface. All told, hydrologists estimate that,
there are 326,074,400 cubic miles of water in the world,
counting oceans, ice fields, lakes, rivers, underground
water, and humidity in the atmosphere.
That figure is too vast for the imagination to handle.
Let's see if we can make it comprehensible by consid-
ering one cubic mile.
A cubic mile of water may be visualized as a patch
of ocean one mile square and 5,280 feet deep. It con-,
tains more than a thousand billion gallons (1.1 trillion).
"This is more water than we said the United States
would need every day by the year 2000, and about
three times as much as we consume per day right now.
A cubic mile of water weighs four and a half billion
tons. It equals the entire flow of the Mississippi River
at its mouth over a weekend, for sixty-six hours at the
rate of 620,000 cubic feet per second. A cubic mile of
water would drench all of New England with an inch
of rain-a substantial downpour--or would flood the
state of Connecticut to a depth of one foot.
If only one cubic mile would do all that, you may
be thinking, and the earth contains 326 million cubic-
miles of water, why should we worry? From thinking
big, we must now switch to thinking small. Only the
tiniest fraction of that immense flood is to be found


places where men want to live in large numbers. We
build dams and aqueducts therefore, and sink deep
wells to bring us more water. If the water is not of
the proper quality for the human uses intended, we
modify it in water purification plants, ranging in mag-
nitude from the big city system to water treatment in
the home.
If we measure industries by tonnage of their prod-
ucts, providing water is by far the biggest industry in
the United States, seven times as large as all other in-
dustries put together. Measured in dollars, water sys-
tems represent an investment approximately equal to
all manufacturing combined-that is, water supply
alone accounts for half of America's total, production

How' Pure Is "Pure"?

We speak often about water purity and use the
words "abundant and pure." This could be misleading.
The crucial question is the quality of water available.
Uncontaminated sea water, for example, is of fine qual-
ity for swimming and boating but undrinkable by hu-
man beings or land animals and too heavily laden with
salt for agricultural use. Even if the water is fresh, is
it free of disease germs? Is it hard or soft? Does it con-
tain iron that will rust the sink, or minerals that will
ruin the plumbing? Does it taste good and smell good?
Will it leach out the fertility of land? Man, not nature,
holds most of the answers to these questions of proper
water quality.
Pure water does not exist in nature-if by "pure"
one means a liquid consisting of two parts hydrogen,
one part oxygen, in the classic formula of H2O. To-
day's chemistry student learns that even the purest wa-


In 4

&U &
W .t
N Ic I ;

M I I a


where it is needed, when it is needed, and in the qual-
ity required by concentrations of human population.
As the diagram on page 18 shows, 317 million cubic
miles represents the salt water of the sea, unfit to drink
except by fish or such aquatic animals as whales and
seagulls. (Even if we desalinize sea water, which is
S costly, we have to pump it uphill to the land, which
costs money, too.) Another 7 million cubic miles of
water are locked up in.never-melting polar icecaps and
glaciers. About 90 per cent of this permanent ice lies at
the more remote of the two Poles, on the Antarctic
S continent.
The total in these unavailable reservoirs adds up to
more than 99 per cent of all the water in the world. So
When we talk about water, we are concerned with the
management, distribution, and treatment of less than
one-third of one per cent. That is still a lot of water,
t about 1,046,300 cubic miles or more than one million
S trllion gallons. But the world is big, too, with a popu-
S nation in excess of three billion that is increasing every
Sday. It is obvious that we will have to'learn to use the
available water more intelligently, and that we have no
S time to waste.

How Much Water Do We "Drink"?

f It was said earlier that the average American uses
0 about 50 gallons of water a day. If he is a city dweller,
served by one of the 19,200 municipal waterworks, he
uses 150 gallons a day. Obviously he doesn't drink all of
S that. A human being survives nicely on five or six pints
S of water a day, depending on how big he is, how hard
he works, and how hot the sun is where he lives. Dying
S of thirst, even if the idea may seem far-fetched, is the
S usual dramatic way to illustrate the dangers of water
shortage. But the more practical consideration is that



the use of water increases with the advance of civiliza-
A In the home we use water for washing ourselves,
In tour homes, clothing, and dishes, for flushing away
waste, watering lawns, and so on. Still the total used
comes nowhere near the 150 gallons; it's hardly 10 per
cent of it. Where does the rest go? The answer is, into
making things. Here are a few randomexamples:
It takes 188,500 gallons of water to make one ton of
a paper. The New York Daily News uses 5,000 tons of
5} newsprint paper every weekday night-representing
al I the use of 942.5 million gallons of water.
SIIt takes 770 gallons of water to refine one barrel
of petroleum, which becomes the gasoline in your car.
|It takes another 600,000 gallons to make a ton of
^ 4 synthetic rubber such as that used in many automobile
0t tires.
SIt takes 25,000 gallons to turn out a ton of Fhe steel
of which your car is made.
ii N tIn fact, it took 10,000 gallons of water to build your
CIA car, including not only the steel, rubber, and gasoline
4 but the paint, the painting, cooling, and other processes
SIt takes 300 gallons of water to produce just one
a B loaf of bread, and 4,000 gallons to provide one pound
c s of beef. That's 4,300 gallons if all your family has for
_g Z g supper is plain roast beef sandwiches without butter,
"S o0 0 S lettuce, or relish.
S8 3 These are some of the reasons why the city dweller,
Sz g whose family may useonly 15 gallons of water a day
S ,. .'g. .. for personal purposes, needs a per capital supply of 150
q 5 x gallons a day to provide for city life. The water is hid-
g den from sight, but nevertheless being consumed in
S- _o factories, power plants, for cooling, fire fighting, laun-
Sb a e dries, car washers, swimming pools, street cleaning,
I 8 ) bakeries, and a milltitude of other services. And that is

only in the cities. When we add farming and irriga-
tion, the per capital water consumption swells to about
1,800 gallons a day. Of this amount, all but about
100 gallons go into agriculture and industry combined.
Here are the over-all totals:

(Billions of gallons per day)
Now In 1980
Public water supplies ,32 39
Industry 73 115
S Steam power plants 119 162
Agriculture 148 178

Total 372 494

In the projected figures for 1980, notice that the big-
gest, fastest increases in water use are expected in in-
dustry and the power plants that supply industry. Agri-
culture will continue to be a major user as more and
more of the dry areas of the West come under irriga-
tion. But industrial technology in America is growing
even faster.

The World-wide Search

Demand for water is so great that the search for it
and for new ways to put it to work economically have
become today's greatest single challenge to scientific
ingenuity. Today engineers are exploring remote val-
leys and deserts to dig wells, build dams, lay pipelines,
or build expensive plants for desalinizing sea water. In
the United States about $10 billion is spent annually on
water supply projects, sewage treatment systems, wa-
ter transportation, and flood control levees. Every-

-- -f---rl---l-.--- --I~---- ----

where in the world, hydrology is the science of the
hour. A $275 million government plan in 1967 for de-
veloping an economical system of converting sea water
to fresh water was but one item in a gigantic interna-
tional program.
In April, 1964, a meeting of water specialists from
60 different nations established a plan for coopera-
tive scientific attack on the problem. Under the spon-
sorship of UNESCO, it declared an International
Hydrological Decade to begin in 1965.. The problem
is so vast and so urgent that ten years allows only
minimum time to find solutions. The long-neglected
science of hydrology now has its place in the sun.
The Decade was begun by establishing a world-wide
network of stations to study and record rain, climate
conditions, ground-water levels, the behavior of
streams, the capacity of water to purify itself, and
other mysteries of the life-giving substance.
Where does this leave us? Can we sit back and say,
well, if the United States Government and the United
Nations are getting their feet wet in the water situa-
tion, there is no reason for the ordinary citizen to
concern himself. But as this book will show, water is
a problem of dealing with nature that cannot be solved
by governmental or high-level action alone. It con-
cerns us all--our personal habits, our contribution as
Aldous Huxley once said: "When a piece of work
gets done in the world, who actually does it? .. Cer-
tainly not the social environment; for a group is not
an organism, but only a blind unconscious organi-,
zation. Everything that gets done within a society is
done by individuals."
As individuals then, let us begin with the fascinat-
ing story of the place of water in the life of men.


- II

Where does water come from? This intriguing
question can only now be answered with some degree
of scientific certainty, as later chapters will show. But
man has been thinking about it, worrying about it,
for 10,000 years. You could say that his concern for
water first forced him to think in scientific terms.
He had to study the ways of nature, ascertain the facts,
and develop engineering skills. And because of the
size of water supply enterprises, he was obliged to
work in cooperation with his fellows-in other words,
to create a society. This helped mold the character of
the human race and our outlook toward the world
around us.
The oldest civilizations we know about were hy-
draulic civilizations: Through the ages people set-
tled in regions where water supply was scant, of
inferior quality, or unpredictable in behavior. The an-
cient Egyptians, for example, apparently were de-

- ~~- 7--- -- -mCI~~-C-~F~I. -- -~~--~--- 1~----~---I---- -----`~ r

scendants of a primitive African race who found them-
selves in a region gradually turning into desert.
When the rains failed throughout the once fertile
Sahara, only one major source of water remained-
the River Nile. It made the arid lands productive
when its floods moistened the parched soil and en-
riched it with deposits of silt.
People have always preferred to meet their water
troubles head-on rather than quit their homes and
migrate elsewhere. Only when supplies failed cor-,
pletely or were made useless by silting, salting, disas-
trous floods, or pollution were important settle-
ments abandoned. So the Egyptians applied their
skills and creative imagination to the problem of tam-
ing the Nile. Their ancient waterworks, some still
serviceable after thousands of years, attest to the ca-
pacity for constructive thinking and organized co-
operation which are the root sources of human prog-
Similar conditions established centers of higher cul-
ture in the alluvial lands between the Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers in what is now Iraq, home of the
Sumerian civilization; and in the area watered by
the Indus River system in the Punjab and Sind, Paki-
Fifty centuries ago the great city of Mohan-Jo-
Daro in the Indus valley enjoyed the benefit of well-
designed water supply, drainage systems, even interior
plumbing, public swimming pools and baths. Egypt
has the world's oldest known dam, built of rock
5,000 years ago to store water for drinking and ir-
rigation,' and possibly also for flood control. It
was 355 feet long and 40 feet high, but early engineers
underestimated the force of the floods, and it col-
lapsed. Jacob's Well was excavated through rock to a

depth of 105 feet, and is reported still in use. In
Babylonia, in the reign of Hammurabi, an extensive
network of irrigation canals was dug and a code of
laws established to provide for their repair.
Other old civilizations grew in deserts barren of
rivers, where water had to be collected from under-
ground moisture or diverted 'from small surface
streams to make agriculture possible. An ancient Peru-
vian culture attained its zenith, long before the
Incas, on the oases scattered along the desert Pacific
coast. In 1533 a Spanish chronicler, Pedro de Cieza de
Leon, explained the easy downfall of the powerful
Inca Empire. The civilized Peruvian Indians, used to
working in gangs on irrigation canals and dikes, obey-
ing their masters, and paying taxes, were readily sub-
missive to the rule of the tough conquistadores from
Spain. On the desert cast, where the growing of food
depended on the state-controlled irrigation systems,
they could not rebel without losing their means
of livelihood.
In contrast, the uncivilized forest tribes of Colom-
bia remained rebellious, and resisted colonizing by
the Spaniards for a long time. They depended on rain-
farming, so had never developed a centralized politi-
cal structure and were unaccustomed to working for
anyone but themselves. When harried by the in-
vaders, they escaped to the bush, cut new clearings,
and continued to raise their crops free from outside
Recent carbon-14 dating of ancient seeds and
wooden farm implements have shown that agriculture
was carried on in China and Mexico about 9,000 years
ago. In both places extreme variations in rainfall-
frequent droughts, a delayed rainy season, or catas-
trophic floods-created another kind of hydraulic

_ __~___ _1_ ~~_ ___ __ _______ 1 __ 1

civilization. Our knowledge of them is sketchy be,-
cause the written word had not yet been invented.
Chinese culture first blossomed in the Yellow
River basin and went through a series of stages, from
small-scale irrigation by local communities to the
rise of the state and finally of empire-all directly re-
lated to water. The central Mexican plateau was the
homeland of a civilization already old when the
Aztecs rose to imperial power. They had a goddess,
Chalchiuhtlicue, whose image still survives with a
headdress of sea shells and a breastplate of green stones
--symbols of water.
All over the world archeologists find remnants of
waterworks that are amazing even by present-day
standards. In the steep valleys near the ancient Inca
capital at Cuzco, Peru, sections of massive aqueducts,
50 to 70 feet high, still exist. They transported water
from a network of drainage canals, often hundreds of
miles long, in a region where it rains heavily but only
for half the year. In China, the Tukiang-yien sys-
tem, built more than 2,000 years ago, irrigated no less
than 500,000 fertile acres. It was skillfully designed
to harness the flow of the Min River, a tumultu-
ous stream from the high plateau of Tibet, where it
first enters the plain of China. A series of dams and
dikes, composed of bamboo frames weighted down
by rocks, divided the waters into many parts and
also greatly reduced the toll of life and property from
recurrent floods.
All this heroic energy was experided to provide
food. The artificial irrigation of dry lands produced
food more efficiently than lands naturally watered,
such as a rain forest or jungle. So the early farmers
found their tribe increasing in numbers. They piled
up surpluses of food to avert the calamity of loss of

-. MANKIND AN 20 27
harvests This in turn supported a large, stable popula-
tion complexly organized in what we call civiliza-
tion. But if the water failed, the culture would be
wiped out. The prehistoric civilization of the Hoho-
kaln Indians of southern Arizona vanished after the
waters of their irrigation canals became so laden with
brine that plants would not grow. The source of their
once-fresh water is now known as the Salt'River.
The peoples of Judea, Greece, and Rome built
hydraulic facilities long before the Christian era. In
about 950 B.C., King Solomon had large aqueducts con-
structed to quench the thirst of man, beast, and grain
field. The laws, religions, and social habits of men

have been influenced more by association with water
than by the land itself. In the Old Testament, Psalm
104 sings: "He sendeth the springs into the valleys
which run among the hills. They give drink to every
beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

.. ~-~~~-;~C?- ;"~L~~~--~C----~-- ~

By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their
habitation, which sing among the branches. He wa-
tereth the hills from his chambers.... He causeth
the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the
service of man. .
The -effects on social and political development
were far-reaching. Property rights were first associ-
ated with the use of water for drinking, and later for
irrigation. The Moslem religion holds free access of
water to be the right of'every community; no. True
Believer should be in want of it. The Koran says, "No
one can refuse surplus water without sinning against
Allah and against man." These precepts, born in
the arid lands of the Middle East, became the basis of
a whole body of traditions and of laws governing
the ownership, use, and protection of water supplies.
In a further stage of these civilizations, water avail-
ability created different values for land. This
promoted private ownership of the better, well-
watered lands and led to the accumulation of wealth.
When a group of communities became dependent
upon the flow of a single stream, competition among
them for water eventually created the need for a
higher authority to mediate disputes and portion out
the life-giving liquid. This happened in China dur-
ing the Chou Dynasty, beginning about 1100 B.C.
and leading to a feudal system of society.
When the waterworks increased in size and scale,
labor forces had to be mobilized en masse--and that
required a social organization with power to demand
service from the people. So feudalism was replaced by
monarchic states. As a measure of the force of this
compulsion, there are villages in underdeveloped
countries today where a single one-inch pipe would
bring in as much water as 150 women could carry even
if they worked all day at the task.


In ancient China, historians agree, 1,000 years
passed before large-scale waterworks appeared, built
during the Period of the Warring States (481-255
B.C.) which consolidated the small feudal fiefs into
larger political units. These states, in turn, were sub-
jugated to create an empire when the former peasant-
serfs were drafted to complete the Grand Canal (246
B.C.). The canal unified the country for the first
time, and the Emperor Ch'in, who accomplished it,
is memorialized to this day in the name "China."
Similarly, in Egypt, the Old Kingdom did not build
the hydraulic enterprises that archeologists unearth
today. The first recorded undertaking of this kind,
supposedly built by Joseph as an officer of a Twelfth
Dynasty Pharaoh in about 2,000 B.C., was a canal
from the Nile to the Fayum depression. Its objective
-possible only with the resources of a unified, power-
ful state-was to create a reservoir, Lake Moeris, to
control the annual floods and irrigate the lush Fayum
Government management of water led to the de-
velopment of bureaucracies, state religions, and the
dependence of the subject peoples upon the efficiency
of an increasingly complex social structure. It also
created a need for mathematics to survey the land
affected by water rights and to measure the river's
flow; for writing, to record ownership and inheritance
of property; for astronomy, to predict annual floods
or the onset of the rainy season. Thus the Egyptians
invented the 365-day calendar by relating the mo-
tions of the stars to the recurrence of Nile floods.
Until then, men saw the seasons as -haphazard or
divinely ordered changes in climate, not realizing they
followed an annual cycle. The first Egyptian priest-
hood may have been a class of scientists who acquired
this valuable knowledge of a seasonal cycle but kept

_ ^~17__1__~__ ~_1 _I~_~_~_C~_ _~ _____ ____ _____ __J_~ J~_;_XR; j~rirr_~ 1__1:__ _____~I__


it to themselves as a monopoly of the power to predict
In making possible the concentration of people in
large cities, control of nature's water by man's inge-
nuity also created the environment out of which grew
the arts and crafts, literature and music, philosophy
and science that distinguish a civilization from tribal
existence. In Moslem lands, water rights were care-
fully codified. All persons who shared rights to a
stream or canal or aqueduct were held responsible for
its maintenance and cleaning. The whole community
was responsible for the care of large streams. Clean-
ing began upstream and descended, in order, to each
waterside family. All users shared the cost in propor-
tion to the land area they irrigated.
Even marriage might be influenced by thirst. In
one rural community in southeast Asia today, the in-
habitants must walk nine miles to the nearest potable
wells. Women fetch the water-but because of the
distance, one wife can carry her bucket only one
round trip a day. So a man finds it desirable to have
several wives.
The effect of water pollution on health was one
of the first true medical discoveries: Hippocrates
warned his fellow Greeks to filter and boil water be-
fore drinking it. He did not know, of course, that
the bacteria in polluted water caused the illness, but
he saw the correlation of drinking this water and
then becoming ill. Ancient incantations or water-
purifying ceremonies in many traditions attest to the
fact that the people knew good water from bad. The
Romans, who built aqueducts so grandiose and well-
engineered that three of them continue to supply the
city of Rome to this day, used their poorer water in
their decorative fountains and on their farms.

The other side of the coin in this epic story of
man's struggles to provide water is his capacity for
destruction. Wars, barbarism, and stupidity caused
the breakdown of many ancient hydraulic works,
rather than any failure on the part of nature. Deserts
of today in parts of Africa, Arabia, Israel, Persia, Peru,
and elsewhere keep revealing to diggers that not far
below the sands lie tunnels, sumps, wells, and otlier
evidences of a once-flourishing system of irrigation.
The destruction of the society that maintained these
systems-not the disappearance of the water source-
caused them to fall into disrepair and eventually to be
swallowed by the desert. The water is still there in
many cases. Modern hydrologists, notably in the
Negev desert of Israel and in North Africa where
Roman cities once thrived, often can be guided in
their search for water by retracing a lost ancient
This brief survey of the place of water in the begin-
nings of civilized life holds lessons for modern Amer-
ica. For us today water is just as necessary for life and
'health as it was for our prehistoric ancestors. Providing
water depends upon social organization, just as it did
then. This is even more true for an urbanized popu-
lation where 80 per cent of the population lives in
metropolitan areas.
Modern civilization imposes heavy demands upon
adequate water supplies. Merely to sustain life takes
relatively little. Man is 71 per cent water by body
weight, yet needs only about 5 /z pints a day in the
Temperate Zone if he is moderately active. He drinks
'about 3 pints. A bit more than 2 pints are taken in
with food-even the driest grains or crackers will con-
tain some water. Some water is created by the body
in the "burning" or oxidation of food through diges-

j _______ ~_ ___1_______ _E__ ____ _1_ I________ __I~

I rII 'I rrr


tion (the same water-making phenomenon that causes
an automobile exhaust to steam). Altogether, it takes
5 to 6 pints of water to replace the daily losses in per"
spiration, breathing, and excretion.
Since these losses are determined to a considerable
extent by the climate, it helps explain why men have
been more successful in some regions of the world
than in others. Thirst leads to diminished appetite and
malnutrition; therefore men cannot be too active
in a super-heated desert. The rapid losses of water,
up to 10 pints an hour, would .cause dehydration and
eventually a painful death unless the water was re-
placed at once. In a humid tropical climate, even
though plenty of water is available and the body con-
tains 50 quarts of it, men must curtail their activity
because the body is unable to dissipate heat and rid it-
self of waste products fast enough. Long continued
hard work could lead to a breakdown of bodily func-
tions and eventual incapacity.
Under primitive living conditions, as in the rural
villages of the ancient lands, the total daily water
requirement for all purposes may have been 3 to 5
gallons per person. This would include preparing food
and washing, in addition to drinking. At that minimum
comfort level, our nation's 190 million people would
have no serious water problem at all. Their total daily
consumption of 950 million gallons would represent
only the tiniest fraction-0.08 per cent--of the average
daily runoff of 1,160 billion gallons a day of surface
water in this country.
But that tiny fraction could not possibly -support
our advanced technological civilization, even if we'
were to eliminate the irrigation of arid regions. Some
of the greatest increases in_water consumption in re-
cent years have occurred in our humid sections,


where crops are adequately watered by rain and irriga-
tion needs are slight. New inventioiis, new ways of
living, hetv industries, and growth both in population
and productive capacity explain why we now regard
our water supplies with concern.
- We are, in short, in a situation quite analogous to
that of the ancients. Many water shortages have oc-
curred that could have been foreseen and prevented.
Modern living standards have made it necessary to
obtain-water supplies in far greater volume than the
old one-family spring of our rural past. One of the
first signs of change in recent years was the effect
of rural electrification. All at once the average farm,
having acquired a washing machine, a dishwasher,
cattle feeders and other water-using equipment, found
its wells running dry. The people lost contact with
the land and the clean waters that came from its
depth. They had to rely upon distant rivers or reser-
voirs and on the safety of treatment by filtration and
Similarly, factories have been built, and towns, cities,
and industries have expanded beyond the safe limits
of available water. Makeshift efforts to meet emer-
gencies, especially in the two great droughts of the
Fifties and Sixties, have hastened the depletion of wa-
ter reserves in underground reservoirs. Cities have
disputed with cities or with industries drawing on
common water sources; conflicts have arisen between
farmers and conservationists, as over the proposal to
flood part of the Grand Canyon; Mexico and the
United States have confronted one another over the
waters-of the Colorado and the Rio Grande.
To meet the difficulties, more thought is now be-
ing given to hydrology in the planning of reservoirs,
aqueducts and canals; in the recharging of ground


water threatened by exhaustion or the encroachments
of the sea; and in the reclamation of waste waters.
Great strides have been made, but use of water coo-
tinues to rise faster than the advances in search of more
and better supplies. Heightened standards of health
and comfort, intensive farming practices, and new
industrial-products all impose additional demands.
Our dependence on handy and abundant supplies of
clean, safe water for both our economic and rec-
reational life is greater than ever before in our history.
Once more we may turn to the past to demonstrate
how crucial a matter this is. The highly developed
civilization of Babylon seemingly disintegrated under
a load of silt. So much labor was required for cleaning
the irrigation canals that little leisure remained for
anything else. The silt was the result of abusing
the land through cutting and grazing that removed
trees, grasses, and other vegetation. Violent rains
and dry-season winds, unchecked by the water-hold-
ing properties of a plant cover, leached away the top-
soil and clogged the water system. Eventually the
people could no longer cope with the mountains of
silt; they dispersed or retrogressed to semi-barbarism;
and the curtain came down on a mighty drama of
human progress.
The disintegration of the Roman Empire led simi-
larly to aquatic chaos. During centuries of stability,
the Pax Romana, vast and intricate water systems,
provided the empire's millions with safe water. Sewage
disposal was reasonably well advanced, and the value
of sanitation was well understood. But constant war-
fare with barbarian tribes and internal political con-
flicts rapidly dissipated all these hard-won gains.
As ignorance and poverty increased, the citizens no
longer took pride in clean homes and streets. In time,

SM 1ANKID AND 120 35
cleanliness came to be frowned upon as unmanly; the
famous Roman baths were abandoned; the cities be-
came filthier and filthier. At last, as the aqueducts
broke down and water was obtained from polluted
wells, great plagues decimated the population.
The poor people were not the only ones to suffer.
Illness and death from waterborne diseases have
plagued all countries from that time to this. Only now
and only in the technologically most advanced na-
tions, such as the United States, have they been re-
duced to insignificance. Many famous characters in
history have been epidemic victims. Records indicate
that among them were kings of France, Sweden, and
of England as recently as George V. George Washing-
ton suffered from dysentery. Abigail Adams and
President Zachary Taylor died in the White House of
typhoid fever.
The effects of polluted waters are therefore to be
feared as acutely as simple shortages of water to meet
our mounting needs. To this gloomy thought we must
hasten to add that there is an antidote. People ask, "Is
there enough water, then, after all?" The answer, un-
equivocally is, "There is." The total supply in the
world neither grows nor diminishes. It is believed to
be almost precisely the same now as it was when the
earth was created three billion years ago. The water
is used, disposed of, soaked into the earth, run into
the sea, or evaporated into the atmosphere-to be
used again. It always returns. As someone has said,
"Last night's potatoes may have been boiled in what
was, centuries ago, the bathwater for Julius Caesar."
This endless recycling-and new ways to harness
it--contain the, real answer to today's water prob'

,---n-- *I.


The ancients thought that water was just "there,"
one of the four basic elements that made up the uni-
verse, along with earth, air, and fire. Thousands of
years passed before chemists proved that water was
not an indivisible element but a compound formed
from the elements hydrogen and oxygen. In a sense,
however, the ancients were right. Water existed in the
universe before the earth did; it was "there" when
our planet was formed out of a cloud of cosmic dust.
How it got there has only been recently explained
by new theories of astronomy, having to do with the
creation and evolution of stars. (Our sun, of course, is
a star, although a small one.) The generally accepted
Von Weizsacker-Kuiper theory has surmised that the
solar system grew out of a vast gaseous cloud, mostly
hydrogen and helium, containing alsoabout one per
cent of fine dust. In the dust were all the elements
and compounds of which the sun and planets are made,

including water either as vapor, droplets, or crystals
of ice. But this theory, now about twenty years old,
does not take us back to the absolute beginning. How
did a cosmic cloud happen to contain water in the
first place?
SThe point is crucial because water is life. If water
exists throughout space, then we can assume that'
life also thrives somewhere in the universe as well
as on-earth. But it is only liquid water that supports
all forms and processes of living things. Nothing
grows in ice or in vapor or steam (although some or-
ganisms can survive long periods of freezing and de-
hydration). The ice must melt or the vapor must
condense, as it does on our planet. If we can deduce
how and when water in liquid form first appeared on
earth, we will know the earliest date life could be-
The story starts with hydrogen, lightest of ele-
ments and the building block of the universe as
physicists and astronomers now conceive it. Their ob-
servations show the universe to be expanding, which
means it must have started out in a highly con-
densed state. Drawn together by gravitation-the mu-
-tual attraction of particles for one another-a swirl-
ing cloud of hydrogen would form a core of colliding
particles which became denser and hotter as the eons
passed. In time, the temperature in the core would
reach the unimaginable level of millions of degrees
Fahrenheit, at which point a thermonuclear reaction
This is the same reaction that science has duplicated
since World War II in the hydrogen bomb. In the
tremendous heat, the protons in the nuclei of hydro-
gen are transformed by fusion into helium nuclei.
(Helium is the next-lightest element.) The fusion re-

--- --` ---- ~R~~-~sr----?---f~


leases vast amounts of energy. In its present stage of
evolution, the sun fuses about 565 million tons of hy-
drogen into 560 million tons of helium every second.
The missing 5" million tons represent matter that has
been transformed into heat, light, radiation, and other
forms of energy.
SThe "H-bomb" reaction within the sun is the source
of its inexhaustible power to warm the earth and
energize all processes that take place on earth, rang-
ing from the massive forces of weather down to the
minute plant cells that convert air and water into food.
We consider the explosive force of a man-made
hydrogen bomb to be awesome, and it is, but it is as
nothing compared to the thermonuclear fusion in a
star. The bomb fuses mere micrograms of matter into
energy, compared to the sun's millions of tons.
In 1966 Lloyd Motz, professor of astronomy at
Columbia University, published his findings on the
evolution of the stars. Working backward from ob-
served measurements of size and luminosity, and us-
ing modern high-speed computers to perform the in-
credibly intricate calculations--84 simultaneous equa-
tions!-Motz was able to retrace the life-cycle of
the sun to its origin about 5 billion years ago. It
was a second-generation star, composed of matter
ejected by older stars. Since its birth the sun has been'
growing larger and hotter.
In the earlier-aging stars, the hydrogen-helium
fusion had advanced to a second stage. The helium
created by fusion gradually replaced hydrogen at the
core of the star, while its temperature continued to
rise. Upon reaching about 180 million degrees, the
fantastic heat triggered another thermonuclear re-
action. The helium nuclei fused into nuclei of car-

Jn a third stage, the carbon collects in place of
helium at the core of the star; the heat increases to sev-
eral hundred million degrees; and at this level a new
series of reactions begins. One by one, the heavier ele-
ments such as oxygen, neon, magnesium, calcium, or
S iron are "cooked" out of lighter elements that began
as hydrogen deep in the interior of an evolving star.
This important new theory gives an answer to one
of the most puzzling questions that had-plagued as-
tronomers-the presence of the heavier elements.
throughout space. In particular, it explains the origi-
nal creation of water as the compound H2O. Once
some oxygen atoms were set free in space to unite with
hydrogen atoms, they would do so. As will be de-
scribed later, the two have a marked affinity for one
another. The strength of the hydrogen-oxygen bond is
what makes water the durable, almost magical life-
giving substance that it is.
Whenthe sun condensed into a separate body, it
left some of the material, including water, in the orig-
inal gaseous cloud still eddying about. In time the
forces of gravity grouped colliding particles into huge
aggregates of matter, which became the nine planets
orbiting the sun. The amount of water on each de-
pended upon the planet's gravitational attraction, de-
termined by its mass. The form of water-frozen,
liquid, or vapor-was determined by the planet's dis-
tance from the source of heat in the sun.
While there are a number of rival theories of the
earth's birth, the most plausible appears to be that of
Nobel Prize winner Harold C. Urey. He contends
that the world was born cold, not hot. Water was con-
tained in its cool, solid crust. The earth's crust as we
know it today consists mostly of silicates-rocks
which have trapped water molecules within their

_ __ _1_ _____ _~R_~ ___ ~*__ ~ _I_~_ _____ I_ I________

crystals. The water can be baked out of rocks by
heat. In all probability it exists in this latent form even
on the seemingly waterless moon.
This theory is supported by the Motz back-trak-'
ing of the evolution of the sun. In its current stage,
the sun is 10 per cent larger and about 10 per cent
more luminous than it was one billion years ago.
Reaching backward in time, Motz calculated that the
earth likewise grew warmer as the sun's heat in-
creased. One billion years ago it would have reached
an average temperature of zero degrees Centigrade-
the melting point of ice (320 F.). Motz added, "We
may therefore conclude that life began to evolve at
that time." In other words, the possibility of life be-
gan on earth one billion years ago with the first trick-
lings of liquid water from the primeval ice and stone.
According to the Urey theory, the melting or boil-
ing of water out of hydrated rocks did not occur on
the surface at first, but deep inside the earih where
pressure and chemical activity produced intense heat.
Bubbling up through fissures in the crust or in vol-
canic upheavals, the water would collect locally in
pools. Thus, over millions of years, the oceans gradu-
ally were formed to cover low-lying areas, or basins,
in the earth's irregular mantle.
So far as our most sophisticated space probes have
determined, this water-forming evolution appears to
be unique to the earth within the solar system (al-
though we do not rule out the possibility of its occur-
rence somewhere else in the universe). Among the
planets, only earth has the cool green hills and flow-
ing rivers that distinguish living land from desert,
earthscape from moonscape. With water present, con-
ditions developed for the start of the long line of evo-
lution that links primitive one-celled organisms to

modem man. Some creatures, known as anaerobic bac-
teria, can live without oxygen, but not even the tini-
est virus can flourish without water.
The- earth has had this unique experience because-
of its position in relation to the sun. At 93 million
miles distant, the temperatures on earth are just right "
to allow water to exist as a liquid as well as in the form
of ice or vapor. Also, the earth has sufficient mass to
hold an atmosphere containing water vapor close to
itself by gravitational force. Thus the moon, al-
though it is in the right temperature zone, too, is too
small to hold an atmosphere (and probably lost it
to Earth). Venus, although large enough; is too close
to the sun. Radio probes through the planet's cloud
cover measure the surface temperature at more than
1,000 degrees, which would turn every drop of wa-
ter into superheated steam. Dr. Gerhard P. Kuiper,
an astronomer active in space research, now believes
Venus is devoid of water and that its famous clouds
are just dust. Mars, more distant from the sun than
Earth, is too cold. Water vapor and ice crystals have
been detected in its skimpy atmosphere, and light
hoarfrost at its poles, where temperatures drop to 150
degrees below zero. But there is no liquid water.
Venus and Mars are the earth's closest neighbors;
the case for water on the remaining planets is even
more hopeless. Tiny Mercury, nearest the sun, has no
atmosphere; the heat on its sunny side would melt
lead. If water exists on the outer planets-Jupiter,
Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto-it is perma-
nently frozen in the minus-300-degree temperature.
Once water had begun to collect on the earth's sur-
face, it fortunately did not settle and remain per-
manently in the oceans. If it had, life would be possible
only in the marine realm, not on land. Under those

_ C_ _-__T_- ____~________q____jyXI1 -.~~niZ--lll?--~_1I--C-C--~.-II ;TiL--B-I~~--~

L __

-. --~~ ? ~1a~a5WjL~*~~ ~T~-. .- --~T~-----

circumstances, man might have evolved into some-
thing resembling a porpoise rather than an advanced
breed of ape. Instead, the ocean water immediately
-'began to evaporate. So began the water cycle, or hy-
drologic cycle, that returned water to the land
free of salt.

The Hydrologic Cycle

The ocean is salty because of minerals washed into
it by run-off water from the land areas. The amount of
sediment washed to the sea each year is prodigious. It
has been estimated at one billion tons, sufficient to
bury Washington, D.C., under ten feet of sand, silt,
and clay. The equivalent of entire continents has been
absorbed by the oceans since the world began. Yet
the saltiness (proportion of salts per unit volume of
water) appears to have remained the same. We sur-
mise this from the survival, through hundreds of
millions of years, of marine species unchanged in es-
sential organs and form. The failure to become con-
stantly more salty is explained by the slow growth of
the oceans (according to the Urey theory), and by the
cycle that dilutes ocean water, with fresh infusions of
rain, snow, and glacial ice.
The earth resembles a gigantic distillation system
that brings about the distribution of fresh water
throughout the world. Water in liquid form, in the
oceans or on the land, absorbs heat energy chiefly from
the sun. The absorbed energy changes the water from
a liquid to a vapor-an invisible.gas mixed with air
in the atmosphere. The vaporized moisture is lifted
by air that rises as it is warmed by the sun or by heat
reflected from the'surface. Eventually it meets cooler
conditions which condense the vapor back into liquid.

Water is life; without water there is no life
as we know it. Empires have risen and fallen
with the rise and fall of a water table. For
want of it, great civilizations have vanished.
In our country the supply of water is a
matter of utmost concern for our genera-,
tion and future ones.
You can assure your home and family good
quality water today and in the future. Read
this book to find out the facts.

_ __ .6~*g;u~2~.i~,Ue~~_~;iic ~.,, ~ _

i '1

2 ,
I o ,. ^js, -
oo .

mdo o

This falls back to earth as rain, hail, dew, snow, or
sleet, and it is fresh water because the salt has been
left in the ocean-distilled out in the process of evapo-
Now the cycle is repeated; it has no beginning and
no end. The condensed moisture drops back into the
ocean, or if it falls on land, a part of it collects in rivers
and glaciers which eventually flow to the ocean.
The cycle cannot be stopped, because it is powered
by the enormous energy of the sun streaming con-
stantly to earth. This is fortunate for the earth, be-
cause it provides the essential renewal of fresh wa-
ter to maintain riverflow and soil-moisture, to grow
plants, and to sustain animals, including man, on the
continental land masses and islands.
But the part of the ocean water that evaporates to
become usable fresh water is very small. As the table
in Chapter I showed, at any given moment an average
of 3,100 cubic miles of water remains floating in the
atmosphere as vapor or as water droplets in a cloud.
This seems like a lot, but it amounts to only about one
inch of rain (over the entire earth) every two weeks.
The turnover takes an average of twelve days; that
is, for the water to be evaporated, condensed, fall as
precipitation, and be replaced.
Each year, therefore, about 95,000 cubic miles of
water ascend into the atmosphere. About 71,000 cubic
miles--75 per cent-fall back directly into the ocean
and quickly mix with salt water. Of the remaining
24,000 cubic miles, about 15,000 strike the soil of land.
But the water does not stay there long. Almost im-
mediately it is returned to the atmosphere by evapo-
ration from the surface, or by transpiration, which is
the exhalation, excretion, and perspiration of water by
plant and animal life. The combined processes are

called evapotranspiration. An acre of corn may deliver
4,000 gallons of water a day to the air, a single cotton-
wood tree may deliver 1,500 gallons.
While these 15,000 cubic mile'of rain constitute
a water supply from the point of view of a rain
farmer, their evapotranspiration leaves only 9,000
cubic miles for the runoff of surface water that creates
rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater. Most of this
runoff finds its way back to the ocean within days or,
at most, a few weeks. A little of it percolates deep into
the ground where, stopped by impermeable rocks, it
collects into permanent reservoirs. Some of this "fos-
sil water" has been underground for 10,000 years.
Considering the vital importance to man's purposes
of the fresh water in rivers, lakes, and the ground, it is
surprising how little of it is in forms and places where
map may draw his supplies with relative ease.
Enough water is locked up in the Antarctic icecap,
for example, to feed the Mississippi River for 50,000
years. The melted ice could match the flow of all the
rivers in the world for about 800 years. At any one
moment, rivers contain only about one one-hun-
dredth of one per cent of the water on the globe. Yet
for mankind as a whole, they are the principal source
of the water that sustains the race.
Thanks to the hydrologic cycle, the total amount
of water on earth remains the same. What goes tip
must come down. Water vapor does not rise high
enough in the atmosphere to be sucked off by the grav-
itation of passing celestial bodies, as has happened
to the planet Mercury and to our own moon. It con-
denses into droplets early-enough,to be seized by the
earth's gravity and returned to the surface. The total
supply is believed unchanged; there is exactly as
much water today as there ever was, despite changes

_ ___ _____~__~ ~_ I ~__ __ __~ ~_

in climate such as successive ice ages, or the rise and
fall of the ocean level as apparently, occurred in the
Biblical flood. This water does not, however, remain
in the same places on earth. The distribution is con-
stantly changing.
Endlessly recycled, water is used by plants, ani-
mals, or man; it is disposed of and returned to soil,
stream, or ocean; then made usable again by natural
filtering or purification by man; then reused. It is a
t resource that cannot, in sum; be depleted; and yet a re-
Ssource that can be lost in a particular place at a par-
Sticular time either through natural evolution or
through mismanagement by man.
Surface water begins as precipitation that, after wet-
ting the foliage and the ground, runs off over the
surface or soaks into the soil. Water in streams is the
main contributor to erosion of the soil and to floods.
Not all of the eroded topsoil goes into the oceans.
Much is deposited in the stream bed itself, wherever
a rapid flow is slowed down by pools or interruptions.
Many streams become clogged with silt and sand,
especially in their lower reaches, and lakes may even-
tually fill up completely. Silting is one of the problems
that set a time-limit on the usefulness of even our most
grandiose hydraulic projects; eventually the lake be-
hind the dam may' become too shallow with silt to
hold water in adequate amounts.
Of the precipitation that soaks into the ground,
some is utilized for growing plants and some evapo-
rates. Some reaches the deeper zones and slowly
percolates through springs. It is this part of the
hydrologic cycle that keeps streams flowing in dry
seasons. Most rivers do not dry up; they have a sub-
stantial "normal' flow throughout the year or they
wouldn't be called rivers. This normal flow is the

overflow of a subterranean aquifer or water-bearing
geological formation. The water observes the law of
gravity and seeks a lower level. Sometimes it must
travel underground- for great distances before bub-
bling out of a hillside as a spring or seeping into a flow-
ing -stream. The water in a farmer's well may have
first struck the ground as rain in the next county or
the next state.
The underground part of the cycle also tends to
maintain a water supply at a constant level. Water is a
restless, fickle substance, constantly on the move, con-
stantly changing its form, even its chemical composi-
tion as it dissolves anything soluble en route to the
sea. Storage in aquifers or in surface reservoirs, natu-
ral or artificial, evens out the endless variations in
supply and provides a more uniform output of the
precious commodity. For example, even though the
inflow to a reservoir is erratic-more when it rains or
when the spring thaw of snowfall is in progress, less
during a drought and, sometimes, almost none at all-
the outflow can be maintained at a uniform level.
Similarly, the flow of a river during a long rainless
period continues because the precipitation from pre-
vious storms has been stored in the ground and is now
being slowly released. This is one area in which man
still has much to learn-the harnessing of natural
storage of water. The amount underground is 3,000
times larger than all the water in all the rivers in the
world, and twenty times larger than in all the lakes or
inland seas. Compared with ground water, the amount
that can be stored behind the Hoover Dam, the Grand
Coulee, the High Aswan, and all others put together
is small indeed.
In summary, modern water problems are merely
new incarnations of age-old difficulties faced by man-

1- "~ ---- ---_ ---ar~-ml -----------7-~------ ---.-rC--~---~ ^~^----: -~


kind again and again. They may be stated as learning
-to manage a variable resource. It can be said today,
also, that water is the lifeblood of the American way
of life.
The housewife of yesterday pumped a few bticket-
fuls to meet her daily needs and worried little about
it until struck by positive disaster, such as the drought
of the Thirties that turned the verdant Middle West!
into a dust bowl Today water pours through dish-
washers, clothes washers, toilets, showers, lawn sprin-
klers, or air conditioners and refrigerators of certain
kinds. Factories and nuclear power plants use so-
muIch water that, in some cases, the entire flow of a
river may be utilized. As urbanized ways of life
spread to include more and more people, the pros-
pects are for still more dramatic increases in demands
for water.
The water table is the level below which the soil or
rock is water-soaked. In many populated areas the
water table is sinking steadily. In areas along the sea-
coast, such as Long Island, Florida, and southern Cali-
fornia, sea water encroaches into the water table as
the fresh water is thirstily withdrawn. Wells run dry
or become salty; they must be drilled deeper and
deeper or else abandoned.'
Desert regions of the Southwest made to blossom
by tapping fossil water far underground are tapping a
resource not readily replaced. This water may have
first returned to earth from the atmosphere during
the Ice Age, and it may have originated hundreds or .
even thousands of miles from the present wells. In-
the fruit and lettuce-growing area around Phoenix,
Arizona, the underground water reserve could be ex-
hausted within a few decades. In the Texas Pan-
handle, farmers assert to the Internal Revenue Bu-

"reau that their water is a resource being mined like
coal or oil and therefore eligible, like other minerals,
for the tax deduction for depletion.
Grandiose hydraulic undertakings may be neces-
sary to irrigate such areas when the water runs out,
such as diverting water from northern rivers, rang-
ing from the Columbia to the sub-arctic Yukon and
Mackenzie Rivers in Canada and Alaska. One of the
great needs is to learn how to put water underground
into the natural storage reservoirs provided by porous
rocks and gravel. If this were done, one could with-
draw the water again by pumping during times of
shortage, and would avoid losses by evaporation which
seriously deplete surface reservoirs in sunny climes.
Drawing fresh water from the sea has only limited
possibilities in the opinion of most hydrologists. A
major goal of the International Hydrological Dec-
ade, which has been joined since it began in 1965 by
101 nations, is to find out where the world's water is at
any given moment: how much is in the atmosphere
(perfecting present rather raw estimates); how much
is frozen; how much is in lakes, rivers and swamps;
how much is underground and how far underground;
and how much is in trees, plants, or other living ma-
"All the rivers run into the sea," the Bible says, "yet
the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the
rivers come, thither they return again." Yes, rainfall
returns to the skies, and from the skies back to the
earth, but the paths can be circuitous or unpredicta-
ble. The hydrologic cycle, powered by more en-
ergy in a day than men have generated artificially
throughout history, holds many answers to ultimate
control. But to understand its full effects, we must
neit examine the chemical nature of water itself.

_ _~~3__~__~ __ I_ _______1~ __~_~ ___ __


Water is necessary, convenient-and commonplace.
It is necessary because we can't live without it; con-
venient, because we would rather not live where wa-
ter is too difficult to obtain; and commonplace be-
cause it appears in every process of nature with which
we are familiar. But commonplace things are often the
least appreciated and the hardest to understand. Water
is odorless, tasteless, colorless; it seems insipid. Ap-
pearances are deceiving. The more we find out about
water, the more we realize that in every respect it is
an astounding freak of nature.
Consider the ice cube, for example; it floats in your
drink. Almost every other substance on earth con-
tracts when it freezes; that is, becomes denser when
converted by cooling from a liquid into a solid. But
water expands upon freezing, so that ice becomes lighter
than liquid water and floats like a cork. If it did not,
if it sank to the bottom, life on earth would become

grim indeed and might even disappear. The oceans,
lakes, and streams would freeze in winter from the
bottom up, killing all the fish. Since the warming
rays of the sun would not reach the lower levels of
ice, the freezing might gradually become perma-
nent, transforming much of the Temperate Zone into
branches of the Arctic.
Or consider the indestructibility of water, which
makes possible the hydrologic cycle and thereby the
presence of living things on land. If you burn wood,
gasoline, or this sheet of paper, these things are de-
stroyed-gone forever. They are converted into the
gases of a flame and into ashes. New compounds thus
are formed from the material's original elements, and
the process is irreversible. But if you apply the
same heat to water, it refuses to burn; it changes into
steam. And though you cannot reconstruct burned
wood out of flame and ashes, you can reconstruct wa-
ter out of steam merely by turning off the heat. Wa-
ter has the" unique property of moving readily from
the liquid to the gaseous or solid state and back again
at quite moderate temperatures-a range of 1800
F. from freezing to boiling. This, again, is the secret
of life on earth.
Water can be formed out of hydrogen and oxygen,
and it is formed in the process of combustion. Some
of the "smoke" from a fire actually is steam or water
vapor. More scientifically stated, burning is oxida-
tion-combining a material with oxygen from the
air. If the material is composed of hydrogen and car-
bon (a hydrocarbon), some of the hydrogen freed
by heat will unite with oxygen to form water. Wood,
coal, petroleum, and other fuels contain large amounts
of hydrogen and carbon; so does most of our food.
The human body produces water (about two quarts

~x-'~ ~` -------;--~ i~;''`r~~-` ~-

a week) by digesting food. The smoker knows the
same phenomenon,by the bubbling of his pipe bowl
or the stain on his fingers, the housewife by the
steaming of her kitchen windows from a gas flame, the
motorist by the moisture-laden exhaust that rusts out
his muffler and tailpipe.
Can water never be destroyed? Plants grow by
combining the hydrogen and oxygen of water with
carbon and other chemicals in the plant material, re-
leasing oxygen and carbon dioxide to the air. For all
practical purposes, however, the depletion of water
by chemical change sooner or later is matched by the
creation of water. We can, therefore, consider it
These peculiar properties can be explained by the
structure of a water molecule. A molecule is an in-
finitely small unit of the substance; as long as it re-
mains intact, the substance is still water. But the wa-
ter molecule, in turn, is formed of three elemental
particles, or atoms. Two are hydrogen (H) atoms
and one an oxygen (0) atom, expressed symbolically
in the chemical formula HzO. There are a trillion
trillion molecules in a single ounce of water. It is one
of the simplest of compounds.
If this unit is broken apart by an electric current, it
ceases to be water. The molecule divides into the
component elemental gases, which by weight are
11.188 per cent hydrogen and 88.812 per cent oxygen.
The hydrogen gas will be double the volume of the
oxygen gas, but it is a much lighter element. The
"atomic weight" of hydrogen is only 1.008, but the
atomic weight of oxygen is 16. The "molecular
weight" of water (H20) is 18.016 (2 x 1.008 + 16).
Chemists have classified all matter into 100 or more
basic elements. An element, such as hydrogen or oxy-

gen, is traditionally defined as a pure substance which
cannot be decomposed chemically into still simpler
substances. The smallest possible unit that retains the
chemical and physical properties of an element is the
atom. This unit survives chemical attack, but the rela-
tively new science of atomic physics has shown us
that even an atom can be split by the application of
energy. Bombarding the atom with high-speed parti-
cles causes nuclear fission, as in the Hiroshima explo-
sion of an atomic bomb. Increasing the atom's
internal energy with intense heat causes fusion or
transformation into a heavier element, as in the
hydrogen bomb and in the sun. Because we now
know that the atom can be smashed, a better defini-
tion of an element would be something that cannot
be divided into simpler substances without disrupt-
ing the atom.
Nuclear physics has given us a clearer picture
of the water molecule, what it is and why it acts as it
does. In the first place, it is surprisingly sturdy. Tre-
mendous energy is needed to break it apart, and tre-
mendous energy is released when it is formed. In
1937 the huge zeppelin Hindenburg, inflated with
hydrogen, exploded over Lakehurst, New Jersey,
when a spark from atmospheric electricity ignited
the gas. People on the ground underneath the falling
airship were drenched with water. It was not raining,
nor were the zeppelin's tanks leaking; the water had
been produced by fire and the explosion that fol-
lowed. Merely striking a match in the presence of
hydrogen will nudge it into union with oxygen.
The manner in which'the atoms are held together
in the water" molecule -shows why this occurs; the
three atoms are brought together and held by power-
ful chemical bonds. An atom consists 'of electrons,


which have a negative electrical charge, moving
around a nucleus which is positively charged. The
central nucleus may consist of protons (positive par-
ticles) and neutrons, which have no electrical
charge but only weight. The number of electrons is
the atomic number of the element in the system,
or periodic table, of all elements from one to 100 and
up. ("Missing" elements have been discovered by
looking for some hitherto unknown substance to fill
apparent gaps in this table.) Hydrogen is the first of
the elements, having only one electron. Oxygen has
Electrons are held'in rotating orbit around a nucleus
because of the opposite electrical charges. Positive-
attracts negative. You can produce the same phenom-
enon by rubbing a rubber balloon against a wool
sweater; it sticks to the sweater because the rubbing
has stirred up static electrical charges in the two ma-
The electrical charges in some atoms are out of
balance. Thus the hydrogen atom, with only one elec-
tron in its outer shell, needs another electron orbiting
around the nucleus to balance it.
The oxygen atom has six electrons in its outer
shell, but so distributed as to leave room for two more.
Atoms of this kind, are unstable; their energy-
charged electrons are only precariously held in orbit
and are quick to combine with others. Nature seems
to urge atoms to fill all the room in the outer electron
shell. That is why both hydrogen and oxygen are
"joiners," easily bonded to other elements to form
such compounds as hydrides and oxides. When they
join one another in the molecule of water, a connec-
tion is established called a covalent bond. This is very
strong because the link neatly fills the outer shells of
both atoms.


amwaamW AT=M ROM ATO

In a form resembling the face of Mickey Mouse,
two hydrogen atoms have moved in as "ears." Each of
the single hydrogen electrons has taken the position of
a missing electron in the oxygen shell. At the same
time each hydrogen electron has paired with an oxy-
gen electron, giving the H-atom stability, too.
The mouse-head shape of the' molecule is signifi-
cant in the behavior of water. Because of it, water
"wets" or clings to many other substances readily;
anjy because of it, water dissolves almost anything it
wets. Look at the six oxygen electrons which are not
paired with hydrogen atoms; four of the six on the

___~ _____ _____ _~__11_____1__~___ 1_ I~_~____

outer shell are much farther from the nucleus than are
the two inner electrons. In the compound H20, the
electrical charges become unevenly distributed. In
the direction of the hydrogen "ears," the molecule
has a positive charge. In the direction of the oxygen
"chin," the molecule is negatively charged. This is
called a dipole. Like a bar magnet, it has a positive pole
and a negative pole.
Opposites attract opposites in magnetism, while like
repels like; so it is with the static electric charges of
dipoles. The consequence is that the water molecule
positions itself as a compass needle would in an electro-
magnetic field. The ears point toward the north (neg-
ative) side and the chin toward the south (positive)
side. In nature, a water molecule rarely stands alone.
In steam or at high temperatures, trillions of them
dance about at random. But as the vapor cools into
liquid water, the energy that kept them dancing
becomes weaker, and the dipolar charge causesthe
molecules to line up and come together. Each pair of
hydrogen-side ears is attracted to the oxygen-side chin
of the next water molecule.
Linking up endlessly, the water molecules form an
involved chainlike structure that has, comparatively
speaking, the strength of a chain of iron. This is called
"hydrogen bonding." Water may be visualized as a
mass of molecules in constant motion, but with such
an exceptional attraction to each other that it takes
more energy to pull them apart than would be ex-
pected from the behavior of other substances.
The extraordinary cohesion of water molecules is
visible to the eye in what is called surface tension. A
drop of water from a faucet takes the shape of a
sphere, the smallest possible. Place a steel needle care-
fully on the surface of water in a glass. You can make

it float. The appearance of the surface depressed be-
neath the needle, like a mattress giving way to a sleep-
ing body, confirms the toughness of the layer of as-
sociated water molecules.
Surface tension partially accounts for water rising
in trees, sometimes to a height of 430 feet, in defiance
of the force of gravity. This, too, may be observed in
a thin glass tube. Water molecules around the edges
(hydrogen-side foremost) are attracted to oxygen
molecules in the silica glass. They stretch up to "wet"
the glass, pulling the top surface of water with them,
until the force of surface tension is exactly balanced
by the force of gravity, or weight, of the amount of
water raised.
The force required to pull water apart and thereby
create two new surfaces-the force opposed by sur-
face tension-is surprisingly large. It can be calcu-
lated that to rupture a column of water with a cross
section of one square inch would take a force of about
210,000 pounds. Although this is theoretical, a practi-
cal limit of about 2,000 pounds has been attained exper-
imentally-about the same tensile strength as some
Another consequence of the dipolar water molecule
is adhesion-its ability to stick to other surfaces. Water
wetsglass, for example, which is important in wiping
the windshield of your car. This arises from the hy-
drogen bonding between oxygen atoms on the surface
of the glass and the hydrogen "ears" of the water mol-
ecule. Clay soil and cellulose fibers also contain large
numbers of oxygen atoms, and are wetted in the same
way. Therefore, clay suspends readily in water and'
causes muddiness, while cotton cloth absorbs perspira-
tion. But paraffin and oils are not wetted because their
atoms do not form hydrogen bonds. Nylon has just

L., -,, I- r-- I q '-- IN, = .. .. ... 1,- -- ,r, .. ..... .. ... ,

enough oxygen atoms to be wettable; it can hold some
water but still dries rapidly.
The ability of water to rise in small wettable tubes,
known as capillarity or wick action, depends on both
cohesion and adhesion. Water enters a tree through the
roots arid ascends in a series of small passages to be lost
by evaporation from the leaves. The water in the col-
umn of sap is under tension much as if it were a wire
being pulled. Exactly how high it can rise depends
upon humidity, temperature, and other factors. The
water surface attains equilibrium where it meets the air
in the topmost leaves. The giant sequoias, therefore,
growing to 430 feet (a tension of 200 pounds per
square inch) can live only in certain special areas
where all these conditions are perfect.
The dipolar water molecule has an amazing abil-
ity to dissolve metals, minerals-almost any inorganic
substance. It is outstanding among, liquids, the "uni-
versal solvent." Given enough time, water can destroy
a steel bridge, move a mountain of magnesium, carve
a giant hole in limestone such as Carlsbad Caverns.
About half of all the known elements are found dis-
solved in sea water.
Without this property of water as an all-purpose
chemical solvent, nutrition of living things would stop.
Sugars, alcohols, acetic acid, phosphates, nitrates, am-
monium compounds, and many other substances con-
aining oxygen atoms or nitrogen, are held in water
solution by hydrogen bonding.. These happen to be
the compounds involved in the storage and transfer
of energy by the living plant or animal. They are the
raw material of foods. To nourish life, they have to be
dissolved in, and then carried in, the fluid of blood and
the sap of plants.
The roots of plants cannot absorb nutrients from

the soil unless in solution; that is why they die if the
soil becomes too dry or if a film of oil or other non-
wettable stuff comes between the roots and the soil.
Even in the human body, all food must be dissolved
before it can be absorbed by the processes of diges-
tion; that is why a man can die of thirst.

_ __li__ _I ~_ __ __ r _~____1__ ___ ____


S One fact about water is so urgent that even infants
seem to sense it: the human body cannot survive
without a.daily drink. We are tied to water by the
evolution of life itself. Primitive animals and plants,
such as protozoa and diatoms, are virtually 100 per
cent water-mere pipes through which water flows,
leaving sustenance in its wake and draining off wastes.
Man, who is far more complicated, consists of about
70 per cent water by weight. The identical process of
absorbing nutrients from water and disposing of
wastes via water, tiat is found in the most primitive
living thing, is carried on in the human body.
It is carried on, furthermore, in salt water. Blood,
sweat, and tears are as saline as the sea. This goes
back to the origin of life, which some scientists now
believe began by a chance of chemistry in the prime-
val ocean. Mixed with the water were such chemical
compounds as ammonia, methane, and carbon dioxide

-consisting of the same elements of which living
molecules are composed. The composition is ex-
tremely complex, and yet, under constant stimulation
by the ultraviolet rays of the sun, these molecules
could have reacted to arrange and rearrange them-
selves into an infinite number of patterns. Over eons
of time, the laws of probability indicate that one of
these accidental patterns could have been the "right"
one-a living cell with the power to reproduce itself.
If the theory is correct, the creation of life out of
inorganic elements and compounds under radiation
should be possible in the laboratory. Although it has
not happened yet, experimental chemists have come
very close. They have synthesized complex proteins
in the test tube that seem to be only one tiny step re-
moved from living protein. These man-made "cells"
feed themselves, eliminate wastes, respond to certain
stimuli, and can be kept "alive" a very long time.
Thus they have many of the characteristics of living
creatures-except for the essential power to reproduce
their own species. (There is speculation that cancer
cells might be akin to laboratory products-maverick
molecules formed by chance chemical combinations
within the human body.)
Life's beginning in water continues to echo in the
way our higher form of life is sustained and carried On.
When the first creatures migrated from the sea onto
dry land, they survived because they had developed an
internal system which made an external supply of sea
water unnecessary. But the salt of the sea came with
them,. and the correct balance of salt and water in the
system remains essential to survival. When a man loses
too much salt through heavy perspiration, he may
suffer heat cramps. The muscles become knotted and
painful. The antidote is a salt tablet popped into the

_ ~____ ___1__~1__1 _~ __*n_ i~____i Ir__l___l___~ _1

mouth to restore the balance. These tablets are carried
by marching armies, athletes, and workers in a steel
mill in July. Similarly, too much salt in the system,
which might come from drinking sea water, causes
the muscle cells to lose water and become shriveled;
a painful death may follow.
The water chemistry is extremely precise-myste-
riously precise. For example, "heavy water" (deute-
rium oxide, DO2) occurs in nature and is present in
every glass of water you drink. It looks, tastes, and acts
like ordinary water to anyone but a laboratory sci-
entist. In fact, the only difference between H2O and
D2O is the presence in the latter of a hydrogen isotope
(D) having approximately double the atomic weight
of ordinary hydrogen (H). For drinking purposes, it
would seem of little consequence whether the hydro-
gen is light or heavy. Animals will drink it readily.
Yet when animals are continually watered with D2O,
they behave as though parched with thirst. For un-
known reasons, this peculiar form of water simply
does not support the body's metabolism. The animals
suffer damage to the liver and spleen and eventually
death; though amply supplied with "water," they die
of thirst.
In plants, water is taken from the soil (or pond) by
osmosis through the fine hairs of the roots. Osmosis is
a process by which water passes through a seemingly
pore-less membrane, a few molecules at a time, be-
cause of a difference in pressure on the two sides of
the membrane. The water inside the root contains salt
and other minerals; it is less concentrated therefore,
and has less osmotic pressure than the purer water out-
side the plant. (That's why such a plant dies in salty
water, where the reverse is the case.)
Billions of root hairs take in tiny specks of water,

from as far away as 30 feet, through a network total-
ling hundreds of miles in length. The water climbs up-
ward in the plant by a combination of osmotic pres-
sure and capillary action (surface tension) through
tubes of microscopic cross-section. During the grow-
ing season, water equal to several hundred times the
dry weight of the plant passes through it. When it
reaches the leaves, it is discharged into the air by trans-
piration through tiny pores called stomata.
Incidentally, osmosis acts as a kind of sieve to permit
water to penetrate a membrane while restraining the
passage of minerals. The phenomenon has been hai-
nessed by man to desalinize ocean or brackish under-
ground water. In this process a membrane of cellulose
acetate divides a tank containing salt water on 'one
side and fresh water on the other. When pressure is
applied to the salt side, "reverse osmosis" takes place-
the water in the salt solution is forced through the
membrane, leaving the salt (and other contaminants)
A green leaf manufactures the plant's food-glucose
(sugar)-by the reaction of water, carbon dioxide
from the air and chlorophyll, stimulated by sunlight.
In this process, the leaf releases excess oxygen and wa-
ter through the stomata. At night, the reactions are
reversed. The stem system now carries the water-
borne food down through the plant all the way to the
roots. The food is oxidized to become bark, buds, new
leaves, etc., and the waste product--carbon dioxide-
returns to the leaf stomata to be released to the air.
(This explains why plants are not recommended dec-
orations for a bedroom; they exude carbon dioxide
at night, just when the sleeper needs oxygen.)
In broad terms, the same principle applies to human
nutrition. We do not have chlorophyll or stomata to

_I-~ .._. __ .. -T- -i--i ---R~C-

-- --r --- --- .------ --- --,- Fi~~Cr*~X---- 1----1-- _-- ~' _-l

manufacture food from air and water, but we seat
plants that do--or we eat animals that eat the plants, or
animals that eat other animals that eat the plants. It
might be said that a principal difference between ani-
mals and plants is speed; we move faster and our me-
tabolism is quicker, more concentrated in time. But
we do inhale oxygen to use our food; we do exhale
or excrete carbon dioxide as a waste product; and we
are totally dependent upon water as the body's com-
mon carrier of food and of wastes.
Before birth, the human embryo resembles the more
primitive forms of life, forms of ocean life in particu-
lar. We are conceived from the union of an egg with
a sperm swimming in saline water, the ovum and the
spermatozoon. We grow in the mother's body in a sac
full of water, which nourishes us, protects us from
blows and jolts, and molds our bodily form. The mo-
ment of birth resembles a throwback in time to the
transition of sea creatures to life on dry land. After
about 280 days, the sac of water bursts, the child is
extruded--and, for the first time in his life, greets the
light and breathes the air. He does not appear to like
it; or perhaps he fears the new environment so
shockingly strange after the dark safety of the uterine
canal. At any rate, the child cries. And who can
blame him?
Again like a plant, we expend our energy during the
day and restore our tired or growing tissues by sleep-
ing at night. We have a mechanical pump, the heart,
to circulate the watery body fluids to the parts of the
body where and when they are needed. When we say
the human body is 70 per cent water, we are averag-
ing out the water contents of a complicated system of
specialized cells. That is, we have eyes, muscles, nerves,
ears, hair, and multitudes of other parts-each with a

specific function. Providing them with nutrition and
waste disposal involves some intricate hydraulic mech-
The blood is 80 to 90 ,per cent water, the muscles
about 75 per cent, but the bones only about 20 per
cent. The fatty tissues contain the least water. Each
day, through perspiration, urination, breathing, and
digestion, a man loses about 8 pints of water-an anal-
ogy to the transpiration of a plant. If this water is not
quickly replaced, he may die; loss of more than one-
tenth of the water in the body can be fatal. In con-
trast, nearly all of the fat can be shed without serious
The human body obtains less than half of its water
by drinking. About 40 per cent comes from food.
Another 15 per cent is manufactured by the body
itself in the course of metabolism-or nourishing the
individual cells. With the exception of fats, such as
butter, most foodstuffs contain water: bread about 35
per cent, meats up to 70 per cent, fruits such as tomato
close to 95 per cent.
In the body, this water courses through 60,000 miles
of arteries, veins, and the branching capillaries. It plays
a major role in digestion of food. It also serves to lu-
bricate the joints lest they creak, and the soft tissues
lest they stick, and keeps the mucous membranes
moist. It even does such odd jobs as forming a lens in
the eye so as to focus the scene before us, like a cam-
era, onto light-sensitive and color-sensitive nerve tis-
sues in the retina. One of its principal functions is to
regulate the- body heat, to keep it, miraculously one
might say, at precisely 98.6 Fahrenheit whether the
body belongs to a nomad in the blazing desert or an
Eskimo in the frozen north.
The jobs of digestion and heat control help account

for the high rate of water turnover in the body, and
explain why the supply must be continually renewed.
(This is a penalty paid for evolution of the species, for
leaving the sea for the land.) Average daily excretion
through the kidneys equals about 5 pints, and via the
lungs about one pint. But loss of water through the
skin in sweating can vary from zero to as much as 18
pints (2 2 gallons) in 24 hours. The latter is mankind's
main protection from high temperatures.
Water has a property known as high latent heat.
When it changes form-from solid ice to liquid, or
from liquid to vapor-it absorbs many calories of heat
energy without itself changing in temperature. In the
reverse changes, when condensiing into liquid or when
freezing, water gives off heat. The amount of latent
heat is enormous compared to other substances; for ex-
ample, it is three times as much as the same weight of
alcohol. So in perspiration, the absorbed heat of vapor-
ization cools the skin, much as the cooling system of
a car keeps an internal combustion engine from burn-
ing up. In the contrary situation, a tub of water in a
greenhouse on a freezing night, by its own freezing,
will give off enough heat to protect the plants. The
water of the ocean or the Great Lakes brings milder
winter temperatures to people living along the shores.
The body gains heat internally through the oxida-
tion of foodstuffs. Calling this 100 per cent, about 73
per cent of the heat is dissipated directly from the skin
to the air without perspiration; another 14 per cent
in the evaporation of sweat from the skin; about 11
per cent by warming of expelled air and vaporizing of
water in the lungs; and the remainder in the urine and
Chemists explain the body's capacity for work en-
ergy by the oxidation of sugars and fats through a com-
plex series of reactions, most of which involve water.

The latter process is called hydrolysis. Starches, pro-
teins, and fats in food are split into smaller molecules
with the aid of enzymes-present in the saliva, gastric
juice, bile from the liver, and other digestive-juices
from the pancreas and intestine-which are composed
of water carrying the necessary chemicals. Once the
smaller molecules are formed, they are readily dis-
solved in water and thus can be absorbed by the in-
The entire alimentary canal, from the mouth to the
anus, may be considered outside the body, like the
skin. Its walls are, in fact, a specialized kind of skin
folded inward to form a long hollow tube. Through
the walls of the stomach and intestine, the food mole-
cules broken down by enzymes pass into the blood-
stream. Once again we are reminded of the passage of
nutrient-bearing water from the soil into the roots of
a plant. The phenomena are similar: osmosis, filtra-
tion, diffusion of nutrients in the water, and capillary
or climbing action caused by water's surface tension.
The bloodstream becomes at once a storehouse and
a transportation system for the body's foods. The sub-
stances dissolved in it become building blocks for the
growth of tissue or its replacement when "worn out."
Among these are the amino acids or proteins. The
nutrients of carbohydrates, such as glucose, a simple
sugar, are transformed into energy: that is, into mo-
tive power for operating the-organs and moving the
muscles. When glucose is oxidized (metabolized) into
carbon dioxide and water, it liberates calories of en-
ergy. About 60 per cent of this is used for doing work,
which makes the body a great deal more efficient than
a motor car, while the rest is dissipated as heat. When
a fatty acid is broken down, 71 per cent of the energy
goes into work.
This explains why inactive people put on weight.

I i _~_I_ ___ __1 =___Vl__rr_ _I__ _i_ _~_ _~ __~__~ ___V~ _r__i___~j_ I 1~

Modern civilized man may have forgotten what it is
like to starve, but his body has not. When food is taken
into the body in excess of energy requirements-in
excess of the calories consumed by cellular life proc-
esses as well as motor activity-the faithful blood-
streani refuses to throw it away. It thriftily stores the
excess as fatty tissue for protection against possible fam-
ine. When there is no food intake, the fat is drawn
upon to keep the body alive. A few years ago, a man
and a woman, stranded by a plane crash in the Arctic
wilds, survived for more than a month with nothing
to eat but a few lichens and plain water. Both were
plump people when they crashed. When found, they
were thin but not to the point of emaciation; their
body fat had saved them.
But if the fat is never used up for lack of food, it
becomes a danger to health. The bloodstream and
other organs of the body must continually feed and
support extra tissue and cells beyond their normal ca-
pacity. Merely dragging around the extra weight con-
sumes energy and puts a strain upon the heart. We
cannot afford to "pollute" our own water supply and
waste disposal system beyond nature's limits. Just as
scale deposits in water pipes restrict and sometimes
stop water flow, as we shall see later, so with our blood
vessels. We cannot afford to have these "scale" deposits
because they increase restriction of blood flow' in
blood vessels, thus placing a greater than normal work-
ing load on the pumping heart. Here, again, a delicate
balance of dissolved and suspended matter in the blood
fluid must be maintained to prevent deposition of
"scale" in the blood vessels. As every pet owner
knows, one of the surest ways to sicken or even kill
an animal is to overfeed him.
While water is the great regulator of bodily func-

tions, it must itself be regulated within quite precise
limits. If the balance is upset as little as two per cent
from the normal, the body is instantly uncomfortable.
The hypothalamus of the brain secretes a hormone
that regulates'the kidneys and sends a signal to the
nerves at the back of the throat. When the throat is
dry, a man feels thirst. Firstaid for a victim of the des-
ert is to moisten his throat; his pangs of thirst disappear
and he then may be induced to take water in small
quantities rather than gulp it down.
Too little water causes the skin to shrink andacts
- upon the brain to lead to hallucinations. Too much wa-
ter causes nausea and weakness. The water "cures" of
barbarian tribes or of neo-barbarians such as the rulers
of a police state, which consist of forcing too much
water into the body, can lead to mental disturbances,
convulsions, and finally coma and death.
In performing her wonders, nature has provided
other animals with better defenses against an imbal-
ance of water intake. A man fearfully dehydrated by
exertion or by dry desert winds will still excrete a min-
imum of four pints a day until he dies. But not the
camel. During the cool winter months in North Af-
rica, the camel may graze without any watering at all
It gets all the water it needs from the plants it eats. In
1955 a curious scientist, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen of
Norway, decided to see what would happen if the
camel were fed a very dry diet, consisting of dried-
out dates stuffed with peanuts.
He found that the camel could go for several weeks
without drinking, but it lost 25 per cent of its body
weight. When offered water, however, it drank 27
gallons of water in ten minutes, just enough to bring
its weight back to normal. It would take a man several
hours to drink an amount of water equivalent to one-

I I ___ ~ __ _

fourth of his weight; and if it were forced upon him
in ten minutes, he would most likely die.
Contrary to fable, the water is not stored in the
hump (which is pure fat) nor in any one part of the
camel's body. Like the kangaroo rat of the desert,
which imbibes no water at all, the camel manages by
strict economy. For instance, it does not sweat until
absolutely necessary. During the cool nights, a camel's
body temperature drops to about 930 Fahrenheit. Dur-
ing the heat of the day, this will rise to 105 before
sweating begins. The hairy coat of the animal helps
insulate it against heat; when shaved, a camel sweated
60 per cent more. The urine also is scanty. In the case
of the kangaroo rat, which eats only dry seeds, the
urine is only a drop or two, highly concentrated,with
salt. A horse is just the opposite; it consumes huge
quantities of water and excretes freely, but -the ex-
cretions contain a minimum of salt.
These differences are related to the efficiency of
each animal's kidney in ridding the body of excess
salt. A whale, a mammal living in the sea, has kid-
neys so efficient that it can drink salt water-but it
probably doesn't most of the time. Both fresh water
and salt in proper balance are more neatly supplied
by plankton, the microscopic plant and animal life on
which the whale feeds. Even more remarkable are the
salt glands of marine birds. A herring gull carries his
own desalinization plant with him, located in lobes
of the head just above the eyes. When the bird's
bloodstream carries more than about 1% per cent of
salt, the upper limit for its kidneys, the glands begin
to extract a salty brine from the blood vessels. The
brine flows through a special duct to the tip of the
herring gull's beak, and so drips harmlessly off the end
of his nose.

How important water is to human life may be
proven by a single figure. Water is necessary to dis-
solve food materials and waste products and to pass
them into and out of the body tissues. The efficient
carrying of oxygen to the tissues and of carbon diox-
ide to the lungs for exhalation depend on a rapid
flow and adequate volume of blood. Water facilitates
the chemical reactions in the cells upon which vital
activities depend, and itself forms a major component
of the tissues. It transfers heat within the body and
regulates temperature by dissipating or retaining the
heat. To accomplish all this, more water passes in and
out of the bloodstream in one minute than the entire
bloodstream contains.

____ ____ ~__~__J____ __ _~~__


How the process of solution works may be illus-
trated with two familiar examples: sugar and salt. You
add a spoonful of sugar to a cup of coffee, or two
spoonfuls, or as many as six or eight. All the sugar dis-
solves, and the coffee does not seem to rise in the cup.
That is, the volume of liquid does not appear to in-
crease at all. But a scale would show an increase in
weight; the sugar has been "absorbed."
The capacity of water for holding other materials
in suspension is enormous.. Eight pounds of water
(about a gallon) can dissolve 70 pounds of a fer-
tilizer, ammonium nitrate. Its secret is the covalent
bond of the water molecule. Many other compounds
are held together by electrical attraction. In forming
such compounds, one or more electrons have been
'transferred between atoms. This changes the atoms into
what are called ions which means "wanderer" in

In our discussion of the, atom, it was shown that
equal and opposite electrical charges held it together;
positive in the nucleus, negative in the surrounding
electrons. The composite atom is electrically neutral.
But if an atom has lost an electron in the process of
joining other atoms in a compound, or molecule, it be-
comes positively charged. If it gains an extra electron,
the atom becomes negative. The positive atom is a
cation (cat-ion), the negative is an anion (an-ion). The
number of electrons, either lacking or surplus, is the
atom's "valence," which may be a plus or minus
Cations and anions are found in nature. When equal
and opposite in valence, they may combine into a
molecule which is neutral and therefore stable. But
such a union based upon electrical attraction alone
can be broken apart if something intervenes to weaken
the attraction-and water is beautifully equipped by
nature to do just that. Common salt (sodium chloride)
is an example. Its sodium (Na+) cations and chloride
(Cl-) anions have neatly arranged themselves into a
crystal illustrated on page 74.
This arrangement of ions (atoms) comes about by
the balancing of plus and minus electrical forces. The
dipolar water molecule-which is both plus and minus
-moves in and begins to cut out individual ions
from the herd, like a cowboy cutting cattle. As the
ions separate, the salt crystal falls apart. They are
more attracted to the water molecule than to one an-
other. They become dissolved in water, but are not
fundamentally changed. The "dissociated" ions of
sodium and chloride can come together again as a salt
crystal if the water is removed.
The water does not appear to increase in volume
because it merely. fills in the empty space between

_ ____ ____ __ ~ ____ _I~ _

ions in the salt crystal. When salt water is evaporated
the salt remains behind, and the evaporated water
will be fresh water. The same is true if the water is
removed from the solution by freezing. The ice at the
surface of the Arctic Ocean becomes potable water
when melted. Either method-vaporizing or freezing


-has been utilized in modem plants for desalinizing
water. Evaporation of Great Salt Lake, Utah, is
used for commercial production of salt.
Dissolving sugar in water is a little different. A sugar
molecule consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in
the formula C2H2i2Oi. Like water, this molecule is
dipolar-held together by covalent bonds created by
the sharing (not exchange) of electrons. A crystal of
sugar is formed, resembling the "molecular chain"
of liquid water, by mutual attraction among the
molecules. That's why granulated sugar often be-
comes a solid lump if left standing long enough. The

action of water (or even humidity in the air) frees the
sugar molecules to move about and seek new attrac-
tions. The crystal dissolves in water and the sugar
seems to disappear, but the molecules remain intact.
As with salt, water fills in the empty space between
them. Remove the water and the sugar will reappear,
though not necessarily in the original crystal granules.
Of all the substances naturally-occurring on the face
of the earth, only water has this ability to dissolve
so many other things. It is for this reason that pure
water is so rare, if not impossible, in nature. Even in
the laboratory, the purest water does not achieve 100
-per cent purity. Water used in delicate operations like
the manufacture of semi-conductors-which function
only because of an exact proportion of impurities in
the basic material-contains only one one-hundredth
part impurities per million parts of water. (Parts per
million, or ppm, is the standard measure of water
purity.) If you dip a finger into a glassful of this
carefully treated water, the oil and salt from the finger
will render it unfit for use.
Our water descending from the skies as rain or snow
immediately becomes "impure" because of this prop-
erty of universal solvent. Originally it was distilled
water,"distilled from the sea or from surface pools
by the sun's energy. But as the droplets form and fall
to earth, they absorb carbon dioxide, oxygen, dust,
smoke, bacteria, the spores of plants. The droplets
themselves seem to. grow around specks of dust;-the
housewife with clothes on the line rushes to take them
in before the "pure" rain discolors her sheets with
tiny black spots.
However, rainwater is soft water. Our ancestors
used to collect it in barrels for washing with soap,
and women in many parts of the world cherish it for

.__._ ~__ ~

washing their hair. Drinking it is another matter
though. Water requires some minerals dissolved in
it to give it flavor. On the island of Aruba in -the
Caribbean, one of the-first places to use sea water de-
salination on a large scale, the fresh water distilled by
the plant contains almost no impurities; therefore the
authorities run it through limestone beds to give it
a nice, fresh, impure but"natural" taste.
Wherever rain lands, it dissolves still other sub-
,stances in the earth's crust, whether on the surface
or underground. Some impurities appear only as
traces, but every little puddle or pool or river on earth
is a solution of various elements or compounds in wa-
ter. Sea water is quite a concentrated mix, containing
about 35,000 ppm of dissolved solids. Hundreds of
substances, both organic and inorganic, make up the
sum total of the sea's "salt." Some are present in such
abundance as to make "mining" the sea profitable.
One plant on the U. S. Gulf Coast extracts magne-
sium from ocean-water in commercial quantities.
Among the by-products are small amounts of gold,
silver, and other valuable minerals. The only consid-
eration that restricts drawing unlimited treasure from
the sea is the cost.
Before reaching the ocean, part of the. rain water
runs down hillsides and gulleys or across paved streets
as "surface water." On its way to streams, lakes, and
the sea, it erodes the land and hungrily gobbles any
loose molecules in its path. Another part percolates
into the soil. After dissolving various minerals, it may
find its way into the roots of plants-but if the water
has become too saline, the plants will not absorb it. If
they do absorb it, the water defies the laws of gravity
to climb upward to the leaves with the assistance of
capillary attraction, as earlier described, and of osmo-

sis to penetrate membranes. In the presence of chlo-
rophyll in a leaf, the radiant energy of the sun sep-
arates the hydrogen and oxygen of water to help pro-
duce the food for growth which other water will
carry to the rest of the plant. By a somewhat analo-
'gous process within the human body-or within the
body of any animal-the chemical peculiarities of
water are utilized to transform plant food back into
Some of the water does not reach plants in the soil,
but descends further underground and starts to move
horizontally. This "ground water" has acquired car-
bon dioxide from the atmosphere and from decaying
organic matter. It becomes a weak acid which makes
the water even a more efficient solvent. Eventually it
may contain dozens of salts of many elements found in
rocks, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron,
fluorine, silica, aluminum, lead, iodine.
Certain .of these minerals are what make a great deal
of available ground water-from wells or springs--
"hard" water. Such water may be pure enough to
drink, but it forms curds when mixed with soap and
may damage or stain plumbing, household appliances,
and clothing. It is one example of the almost universal
need in modern times for treatment of "natural" wa-
ters. The U. S. Public Health Service's standards for
drinking water delivered to households limit the total
dissolved solids to not more than 500 parts per million
(ppm) if more suitable supplies are available.
One ppm may be visualized as one glassful of water
drawn from a swimming pool one hundred feet long
by twenty feet wide and eight feet deep, containing
about 125,000 gallons. Numerous water sources in the
United States exceed the 500 ppm limit. Deep wells are
often highly mineralized. In sections of the Southwest

_~\~1:1 ___15_1_________ _7 _____ _i_ __~__1___ ___j__ ______ii_\_lC____I___ r___rr__ _7_


and the Great Plains, natives drink well water with
2,000 ppm of dissolved salts. This is enough to cause
distress to the unacclimated visitor, but livestock can
be accustomed to drink water with 5,000 ppm.
Water with more than 1,000 ppm of solids dissolved
in it is generally termed brackish water. This does not,
however, make it useless.. The water used by indus-
try, for example, is about one-fourth brackish rather
than fresh. Even straight sea water may be used for
cooling. The quality depends upon the industry. In
the manufacture of paper, candy, and artificial ice, the
water must be almost pure. A high content of cal-
cium is desirable in brewing beer, but undesirable in
The freak of nature that is the water molecule
presents us with the problem of quality at every turn.
The story of the search for more water is the story of
man's ingenuity in meeting this challenge.


Is there a water shortage in the United States?
Most people think there is. But you will find ex-
perts answering this key question with a resounding
NO! The fact is that the United States, a water-rich
nation, will never exhaust its physical supplies. But
the question is far more complicated.
Thus far we have stressed that water is necessary to
life. So it is. Without water, we die. So do our food
animals, our fish, our food grains and vegetables
and fruits. But total drought is not what most of us
mean by a water "shortage." We are not going to run
dry in the next hundred years, no matter how much
the population increases. Yet water shortages are pos-
sible, and already exist, in terms of the other things
water does for us besides merely keeping us alive.
Good water in abundant supply helps in many ways
to improve our enjoyment of life. It makes possible
personal cleanliness. It flushes away the wastes of cities

and industries. It helps preserve food by cooking and
refrigeration and to cool our homes and working places
through air conditioning.
For recreation, water is well-nigh indispensable.
A vacation resort on a lake places that asset first in
its advertising. Natural waterways offer swimming,
boating, and fishing, and man-made lakes have brought
a boom in water sports to formerly dust-dry interior
counties. Water supports wildlife, the forests, the trees -
and grass and flowers that make our surroundings
more attractive and livable.
The history of the United States has been written
on the waterways of commerce, from the days of the
pioneers heading west to the present. Despite rail-
roads, trucks, and airplanes, shipping by water on the
Great Lakes, the Ohio and other rivers, and on numer-
ous barge canals is greater now than it was before
competitive transportation existed. Early industries
settled where falling water provided power. Today
the water mills of New England have their counterpart
in the huge hydroelectric complexes that have trans-
formed the Tennessee Valley and the Pacific North-
west into giant industrial centers.
Today new elements have entered the picture to in-
volve water more than ever into every aspect of-civi-
lized life. Our standard of living has increased. Carry-
ing water from well or spring, as our ancestors did,
would now be considered a hardship. Hotels which
once advertised "running water" as a superiority in
their rooms now do not even mention a private bath
-it is taken for granted. And industries, which first
found water valuable as a solvent and coolant, have
created new products and processes that boost the
needs ever further upward. Finally, we have chosen
to live in large numbers where natural water supplies
are scant.

Despite our wealth of water, it is unevenly dis-
tributed here as it is throughout the rest of the world.
For purposes of comparison, the U. S. Geological
Survey divides the country into regions, which are
Named either for their general location or for the
great drainage systems which supply most of their wa-
ter. The table on page 83 shows the great disparity in
supply versus use per person.
In this table the average annual runoff (of water
in streams) is used as a rough measure of total water
supply. Where streams flow there must be rain, so the
variation in rainfall from region to region and from
year to year will be reflected in the average runoff.
And although ground water is omitted, river basins
generate much of the underground supply in aquifers,
or water-bearing sand and gravel deposits close to the
stream beds. The numbers show how many gallons
per day of runoff are available to each person living in
the region, assuming the water to be divided equally.
The "Use" column shows the number of gallons
per day withdrawn from the source, again divided
equally among all inhabitants. This water may or may
not be "consumed." Water is often withdrawn, used
for some purpose, and then returned to the source. A
city on a river withdraws drinking water from the
river and returns waste water to the same river. If
this water can be redlaimel and reused, it is not actu-
ally consumed-that is, lost to the region's water sup-
The "Consumption" column is most significant,
since it shows the amount of water withdrawn but not
returned as a liquid, in usable condition, to the same
source. The difference explains some of the paradoxes
in the table.
For example, the average person in arid Nevada

_ 1~:_1___ tj~___~ ____1_ ____ T-~_-XIYI*--rrrl-~-I-- ~li---~--~----~--_~--~ll-l-~i _T-.i- -i--*---.II ii-:-:i.----~. ~1



Gallons Per Day Per Capita
Average Water
REGION. Annual Runoff Water Use Consumption
PACIFIC NORTHWEST 29,300 5,400 1,530
SOUTH PACIFIC 4,100 2,100 840
GREAT BASIN 8,300 5,800 2,740
COLORADO 6,400 7,000 3,50Q
UPPER MISSOURI 4,400 3,700 1,375
LOWER MISSOURI 9,300 640 80
UPPER ARKANSAS 3,300 1,700 965
LOWERARKANSAS 20,300 1,300 220
WESTERN GULF 5,100 2,200 915
EASTERN GULF 14,200 860 75
LOWER MISSISSIPPI 10,300 1,100 275
HUDSON BAY 6,900 260 80
WESTERNGT.LAKES 3,100 1,20Q. 40
EASTERNGT.LAKES. 3,200 1,000 35
OHIO 6,100 1,300 45
SOUTH ATLANTIC 7,500 910 105
CHESAPEAKE 5,800 820 35
DELAWARE-HUDSON 1,300 830 35
NEW ENGLAND 6,700 640 30
TENNESSEE 14,100 1,800 95

(see Great Basin) has more water available to him as
runoff than someone in humid New York (see Dela-
ware-Hudson). That's because the population of
the Great Basin is only a fraction of the teeming mil-
lions in the Northeast. In the Colorado River region, it
appears at first glance that more water is used per per-
son than is available-but in fact, the water of the river
is used and reused continually all the way from Grand
Junction, Colorado, to the Gulf of California in
Mexico. At the same time, these two arid regions are
the greatest consumers of water per capital because so
much of it goes into irrigation.
As we have seen earlier, water is never really lost,
since it finds its way back eventually into the hydrologic
cycle.-However, what happens to water en route is
of crucial importance. Some users remove water from
the natural cycle longer than other users; or they carry
it far from the original source; or they return it to the
source so polluted as to be unfit for further use On
the other hand, farms dependent solely on rainfall
use water without ever removing it from the cycle.
Water passing through the turbines of a power plant is
used without being consumed; it is changed in its
energy potential or possibly in temperature. (Heat-
ing water in a factory affects total supply because, if
the effluent warms a lake or stream too much, it may
disturb the biological environment for plants and
Experts today consider consumption rather than
use the critical figure. They make a clear-cut dis-
tinction between irrigation water and city water for
this reason. Much irrigation water disappears into the
atmosphere by evapotranspiration. It may return as
rainfall, but not necessarily in the same region-it is
more likely to be carried elsewhere by the normal

weather pattern. Therefore it is consumed-and a
California farm consumes enough in a year to flood
every field three feet deep. City water is for the most
part used but not consumed. Though the idea may
sock some people, sewage is merely dirty water that
can be cleaned up and used again.
Looked at this way, there is no part of the nation
where actual consumption comes close to overtaking
water supply, and in most areas only a small fraction
is consumed. Shortages are therefore local in nature.
A great city cannot supply its millions of people by
digging wells under its limited land area; it must find
a place where water is plentiful (and unused), build a
dam and reservoir, and transport the water as far as
necessary by aqueduct. The average figures given in
our table conceal sharp differences between available
supplies and concentrated demands from cities, metro-
politan suburbs, and heavy industry.
A dramatic way to visualize.the distribution prob-
lem is presented by a map on page 86 of U..S. river
systems, with the rivers drawn in proportion to their
This map shows all the rivers in the continental
United States with average flow of i9,000 cubic feet
per second at the mouth. They are remarkably few in
number. Some of our most famous rivers-the Rio
Grande, the Connecticut, the "Swanee" (Suwanee)-
are too small even to appear on the map. Others, includ-
ing the mighty Hudson, Delaware, and Colorado, ap-
pear as mere trickles.
The nation's surface water is concentrated in three
major river systems: the Mississippi, the Columbia, and
the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence. The uneven distribu-
tion-which more or less represents the runoff of all
streams, large and small-reveals something equally
significant. Historically the population of our country

_. _~__ _._ __i__i_

has clustered where the witer is: in the Northeast,
'around the Great Lakes, in the valleys of the Mississippi
and its tributaries. (The Pacific Northwest was an
exception because of its long isolation from the earlier
centers.) Today the pattern has changed.
Only one river of consequence, the Sacramento, is
shown in California, and southern California looks
completely barren. Yet this state, especially in the
southern part, has grown faster than any other and to-
day outranks New York as the largest state in the
Union. The meaning is clear. We no longer defer to
nature to dictate our place of abode; if water is lacking,
we somehow supply it.
About 80 per cent of the people in California live
in the southern two-thirds of the state, which receives
less than one-fourth of the rainfall. Most of the rain
falls in the winter months. Farming in the rich soil
must depend entirely on irrigation during the sum-
mer. Early in the state's history, both the farmers and
the growing cities were impaled on the horns'of this
twin dilemma. First they drew on ground water, but
soon found it becoming exhausted or, near the sea-
coast, invaded by salt water. They were impelled to
embark on the most epic battle for mass movement of
water since the Roman Empire.
The city of Los Angeles reached out hundreds of
miles across sizzling desert to the Colorado River, im-
pounded at Parker Dam. The Imperial Valley tapped
the same source further downstream, at Imperial Dam,
to transform its desert into one of the world's most
fruitful sources of vegetable crops. In the Central Val-
ley project, recently completed, water is moved 500
miles south from the rain-filled upper Sacramento River
to thirsty Bakersfield-in- defiance of the law of
gravity. For, in the southern part of this valley, the

-- :- i~.- --1 --- -- --------- ._I~-------------- -. -- r:- .-*rrr---*l r------~l~-s------l-i ~--_:-7-1;1'-i'



flow of the San Joaquin River is normally northward,
while the project carries it southward.
California has had to pioneer in new techniques for
making water climb across mountains. First, where the
water flows down naturally, it is trapped to generate
power. The water continues on by canal, the power
alongside it in high-voltage transmission lines. At, the
next mountain, the power pumps the water over the
top-over 1,926 feet high in the case of the Feather
River project. California today moves huge masses of
water by an intricate system extending the length of
the state. The flow of some of its canals and aqueducts
equals that of a good-sized river, often flowing uphill.
Still the search goes on. A current scheme calls for lay-
ing a pipeline along the ocean floor, just offshore, to
bring water to the south from the 200,000 cubic feet
per second that flows into the ocean from the Columbia
River in Oregon.
There is no technological limit to what can be done,
as California's example shows. One of the other gigantic
schemes now in the planning stage would carry water
from the rivers and lakes of Alaska and Canada, where
most of it is wasted by flowing into the Arctic Ocean,
all the way through the American West to Arizona
and New Mexico. But the costs are enormous. Also
the competition for water is increasing.
New York City's water story shows how the best
and nearest dam sites are taken first. In each succeed-
ing quest the aqueducts get longer, the reservoirs big-
ger, and the dams higher both in size and in cost. The
early Croton system, from reservoirs about 50 miles up-
state, became so famous that the term "Croton water"
was a nationwide synonym for good drinking water.
Within a generation its capacity was being squeezed;
now New York advanced 100 miles to the Catskill

Mountains. The tunnel carrying Catskill water across
the Hudson River was one of the greatest engineer-
ing projects of its time, and still is the largest siphon.
(Meaning that the water descends undei the river and
up again on the other side by gravity alone, without
the use of pumps.)
Thirsty again, New York began to invade a neighbor-
ing watershed, that of the Delaware River. Too
late, the city of Philadelphia woke up to its own grow-
ing water needs and demanded its rightful share of
Delaware water. New York has had to agree to release
water sufficient to maintain the river flow at a speci-
fied level. But during the recent series of dry years,
the conflict often grew acrimonious.
S Arizona and Los Angeles have had "water wars"
over the Colorado, with mor4 than one skirmish at
gunpoint. Mexico's complaint that the water of the
Colorado, depleted by irrigation withdrawals, had be-
come saline at its mouth, obliged the U. S. Government
to build a canal to Mexico from farther up the river.
Stch disputes can be, and are, adjudicated, but they
point up the practical limits of going far afield for more
surface water. The states of Oregon and Washington
are in no hurry to release their great resource in the
Columbia River for California's benefit; Canada does
not leap for joy at the thought of sending its surplus
flow across the border to the United States.
New York City, despite its foresight, now finds it-
self ringed by other claimants of water, who say to
the city in effect, "Thus far, and no farther." During
the dry spell of the Nineteen Fifties the city turned in
desperation to the Hudson River, a brackish tidal
stream in its lower reaches which, furthermore, had
become an open sewer for the industrial cities along
its banks. A purification and pumping plant was

I -.






built at Chelsea, 60 miles up the river from New York.
When that drought ended, so did the plant; it was dis-
mantled to save costs. Ten years later, in another
drought, it was hurriedly rebuilt to extract 100,000,-
000 gallons a day. Even this aroused opposition. When
a tidal stream like the Hudson (or the Delaware) is
depleted of fresh water, the salt water at its mouth
begins backing up the stream. This is what had dis-
turbed Philadelphia, and now it agonized Poughkeep-
sie and other Hudson River cities.
Where then, in view of these problems of cost and
politics, will more water come from? So far we have
discussed only runoff, or surface waters, the most read-
ily available or at least the most obvious. But another
immense treasureof. water lies underground, built up
incthe course of thousands of years as a by-product of
the hydrolagic cycle. .
The map on page 91 shows where beds of ground
water (aquifers) are known to lie hidden from view
beneath the United States. An aquifer is defined as a
bed that yields water readily to wells. As our tedh-
niques of digging wells improve, and as our knowledge
of geology expands into unexplored areas such as parts
of the vast Western desert, the aquifer map will change.
Ground water does not exist in pools or in rivers
flowing through a cave, but in the rock itself. Certain
types of rock are porous, such as limestone, shale, and
sandstone. The water seeps down into the soil from
rainfall, then finds its way into every crevice or space
between soil particles, obeying the law of gravity.
A bed of loose sand and gravel soaks up water like a
sponge, and will yield it in copious quantities to a
well. Dense rocks such as granite, on the other hand,
can hold water only in thin cracks or fractures. When
the water meets such a watertight stratum, its flow

____._____ .___ .._____ __ I

ceases and it begins to back up toward the surface. The
process may have taken decades or even centuries.
Water found under a desert, for example, may either
have migrated there from a wetter region, or it may
have accumulated before the desert became arid-as
long ago, perhaps, as the last Ice Age.
The map shdws that major aquifers are associated
with great river systems, notably in the Mississippi
Valley-and near the Great Lakes. Those along the
Atlantic Coast were formed by surface drainage to-
ward the sea. Such ground water is automatically re-
plenished as long as the surface flow continues. But in
the western part of the country, the aquifers are not
matched by major surface streams. The Great Plains
area-Nebraska, Kansas, western Oklahoma and Texas
--sits atop a vast supply of "fossil" water. Huge quan-
tities are pumped up for irrigation, and not immedi-
ately (or ever) replaced by natural means.
Large towns as well as rich agricultural communi-
ties exist by mining water out of the ground. Lub-
bock, Texas, would never have been settled in that
particular place without it. In some regions there is
now an overdraft-more water is taken out than can
be replenished by ram or melting snow soaking into
the ground. Theoretically, if the aquifer has its
origin in some place of heavy rainfall, it should be
replenished by nature-but this can take many years.
Even the underflow beneath a great river travels only
a few feet each day, though the surface river may race
by in a torrent of rapids.
Two events resulting from overdrafts account for
some of the water shortages that bedevil us today.
In a place like Lubbock, the water table falls. That is,
the top level of the underground fluid becomes too
deep for existing wells. If the well is sunk deeper, often

at great cost, the water at a lower level may turn out
to be salty. The additional pumping also is expensive.
Along the seacoast-and this is happening to Los
Angeles and to Long Island, at opposite ends of the
nation-withdrawing the fresh water too rapidly
lowers its pressure. This pressure had kept the sur-
rounding sea water from invading the aquifer under
the land. As it drops, salt water encroaches, and the
wells turn saline and useless.
Considering both surface water and ground water,
it is.clear that nature provides the United States with
fresh water in abundance. But the problem is to sup-
ply water in the right places at the right times. That
is accomplished only if enough water is stored, when
available, to be ample for use when needed. There-
fore the so-called water shortage is a deficit in water
A few years back this was neatly illustrated by a dry
spell in Detroit. The city stands on the Detroit River,
draining three of the Great Lakes-the most immense
natural reservoir of fresh water on the face of the
earth. Yet Detroit was obliged to temporarily pro-
hibit the watering of lawns. Not lack of water, but
limited facilities for treating and pumping water out
of the Lakes forced homeowners to let their grass
and shrubs turn brown.
There are remedies for these dilemmas, not all of
them costly. Ground water constitutes the richest re-
source we have, in the opinion of many experts. How
and where it occurs, and how man is only now learn-
ing to exploit it, deserves a chapter to itself.



The potential of ground water as a solution to short-
ages may be gauged by the cost of other methods of
increasing supplies. California, as we have seen, has
virtually rebuilt the geology of the state to carry wa-
ter from north to south. The stakes are great: about
29 million acre-feet a year of northern California
water that otherwise tumbles unused into the Pacific
Ocean. (An acre-foot is one acre of land flooded to a
depth of one foot-the unit generally used to meas-
ure water for irrigation, equals 326,000 gallons.)
When the first waters from the Feather River, in the
north, would reach the Los Angeles area, they would
deliver 4.2 million acre-feet each year. The project
would also create lakes for boating and fishing, pro-
vide some electric power, and help control floods-
but at a cost of more than two billion dollars.
The Canada-to-Mexico project described earlier
was, as might be expected, the brainchild of a Los
Angeles engineering firm, Ralph M. Parsons Company.

Called the North American Water and Power Alliance
(NAWPA), it would channel Arctic river water to
the Canadian prairie provinces, parts of thirty-three
states in the United States, and three states of Mexico.
In Mexico alone, it would irrigate eight times as much
land as the celebrated High Aswan Dam in Egypt. But
the cost? Up to $100 billion for engineering and con-
struction that would take thirty years to complete.
Desalinizing sea water is another answer we hear
much about. The ocean is inexhaustible: "Water, water
everywhere, nor any drop to drink." This paradox of
nature has intrigued-you might even say, irritated
-mankind since very ancient times. Aristotle knew
that "salt water, when it turns into vapor, becomes
sweet, and the vapor does not form salt water again
when it condenses." Ancient Greek and Phoenician
mariners knew how to boil drinking water out of the
sea, and the United States Navy still does. Guantanamo
Bay, the U. S. Naval base in Cuba, has been rescued
from dependence upon either a hostile Fidel Castro
or water brought in tank ships from Puerto Rico, by
constructing a water desalinizing plant.
Most of the world's 200 desalting plants are on arid
islands or desert seacoasts where something else is
valuable: oil in Aruba and Kuwait, the free harbor
at Hqng Kong, the resort attractions of St. Thomas
in the Caribbean. Recently the king of Saudi Arabia
ordered the dynamiting of a pleasure palace of the
former king, Ibn-Saud, to make way for a plant to
distill fresh water for the city of Jidda, at the rate of
1 V2 million gallons a day. But even though improved
technology has lowered the cost from an average of
five dollars per 1,000 gallons to about one dollar, fresh-
ened sea water still costs about three times as much as
bringing natural water to your faucet.
Here are some approximate comparisons in the


____i_ P; _~j_ __C_~_I__ ______1_1_~ ?__~ __:_ I__r____ i__ __~_i

farmer's terms of cost per acre-foot (326,000 gal-

Water delivered 5 miles by truck
Conversion of sea water
Desalting of brackish ground-water
Municipal water supply
Industrial water
Irrigation water (average of $1 to $20)


The "cheapest" water, for irrigation, has its price-
tag determined by necessity. It has to be cheap or it is
not worth pouring onto crops in enormous quantities.
The cost to the farmer generally does not cover the
gigantic investment made by Uncle Sam in such works
as Hoover Dam or Grand Coulee. The farmer may pay
only one-tenth to one-third the delivery cost. Further-'
more, the quality need not be as high as for municipal
drinking water; the same applies to much of the water
used by industry. In the West, over 90 per cent of all
water used is for irrigation; in the East, it is less than
4 per cent. In the East, 80 per cent is used by industry,
only 16 per cent by households. But it is clear that
desalted water is prohibitive in cost except where no
natural supplies are available.
Yes, the ocean holds 317,000,000 cubic miles of
an undrinkable brew. Every quart contains an aver-
age of Iz/ ounces of salt. A desalting plant with a ca-
pacity of 150 million gallons a day would have to dis-
pose of 23,000 tons of salt a day-and if all the salt were
removed from the ocean, it would bury the United
States more than one mile deep in a crust of white.
The technical tour de force of pumping out the sea
fires our. imagination, but it still leaves us with the
basic-and more difficult-problems of water eco-

nomics and management. Conversion of sea water
on a significant scale, the experts agree, is still far in
the future, and may depend upon the harnessing of
nuclear fusion for a cheap source of power.
Ground water is less romantic. It suffers from a
lowly origin, which is meant to imply low in status as
well as in physical location. A rural well took water
from the ground, but this was actually surface wa-
ter that had seeped only a few feet through the soil
When it rained, the level of such a well rose; in a
drought, the level sank. This made shallow wells no-
toriously unreliable. Moreover, as human wastes were
deposited into the same soil, the danger of contami-
nation increased with each year that passed, with each
growth in population and crowding of more people
upon the land.
The artesian well was an improvement upon the
shallow well, and early farmers who had one consid-
ered themselves water-rich. Named for Artois, in
France, where the principle was first observed by
Europeans in the 12th century, an artesian well is a
hole drilled deep enough to escape all surface seep-
age. It passes through an impermeable rock layer and
taps water caught between this layer and another still
lower. The layers, like the walls of a pipe, can hold
water under pressure, which builds up according to
the elevation or grade of the natural conduit. Artesian
wells have been sunk thousands of feet, releasing pres-
sure that shoots the escaping water high in the air.
Artesian water usually is cold, but may also be
hot, as at a thermal spa. When good, it is apt to be very,
very good, having been purified by long, slow seep-
age through rock and soiL But farmers found that
even artesian wells were not inexhaustible,.and that
as fresh water was withdrawn from the aquifer, the

~:___ __~_;~_I~___ _Iiil ___~_ _~ ;_~______ ~__ L__~____ _______~_I _____ ___ _


remainder might be saline. Around the turn of the
century, problems with wells of all sorts caused them
to fall into disfavor in the United States as a large-scale
source of water. We turned to dam-building and stor-
age of stream water, and ground water resources were
largely neglected.
Today ground water is being eyed thirstily by
hydrologists because of rising costs and complications
as-reservoir sites become more and more remote, even
crossing international borders. Desalted sea water could
conceivably provide drinking and washing water
at a price city dwellers could afford, especially along
the coasts-but if used as irrigation water, it would
raise the cost of food and fiber from our farms four
times over.
Immense treasures of ground water have been
building up for thousands of years, and the map on a
previous page is by no means complete. One estimate
is that the nation's stocks equal 10 years of rainfall, or
33 years of average surface runoff. Thanks to new
techniques of underground exploration, developed by
drilling for oil, salt, and other minerals, we have ac-
quired hydrological data that make this source prom-
ising indeed.
In Kuwait and elsewhere on the desert Arabian
peninsula, oil companies have tapped ground water
with deep-well drilling, often in such quantity as to
support whole new communities. Egypt has been
creating new oases in the midst of the Sahara. Even in
humid countries, such as Denmark, the Netherlands,
and Belgium, from 75 to nearly 100 per cent of all fresh
water comes from deep wells. Parts of London, Paris,
and New York have been so supplied for many years.
The new approach goes beyond mere discovery of
ground water sources; it continues with management

of these sources to recharge them with surface water
and utilize the ground as a vast storage reservoir.
Overdrafts of ground water, as have occurred in
many places, are viewed in a more tolerant light today.
The water table may be lowered, to be sure, but
there are remedies now. Water drawn from the ground
is water that would otherwise go to waste. To under-
stand this, we need to know how ground water
develops in any given area.
The water table has been explained as the top level
of water just below the earth's surface. The level of a
lake where it meets its banks shows approximately
where the water table is. Depending upon the slope of
the topography, the water table may either descend to-
ward the lake, seeping water into it, or downward
from the lake, draining water from it. The level in a
shallow well dug at some distance from the lake may
therefore be either higher or lower than the lake level
Wherever the water table encounters a natural de-
pression in the ground, such as a hillside, water may
gush from a spring or create a pond.
A river at its flood stage continually recharges the
underground reservoirs beneath it or alongside it.
When river flow falls off, and the level drops, this
water seeps back into the river and keeps it flowing.
A racing flood also has the effect of scouring the river
bottom free of silt and debris, which otherwise would
hinder absorption of water into the ground.
Most rivers, in fact, are merely the surface indica-
tion of a much larger "ghost" stream that flows slowly
underneath through porous material. Under the porous
material, in turn, will be a valley formed by water-
tight rock. Eventually this water, like the river that
deposits it, will find its way to the sea. If not with-
drawn, therefore, it may be considered gone to waste.


bm. THE






- pomrou tratum


The yield of an underground source depends
largely on the nature of the material that holds it. We
all know that a common sponge can sop up more wa-
ter than a crumpled piece of cardboard. In the same
way, loose or unconsolidatedd" materials like sand
and gravel may yield 1,000,000 gallons a day
if soaked in water. That is because loose stones leave
interstices between them in which water collects.
When beds of sand or mud become hardened with
time, the interstices are squeezed and the material be-
comes a cemented, layered rock such as shale and
sandstone. This "semi-consolidated" layer holds less
water than sand and gravel, but still may yield on the
order of several hundred gallons a minute to a well.
Some rocks are soluble in water, notably limestone
and karst. They sometimes become honeycombed
with water-formed caves and channels. The yield is
rich if the dissolved rock has not loaded the water with
too many minerals to be usable. But the bedrock in
most areas, composed of crystalline granite, schist, or
gneiss, is too solidly packed to hold much water. Such
rocks usually form the watertight stratum over which
the ground water moves.
Sometimes the strata come together in a dead end;
the water stops moving and just sits-sometimes for
millions of years, when it becomes "fossil water." The
scattered aquifers appearing on the map in the Great
Basin (Nevada, Utah, western Oregon and California)
often are dead ends. Some small rivers and the freshets
that pour through dry canyons after a rainstorm sim-'
ply disappear into the ground; and the runoff never
reaches the ocean.
The pressure of the water underground depends
upon the head of water, exactly as in a pipe: the
difference in level between the point where the

____~__ i __I __~ i_~i__?_ __~j_;l~_i__ __ _~ ____~ __

aquifer is tapped and the source of the aquifer on the
surface. The water loses some pressure through fric-
tion--again as in a pipe-so that a well dug far from
the source will not rise to as high a level as a well
closer to the source. This difference is known as the
hydraulic gradient.
Exactly where the water will travel underground
is difficult to determine. That is why drilling right be-
side a productive well may produce a dry one. "Dow-
sers" purport to be able to detect water by the dipping
of a forked stick; and while modern science scoffs at
this ancient necromancy, the dowsers have the law of
probability on their side. Almost anywhere you drill a
hole into the ground, you are reasonably certain of
striking water. The only questions are how deep you
might have to go, how much water the well will pro-
duce, and whether the water will be any good when
you get to it. Unfortunately, these practical questions
are the crucial ones.
Where ground water meets the sea, a pressure bar-
rier is built up between the fresh water and the salt
water. The sea water also seeps into the ground at a
slight downward gradient. The fresh water collects on
top of it in the shape of a lens. When the opposing
pressures reach equilibrium, a slow merging along
the underside of the lens occurs; that is, the fresh wa-
ter mingles with the salt water and disappears into the
sea. If the aquifer is continually recharged from the
topside, the position remains constant. On the other
hand, if the fresh water is withdraw faster than it is
being replenished, the salt water encroaches farther
inland and climbs higher toward the surface.
These shoreside fresh water pools are enormous;
the state of New Jersey alone has estimated its sup-
ply at 20 trillion gallons. If allowed to drift toward the

sea untouched this is wasted water. If pumped out
too heavily, the sea invades. The way to have it both
ways is to recharge the aquifer artificially at least as
fast as the fresh water is withdrawn. This idea, in turn,
has led to the exciting possibility of using the water-
bearing rocks beneath us for mass water storage.
Nassau County on Long Island, just outside the bor-
der of New York City, used to be covered with potato
farms and only a few scattered settlements. Its wa-
ter came from wells. Long Island is virtually a huge
sandbar of scant elevation above sea level, but form-
nate in being the terminus of an underground aquifer
originating probably 50 to 100 miles away in the
rivers of New Englaqd. As people-from the city moved
in and covered the fields with asphalt and brick, the
wells began toturn noticeably saline. As more and
more water was withdrawn from the wells, the barrier
between the aquifer and the sea water was weakened
and the salt water seeped inland.
Hydrologits reasoned that, in addition to the over-
draft of fresh water, the recharge of the aquifer was
being lessened by covering the old farmlands with
streets and buildings. Local rains, instead of seeping
into the soil, were being diverted into sewers-fed
directly into the sea. If this storm flow could be di-
verted back into the soil, perhaps the depletion of the
underground water could be arrested.
During the depression years of the Thirties, federal
money was allocated to a W.PA. project for putting
this idea into practice. A county-wide storm water
drainage system was installed, completely separate
from the sewage system carrying wastes from homes
and factories. The new storm sewers carried rain run-
off water to pools or sumps constructed over beds of
sand where it would seep slowly into the ground. The

i ___1 ~__1__1 __ -Il~i-C1I- :I _._..-__ --------C-.~ -1.gi--1~.---~--- --~--~~i~n~l--~- ~~__. ._ -.I-

plan was successful. It saved Nassau County from pos-
sible disaster, and attracted attentionall over the world.
Today about 50 localities in the United States use
a similar system. In the Netherlands, the city of Am-
sterdam diverts water from the Rhine River into sand
dunes along the shore. The sand soaked with fresh wa-
ter acts as a barrier against intrusion by the sea; even
more important, it stores water for pumping up when-
ever and wherever needed. While the sumps need
some maintenance-like a "dry well," they may be-
come clogged with leaves, bits of debris, algae, bub-
bles of air or gas-the cost is infinitely lower than
that of building a reservoir.
The system has still another advantage: the storm
sumps not only store excess water, they filter it. The
Rhine water at Amsterdam is heavily polluted by
towns and industries upstream, but when pumped up
after, underground storage, it comes out clean. In
Long Island, as a further improvement on the Nassau
County system, sewage effluents are being injected
into pilot wells close to the shore line. If the experi-
ment succeeds, it will increase the underground pres-
sure against sea-water intrusion without polluting
fresh-water wells farther inland. And by the filtering
action of sand, it should also reduce the pollution of
the sea itself along Long Island's famous ocean beaches.
Los Angeles has a similar scheme for the twin pur-
poses of restoring the water table and balking the sea.
Water from the Colorado River in the city's 250-mile
pipeline is needed less in the winter (the rainy sea-
son) than during the parched summer. So during the
winter, excess Colorado water is fed to a string of
ponds to seep into the ground. By the time summer
comes around, the underground reservoir holds
enough extra water-which otherwise would have

poured unused down the Colorado into the Gulf of
California-to supply a million people and their in-
dustries for a year. The water table has risen, in some
places as much as 100 feet. Along the shoreline at
critical points, some of the water is forced into the
ground under pressure. This builds a protective
water-wall against the sea.
Underground water storage looks more and more
attractive as hydraulic engineers find out more
about it. For one thing, there are almost no losses of
stored-water. In dry country, evaporation can take
six feet out of a surface reservoir in a year. Lake Mead,
behind Hoover Dam, loses enough water to take
care of a city of 4,000,000 people, and Lake Hefner,
Oklahoma, steams off almost as much water as it de-
livers downstream. The Geological Survey has esti-
mated total losses from man-made lakes at 12.3 million
acre-feet a year.
Underground reservoirs cost nothing in land, ei-
ther. Bridgeport, Connecticut, supplied by a private
water company, formerly enjoyed an empty hinter-
land behind the city. Since 1900 the company had
built nine dams and reservoirs amid the cool hills and
trees. But today, needing more water than ever, it has
run out of space. The population of Fairfield County,
the famous "Exurbia" of fact and fiction, has boomed
with New York commuters and local industries. They
not only consume water at the rate of 60 million gal-
lons a day: they crowd the remaining stream banks
with their homesites.
The water company made a survey. For $3.5 mil-
lion it could build a new reservoir supplying 10 million
gallons a day. For only $800,000 it could get the same
amount of water from four wells sunk into deep, well-
stocked gravel aquifers which are typical of Connec-

_ _~i? ___:;______~~___; ___:I___ __ ____~ T_1____ __~_____ Il-i----i~--~i il.l 7---~~.-..--

ticm geology. Included in the price was a pumping
system capable of handling 40 million gallons a day,
or the equivalent of 36 additional wells. Naturally,
the company chose the latter plan.
San Antonio Texas, is combining surface reservoirs
with underground storage to escape evaporation losses.
Three dams retain flood waters on the Nueces, Frio,
and Sbinal Rivers. Instead of holding the water above-
ground, the system releases it slowly into a water-
bearing layer of limestone. This "reservoir" is about
175 miles long, 40 miles wide, and 400 feet deep-but
does not disturb normal use of the land above it in any
By letting nature do most of the work, storing wa-
ter underground offers a thoroughly practical answer
to the mounting costs of water supply in mass quan-
tities. In contrast to the modest investments just de-
scribed, the California Water Plan, including the
Feather River system, dwarfs all public works ever
undertaken by a single state. It is bigger than TVA,
bigger than the Panama Canal. The Canada-to-Mexico
plan would be so big it would amount to remaking the
face of North America.
With underground storage, you need no dam, no
land for reservoirs, need not displace people or towns,
and usually require no canals or pipelines of conse-
quence. You just put the water down to spread under-
ground and pump it up wherever the water-bearing
layer extends-up to 175 miles from the source in the
case of San Antonio.
However, ground water used on a large scale puts
greater emphasis on water treatment. Surface water
generally is soft. As a solvent in the ground, water
picks up minerals and even dissolves certain rocks.
This is generally the history of hard water; it has

remained in contact with mineral-bearing rocks for a
long period of time. Excessive iron is also not uncom-
Fortunately, water treatments answering all prob-
lems of ground water are technologically feasible and
relatively inexpensive, whether the water is hard, sa-
line, brackish, or contaminated by industrial wastes.
Home-size water conditioners are as routine in some
areas of the country today as water heaters. Purity in
water is what we make it.

i I_ __ ____Ili__l ~_ _I_~~ __ __ ~ __ __ _I~ LrrY.-~-~T--- ii -~I--- -_ -~---1~7-1~-~ (~1~--1~1 ._... ---- II -I --~

You turn the tap at your sink or faucet. Water pours
out. It is clean, colorless. You know it is safe to drink.
This benefit is not to be taken lightly. Where people
do not have running water in their homes, America
considers them "underprivileged." In many foreign
countries, water pure enough to drink has to be pur-
chased in bottles, like wine. Travelers in Mexico hesi-
tate to drink local water outside of the great cities,
and may do so at their peril Even in Paris and Rome, a
bottle of "mineral water" (which is merely good fresh
water bottled at the spring) almost automatically ac-
companies every restaurant meal.
The average American home uses 60 gallons of fresh
water a day. The cost of this is less than the single bot-
tle of mineral water the Parisian buys for his meal-
only a few pennies. If you had to pump and carry that
much water by hand, as our ancestors did, the job
would eat up the equivalent of one working day each


week. Carrying water for the elephants was tradition-
ally the "hazing" given to a circus rookie.
Our ancestors consequently did not use water as
lavishly as we do-it required too much work. About
L 30 years ago a study made in New England estab-
lished a figure of 20 gallons per person a day as the
minimum heeded to carry out properly the functions
of life. This allowed 1 gallon for drinking and cook-
ing, 6 gallons for laundry, 5 gallons for washing face
and hands, and 8 gallons for two toilet flushes. For 25
gallons extra a week, one could have a Saturday night
bath, either in a tub or as a five-minute shower.
The demand for water in American cities has been
growing in the past decade at the rate of about one
gallon per person per day each year. Contributing to
the increase are the luxury uses of water: frequent
showers, air conditioning, home laundries, automatic
dishwashers, garbage grinders, lawn sprinklers, and
so on. A study made in Illinois some years ago showed
a startling disparity in water use depending on the in-
come group. Low-income families used as little as 10
gallons a day per person; high-income families boosted
this to 52 gallons. Just watering a lawn to keep it cos-'
metic in appearance takes about 10 inches of water
each season in the Northeast-and a lot more in the
Southwest or other less well-watered regions. A
shower or tub bath each day multiplies the old once-a-
week routine by seven.
Other water uses by the community increase the
burden on the average water plant to 150 gallons a day
or more per inhabitant. To about 60 gallons for resi-
dential use, add 50 gallons for industry. Public uses
take 10 gallons more-for street cleaning, fire fight-
ing, public fountains and swimming pools, and for
supplying public buildings. Twenty gallons are classed

__ ___ ____


as commercial: the water a florist uses to freshen his
flowers, the barber to give you a shampoo, the garage
,man to wash your car, the restaurant to pour you a
cup of coffee. Almost every activity of everyday life
takes a certain amount of water.
Finally-and this is a shocker-an average of 10 gal-
lons of water per day per person is simply lost through
plumbing leaks and breaks in the underground pipes of
the water system. Just how big an item this is may be
gauged by Chicago. That city today uses almost ex-
actly as much water as it did in 1933, despite the gen-
eral growth in population and water use, because it
followed through on a program of fining every leak-
Sing water main or valve and repairing it. New York
City, by contrast, loses 30 million gallons of water
daily from leaks.
The first public water systems were wells or springs
controlled by some authority higher than an individ-
ual As might be expected, they appeared in ancient
times in arid,lands where potable water was rare and
precious. In the motion picture Lawrence of Arabia,
an Arab chieftain shoots Lawrence's desert guide out-
-of-hand when the guide drinks from an isolated water
hole. "Why?" Lawrence asks. The chieftain replies,
"It's my well" Such bitter disputes are recorded in
Genesis, where Abraham says to Abimelech, "These
seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that
they may be a witness unto me that I have digged this
As cities grew, individual control of water supply
became impractical. A later book of the Bible, Kings,
tells how Hezekiah "made a pool and a conduit and
brought water into the city of Jerusalem." The great
aqueducts of Roman days were one of the principal
sinews of empire. The mosques of the Moslem religion



are built where there is water, and all who enter must
bathe in this water first. In our own country the first
public water system of which we have an authentic
record appeared in the city of Boston in 1652, only one
generation removed from the landing of the Pilgrims
at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
Tle Waterworks Company of Boston was formed to
provide water for domestic use and fire protection to
the residents of a single neighborhood. The.water was
brought in wooden pipes from springs and wells to a
wooden tank, 12 feet square, where the residents
filled their buckets. So famous did this system become
that the neighborhood became known as the place with
the water pipes or "Conduit Street."
The first supply designed to serve an entire town
came into being about a century later. A frer named
Schaeffer piped water from a spring on his farm down
the main street of a Pennsylvania village, still called
Schaefferstown in his honor. And in Bethlehem, Penn-
sylvania, at about the same time, an immigrant mill-
wright named Hans Christiansen conceived the idea
of pumping water uphill to the townspeople, using the
then newfangled steam engine. This went into opera-
tion in 1755--the first power-operated water system.
But the first waterworks to be developed as a public
enterprise seems to have been that of Winchester, Vir-
ginia, in 1799.
In 150 years following the innovation on Con-
duit Street, only 17 cities in America had acquired a
public waterworks. But after 1800 the idea spread
rapidly. Today such plants supply more than 150,000,-
000 people with billions of gallons of water daily.
Nearly all of the early works consisted simply of a
'short pipe feeding water by gravity from a nearby
flowing source. Generally there was no provision for

-77 7- 7

seasonal storage, and none at all for treatment. In a
sparsely settled country, nature's water was both copi-
ous and pure just as it came from the spring or stream.
But as the country grew, Americans had to relearn
some of the lore of water that other civilizations had
accumulated over thousands of years.
One of the earliest records of water treatment has
been excavated at Mohan-Jo-Daro, ancient capital of
the Indus River civilization in northern India. Thou-
sands of years before the Christian Era, the people
were directed "to heat foul water by boiling and ex-
posing to sunlight and by dipping seven times into it a
piece of hot copper, then to filter and cool in an
earthen vessel." The Egyptians stored Nile water in jars
the size of a man to settle the sediment, and invented
the siphon to draw off lear water at the top. A slave
would suck the water through a tube of papyrus,
knowing that once the tube was full, water would con-
tinue to flow from it if it was lower than the level of
water in the jar.
Military leaders from Cyrus the Great to Julius Cae-
sar carried boiled water for their troops on expeditions
of conquest. During the siege of Alexandria, Caesar
used stills for desalinizing the brackish water of the
Nile delta. Roman water systems included settling
basins and crude filters, called piscanae, to catch peb-
bles and other debris.
Not until the 19th century, however, did the mu-
nicipal waterworks begin to take on something akin to
its modern look. London, England, pioneered in water
treatment when an act of Parliament, in 1852, or-
dered the city supply to be filtered through sand.
Though the reason was unknown, it had long been ob-
served that filtered water not only was clearer and,
cleaner tasting, But safer to health. The explanation

followed soon with Louis Pasteur's epochal discovery
that bacteria cause disease. In 1885, laboratory exami-
nation confirmed for the first time that sand filtering
removed dangerous microbes from water along with
the dirt and debris.
Thus we owe two more boons to the freakish na-
ture of the water molecule. It boils at 212 degrees,
which is not very hot compared to the boiling or ig-
niting point of other compounds, such as wood and
iron, but is just hot enough to kill bacteria. And its
behavior when in contact with particles of sand, as we
shall see later, disperses these enemies of mankind in
large numbers.
In 1872, Poughkeepsie, New York, which got its
water from the polluted Hudson River, was the first
American city to adopt the English practice of sand
filtration. Filters were mechanized for more rapid fil-
tering during the next 20 years A pioneer mechanical
filtering plant at Little Falls, New Jersey, is still in use
by the Passaic River valley water authorities.
Dramatic proof of the role of untreated water in
communicating disease had come in 1892, when the
city of Hamburg, Germany, was struck by an epi-
demic of cholera. Its citizens drank unfiltered waterK
from the River Elbe. Just across the river, the city of
Altona had installed filters--and its citizens suffered no
But while filters remove some germs, they allow
others to pass. In 1900, in America, nearly 100 deaths
from typhoid fever per 100,000 population occurred
every year. Today the disease is rare-fewer than one
person per 100,000 dies of typhoid. Yet how close it
remains to us was shown by an incident in New York
a fqw years ago. Eight Harlem youngsters fished a
floating watermelon out of the murky Hudson, which

.-- -.-----~ -~-~-- ---~~ ~- -- 1---* ~ ---; ---------------- --r-- --------:*------------r--;*,,~ _1_.~,__1--,~-~-,, ---- --. --- ---_~ -*-T-.------..-.-.~..--1--~~----*-1---r -- ~l--------~-l-i

had been labeled by the New York City Board of Wa-
ter Supply as "an open, running sewer."Within a week
of eating the melon, all eight boys had typhoid fever.
The eating of shellfish caught along the city's shore-
lines is prohibited by law.
What licked typhoid, dysentery and other wa-
ter-borne diseases was chlorination. In 1912, liquid
chlorine was first applied to city water to make it ab-
solutely safe. This chemical-again thanks to the pe-
culiar character of the water molecule-has the prop-
erty of remaining germicidal even though mixed with
a lot of water in very small quantities. A single pill of
a chlorine compound purifies the huge Lister bag of
water used in U. S. Army camps. It seems ridiculous
today, but early chlorination was vehemently op-
posed by many elements of the public-just as in later
years fluoridation of water to protect children's teeth
was fought on the ground of interfering with nature.
Today every large city chlorinates its water. But about
40 per dent of all communities and about 75 per cent of
the population, mostly in rural communities or in
households having their own wells, still receive un-
treated water as their sole supply.
The "manufacture" of water fit to drink is a huge
business. About 19,500 American communities have a
waterworks, either public or private, producing 25 bil-
lion gallons a day. These represent an investment ag-
gregating about $50 billion in construction and equip-
ment. In terms of output, we may gauge their relative
importance by this comparison-the average Ameri-
can citizen uses about 1,500 tons of water each year,
but only 18 tons of all other materials necessary for his
existence. Faced with ever-increasing consumption and
more and more complex engineering, financial, and po-
litical problems, no city can afford to be complacent
about its water system.

Since water is never completely pure, even in a
pristine state of nature, impurities must be removed
from it by a.variety of processes. Here we may inter-
ject one point that often escapes attention. Very lit-
te of the water we use is actually drunk-that is,
poured down a person's gullet without being at least
cooked (which is a form of home water "treatment").
Far more water goes into laundering, flushing toilets,
etc, and need not be potable at alL Yet all water in a
municipal system is brought up to potable quality.
To some this may seem a waste. Individual homes or
farms often have two sources of water, one of high
quality for drinking, the other of lower quality for
general usage. The city of Tokyo, Japan, has two sys-
tems of water supply. So do many large industrial
plants. The trouble is that in any mass distribution sys-
tem, individuals cannot be wholly trusted to know the
difference. A child, for instance, may innocently drink
water from a toilet bowl or-garden hose. Strict rules
and training have to be instituted if one source of wa-
ter is safe while the other is not so safe. In America,
where any sort of regimentation is abhorred, we
would find this irksome. We would rather have the as-
surance of good water from any tap and worry no
more about it. We cheerfully accept the cost. If a child
does sneak a drink from the toilet bowl, no harm will
come to him.
What happens, then, to assure absolute safety-as
well as clarity, cleanliness, and good taste-in all the
water you receive, regardless of whether you drink
Sit or pour it over your car?
If the water comes from a surface reservoir, the
treatment begins with a spraying of copper sulfate.
This inhibits the growth of microscopic plants, the
algae or green scum that often appears on a pond.
Most algae are harmless but some are not, and all taste

-- ~~~- ;T-~~.4PFPC.I"IPi -

terrible and smell worse, In many reservoirs the water
also is aerated-blown into the air to fall back into the
lake like rain. This adds to its oxygen content and gives
it a fresher taste. Water left standing a long time, as
happens during seasons of low runoff, can stagnate
for lack of oxygen from the air which running water
accumulates naturally.
The water then passes through a screen to keep out
the fish and any debris, and into a huge conduit. These
central water mains may be 10 feet or more in diame-
ter. The flow may be by gravity from a mountain
source to a city in the plain, but in most places the wa-
ter must be pumped uphill. Mechanical engineering
has contributed some new pump designs, such as the
submersible pump, which permit the lifting or trans-
mission of water to heights at much lower costs than
In the treatment plant several chemicals may be
added. Carefully measured quantities of alum, an alu-
minum compound, usually come first. Alum makes the
mud particles, that cause water to be cloudy, cluster
together and settle to the bottom, a process known as
flocculation. If there has been a heavy rainstorm caus-
ing an inflow of silt, the amount of alum will be in-
creased. Lime and carbon may be mixed in, too, to
help precipitate other impurities or counteract bad
tastes and odors.
All these are thoroughly mixed mechanically in agi-
tating basins or by running the treated water through
a maze of baffles, to allow time for the chemical reac-
tions to take place. Then, in a sedimentation basin, the'
water is allowed to rest, almost motionless, while the
chemically treated impurities sink to the bottom.
The next step is to let the partially cleared water
seep through sand and gravel filter beds. These strain

out the remaining impurities. Clean water is drained
from the bottom of the beds after percolating through
about three feet of filters. Some of it is periodically
forced back upward through the filters to clean them.
The slimy residue that appears, drained off by waste
gutters, reveals how much foreign material the seem-
ingly clear water had contained before filtering. The
city of Baltimore, for instance, filters out 30,000 tons
of foreign material a year.
At this point liquid chlorine is added to the water to
kill harmful bacteria-more accurately, as insurance
against tie possibility that some bacteria had survived
the sedimentation and filtering treatments. The
amount of chlorine varies with the season; in summer
when typhus and other disease germs proliferate, an
additional shot of the grmicide may be necessary. Usu-
ually the amount is so little as to be undetectable by the
most delicate nose, but if the water has been drawn
from a heavily polluted source-such as Philadelphia's
Schuylkill River-its presence will be apparent. Chil-
dren today are growing up with an association of the
odor of chlorine with the pleasures of a swimming
Throughout the treatment process, chemists and en-
gineers are constantly checking the amount and con-
dition of the water by drawing samples, both as it flows
in and flows out. The exact process varies with water
quality at the source. Thus Baltimore's raw water con-
tains only 3 parts per million of suspended impurities,
while Kansas City's raw water contains 800 parts per
million. Both strive to reduce this to one part per 10
million, so little that only delicate instruments can de-
tect it.
If the supply comes from ground water, the pro-
cedure may be somewhat different. "Treatment" ac-

tually starts with the digging of the well. Geologists
and drilling technicians, using modem scientific meth-
ods, such as sending a trace of radioactive tritium
through the underground aquifer, can determine
pretty closely just where to sink a well and how deep
to dig. The hole may pass through layers of soil con-
taminated from the surface, or through a deeper layer
containing unwanted minerals, or even through a
layer of undesirable water before reaching the best
water source. These are checked on the way down by
repeated tests, and the completed well is fitted with
'the proper casings to protect the flow fronmcontami-
nation at the various levels.
Such water often has been so thoroughly filtered
by natural action in the ground that itgneeds only light
chlorination to be declared safe to drink. In simplest
form, the pump that draws the water is equipped with
"a chlorine feeder, and there is nothing else to the sys-
tem but a water tank and a layout of distribution
mains. But in many locations the water is too hard, or
it contains iron that causes discoloration, or it bears
a sulfurous odor. In such cases the treatment plant
may include aeration to eliminate gaseous odors, a
settling basin and filters to remove suspended matter,
and water-softening or demineralizing by diar
agents. Sometimes the water is brackish, calling far de-
salinizing. The latter can be done electrically, by the
process known as electrodialysis, and is economically
feasible where the salt content is not too great and elec-
tric current not too expensive. Webster, South Dakota,
has one of the first such plants producing 250,000 gal-
lons of water a day.
We have learned to take the supply of good water
for granted, because modem engineering has made a

water supply so easy for us to enjoy. Nevertheless, wa-
ter is precious and indispensable, as we learn with a
shock when there is a sudden shortage. Certainly no
one should waste water through negligence or pare-
lessness-yet an enormous quantity vanishes this way
every year.
A single slow-dripping faucet wastes 15 gallons per
day. If the drip is continuous, the waste increases to
25 gallons. If the drops come together to make a con-
tinuous stream, 100 gallons pour into the sewer. A
dribbling toilet might dispose of 400 gallons every 24
Here are some steps recommended by the Ameri-
can Waterworks Association for finding and stopping
leaks in the home:

1. Periodically inspect, all faucets, especially
those not regularly used, as in the cellar or out-
doors. Hot water faucets are particularly vul-
nerable, since the heat rapidly wears out the
washers-and you lose both the water and the
fuel burned for heat.
2. Check toilets by placing laundry bluing in
the tank. If color appears in the bowl, the tank
is slowly leaking.
3. Turn off faucets connected to a garden hose,
a washing machine, or other equipment not in use.
Leaving them on may not only lead to leaks but
gradually cause injury to the equipment.
4. If you have a water meter, watch it for a
while when all taps in the house are turned off.
If the dial indicating "one cubic foot" or "ten
gallons" moves at all, there is a leak somewhere
in the plumbing. By timing the motion of the
dial for one minute, you can tell how much wa-

I-- ...-- ~' -` i ~-- .r; r- i, --.-:n-- 7 -. ~T~-?-* 1L-~K;.:-l~;ii-i.7 I~-i 74i~i~il~- ~-'j-"r7isii~:rc'--~i?-;~- ?II-~------ -..--LTr"~----~'- --- -

ter is being lost. One cubic foot per minute
equals seven and a half gallons.

Besides stopping leaks, everyone can practice a lit-
tle common-sense economy with water without in any
way interfering with the comforts of life. Consolidate
your washing loads, thereby saving 30 to 50 gallons of
water for each non-essential use of a washing machine.
Do the same with your automatic dishwasher. Get
correct information on the watering of lawns and
plants; usually they need a lot less water than you
think. Your State Agriculture Department or county
Agent can tell you how to save both your plants and
your water bills. And don't flush toilets just to get rid
of cigarette butts or tea leaves.
Economies of this nature, including taking showers
instead of tub baths, chilling drinking water in the re-
frigerator instead of letting the tap run, washing
dishes in a basin instead of under the tap, and so on,
saved New York City from possible disaster during
the drought of the Sixties. And when the drought was
over, it was found that water consumption did not rise
to pre-drought levels. Habits of economy remained
with the population; that's'how important these habits
can be.


Shortly after being appointed Secretary of Health,
Education, and Welfare, John W. Gardner took a look
at the worsening pollution of America's rivers, lakes,
and coastlines and said: "We are living in our own
filth." But Dr. Donald F. Hornig, also in federal em-
ploy as a scientific adviser to the President, has de-
clared that city sewage will be, and should be, a major
source of additional water supplies in the future.
These contrasting points of view serve to empha-
size that pollution, a dirty word, need not mean to-
tal loss of a water supply. Whereas most irrigation wa-
ter is consumed-not merely used, but used up by
evapotranspiration-most city water is not consumed.
It is just used, befouled, and returned to nature. It can
be cleaned up and used again. As water experts say,
sewage is more than 99 per cent pure water. Though
our hygienic souls recoil from the thought, most of
the water we drink every day has been used by some-
one else at least once.

C- ----. ---

Some rivers, at some seasons, contain nothing but
waste water effluents from homes and from industries.
Reuse of waste waters, more properly called recycling,
is common practice. Before the Ohio River reaches
the Mississippi, its water has been used for one purpose
or another an estimated total of 3.7 times. The prob-
lem of pollution becomes serious only when the
amount or kind of contaminants overwhelms our abil-
ity to control it.
Ever since mankind set up his abodes near flowing
water, the easiest and cheapest way to get rid of wastes
has been to dump them into streams or lakes to flush
them away. If people further down the river or else-
where on the lake must drink from water containing
these wastes, a theoretical pollution problem immedi-
ately arises. But in practice, the pollution may be,
and often is, of no consequence. Fresh water has a re-
markable ability to clean itself.
On a shoulder of Mt. Washington in New Hamp-
shire, the Appalachian Mountain Club maintains a hut,
or overnight accommodation for hikers, called Lakes
of the Clouds. The "lakes" actually are two bathtub-
sized pools in a tiny, ice-cold stream that trickles out
of the high mountain rocks. A sign is posted between
the pools. The upper pool is for drinking; only the
lower pool may be used by the hikers for washing.
Thus the drinking supply is kept free of "pollution."
But as the stream leaves the washwater pool and con-
tinues down the mountainside, no warning signs are
posted. Within a few yards, by natural action alone,
the polluted water has been restored to a quality good
enough to drink.
*What happens is this: The motion of running water
stirs up the waste matter, breaking it into particles, set-
tling it as sediment, or dissolving it. Harmful liquids

are quickly diluted in a large lake or sea until they are
made weak and harmless. Even more remarkable, wa-
ter supports a whole world of living organisms that de-
vour waste products with a voracious appetite. Water
absorbs oxygen from the air, and water plants produce
more oxygen by the process of photosynthesis. The
oxygen acts on organic materials (those derived from
living things), oxidizing or "burning" them down to
carbon dioxide, "ash," and water. Oxygen also sustains
fish, insects, and microbes. The bacteria, especially,
consume sewage by combining it with oxygen, leav-
ing harmless end products.
The key to self-purification is the amount of oxygen
in the water. If the river is overloaded with wastes,'if
too much is dumped within too short a time, it suffers
from indigestion. The oxygen supply runs out, and the
more sensitive organisms die. The fish are the first to
go. When oxygen content of the water drops below
four parts per million, they smother to death and are
seen floating on the surface. The simpler forms of
life last a little longer, going down the scale from wa-
ter plants to algae and plankton to diatoms and bac-
teria. Finally only anaerobic bacteria-those that thrive
without oxygen-remain. When they take over, the
water becomes septic and noxious, foul with bad
smells, slimy scum, and thick, greasy mud.
If the pollution is halted, a river will recover in time
as new quantities of oxygen-bearing fresh water move
,in. Unfortunately, man today can effectively "kill"
some bodies of water, such as a lake with only slow
currents in it. The process is known as eutrophication,
meaning an excess burden of nutrients. Nitrates and
phosphates, the same chemical compounds that all
crops need to grow, are present in concentrated quan-
tity in sewage and in agricultural fertilizers. When

i __~_ ____ T1_ _Ir_~__I______ 1_~ _:__ __/_________11 _~_~_i~r ______ __ _~_

these drain into a lake, the plant life multiplies on the
unnatural feast. They use up the oxygen in water
faster than ever, throwing the delicate balance of
aquatic life out of whack. Once all the living space is
occupied by green scum, "green hair" matted to rocks,
and the like, the change may become permanent. No
matter how much fresh water comes in, the chemical
digestive process may nevercatch up.
These facts indicate why pollution became a press-
ing problem in America only as the population be-
came more and more concentrated into limited space
-in cities and suburbs as compared to the ruralism
characteristic of the nation only a generation ago.
When organic wastes are well scattered in space and
in time, the water more or less takes care of itself. Rel-
atively simple treatment with filtering and chlorination
remains adequate to render "used" water reusable.
But when monumental rivers of dirty water pour into
one place at the same time, nature throws up her hands
and givesup.
This has already happened, and on a large scale. The
omens for Lake Erie, sickest of the Great Lakes, are
very poor. Through eutrophication, even though fed
by the second largest stream of fresh water in North
America, the relatively shallow lake may have passed
the point of no return. The heavily populated indus-
trial states along its shores face the prospect of putting
up a billion dollars apiece for pollution control that
now may merely arrest the process but not effect a
complete cure.
One reason is that even treated sewage continues to
contain nitrates and phosphaes. Only the most ad-
vanced treatment plants have developed special filters
and activated carbon units which remove them. One
of the threatened lakes, Tahoe on the California-Ne-

vada border, has had to install this equipment as resort
developments burgeoned along the shores. The crystal
clarity of its once celebrated waters is no more.
Industries also disgorge organic wastes, and at twice
the rate of all municipal sewage combined. Your
drinking water may come from a river into which
steel mills have pbured pickling, liquors, paper mills
have disgorged wood fibers, or slaughterhouses have
dumped the stomach contents of animals. Inorganic
wastes, such as metals from an automobile or paint fac-
tory, complicate the matter further. Urban popula-
tions daily produce about 120 gallons of waste per cap-
ita, not all of which is the raw sewage most of us think
of first and with the greatest repugnance. It may also
contain paper scraps, foaming detergents, toxic chem-
icals such as pesticides, oils, grease balls as big as a fist,
acids from mines, salt brines from oil wells. Even heat
is a pollutant; water used for cooling rises in tempera-
ture and may disrupt the natural cycle of life when
returned to a river.
What is the answer, and how can experts say that
so foul a brew still is usable water? The real trouble
is that conventional methods of sewage and water
treatment do not always cope with today's contami-
nants. Household detergents are only partially re-
moved; their foaming on surface waters often is the
most obvious sign of pollution. Oils and greases of any
kind, insoluble in water, make the stream unsightly
and retard plant growth by blocking the passage of
light. They may destroy vegetation on the banks, in-
terfere with natural aeration of the water, and kill
the fish. Other insoluble materials, such as mineral tail-
L ings, can cover the bottom of a stream, ruining the
spawning grounds of fish and smothering the garbage-
eating microorganisms. Some of the synthetic miracle

____ ._ __ __ __ __ __


chemicals, which have brought about a revolution in
industry, medicine, farming, and the clothing and
other objects of everyday life, are so impossible to dis-
solve that, according to the U. S. Public Health
Service, they can travel hundreds of miles in a river,
pass through a treatment plant, and still show up in tap
The answer, of course, is to remove as much waste as
possible before it enters a stream. For example, a metal-
finishing, plant can remove dissolved metals from its
rinse waters by exchanging them through chemistry
for harmless gases. The dumping of raw (totally un-
treated) sewage can no longer be tolerated at all-
although the cure for this inherited evil is a long,
slow process. Old treatment plants can be modern-
ized to deal with new types of pollutants. New indus-
trial plants can have proper waste disposal built in as
part of their equipment. But the modernizing of older
treatment plants and factories is a costly business. The
pollution problem has grown to such extremes in so
many places that it will cost at least $40 billion over the
next ten years to clean up and police our streams-a
most conservative estimate.
The 6ther part of the answer-why polluted water
may still be a major water source-lies in the increas-
ing success of treatment methods. Basically, the process
is identical to the purification of water in a water-
works, except that the amount of foreign matter to be
removed is larger, and the kind of waste material more
Ordinarily, the raw sewage first is pulverized in a
device called a comminutor, which works something
like a giant kitchen blender. If this is not necessary or
feasible, if the debris is not too hard or coarse, the
sewage may simply be held in a clarification unit which


____ __ ___I___ __ __

allows the sludge to settle. The mixture then is "ac-
tivated." Bacteria which feed on organic matter, the-
same bacteria that help purify a natural stream, are in-
jected and oxygen is added by means of aeration. This
may be done with whirling propeller blades or simply
by blowing air into the water to create millions of tiny
In a settling basin, heavier sludge falls to the bot-
tom and is either removed or pumped backward into-
the system for another spell of aeration. Meanwhile the
clearing water at the top of the basin pours off into a
sand filter. After filtration, the water is clear and clean;
with chlorine added, it is now fit to drink.,
Lest the latter seem like a disgusting thought, it's nec-
essary. to appreciate advances in the modern science of
water conditioning. Even the early practitioners of
this alchemy were not entirely sure of themselves, but
now they are. Back in 1956, the town of Chanute,
Kansas, faced disaster during a drought when their
river all but dried up. They decided to recycle their
* sewage from the treatment plant back into the water
system via the filtration plant. This went on for sev-
eral months. Though the scheme was primitive in
comparison to today's technology, it worked. People
drank the water; it was safe. Its taste was another mat-
ter; it smelled musty and in the laundry turned white
sheets a pale brown. Today, believe it or not, such wa-
ter could be purified to be fully palatable as well as
non-injurious to health.
Santee, California, a town in a dry canyon near San
Diego, uses reclaimed water in an ingenious way. Af-
ter sewage is treated by the activated sludge method
described above, the water effluent is fed into a hold-
ing pond and held there for 30 days to acquire more
oxygen from the air. The public is barred from this

pond; its outlet is a station which chlorinates and
pumps the water uphill to a spreading area near the
head of the canyon.
Here the water is allowed to percolate slowly into
rocky, sandy soil A bit further downhill, it comes to
the surface again as a small clear stream. This forms a
series of four good-sized lakes, of 6 to 13 acres each.
And here the public is made welcome for boating,
picnicking, or playing on an 18-hole golf course ir-
rigated by the last lake's overflow.
At first the lakes were barred for swimming, and al-
though fishing was permitted, regulations required
that any fish caught be returned to the water. But soon
it was noticed that waterfowl and other wildlife were
making the lakes their habitat. Repeated microbiologi-
cal studies showed the water was pure. Now people
swim there and can keep, and eat, the fish they catch.
Although the 12,500 Santeeans are well aware of the,
source of their recreational water, they have enthusi-
astically accepted it.
Industries also have learned to use reclaimed water,
especially where potability is not essential. There are
many large industrial plants that require upward of
50 million gallons of fresh water a day-more than
cities like Miami, Toledo, and Sacramento. The huge
Bethlehem Steel Company plant in Baltimore, there-
fore, taps the city's sewage treatment system for 150
million gallons per day. In water-hungry Texas, mu-
nicipal treatment plants at Amarillo, Big Spring, and
Odessa all have similar arrangements with industry.
When the Ford Motor Company built an automobile
plant near Wayne, Michigan, it found itself in need of
more water than all the rest of the towncombined. Ac-
cordingly, a built-in "sewage" system was added to the
factory plans. Industrial wastes, such as from painting

cars, are sludged out. The reclaimed water flows back
into the factory for use over and over again. Ford's
-drain on Wayne's normal supplies is negligible; rela-
tively little fresh water flows into the factory, and
practically none flows out.
When we look for clean water, it should be obvious
now that we may find it in unexpected places. We go
back-to one of the first statements in this book-that
water is a manufactured product, and that purity is
what we make it. Water that is tailored for each job or
each human need generally is less costly, easier to ob-
tain, and more within reach than naturally "pure" wa-
ter piped, say, from Great Slave Lake in Canada to
Phoenix, Arizona. Let us remember, again, that even
rain, the purest water found in nature, contains enough
dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide to make it cor-
Here is a list of impurities that all natural waters,
rain and snow, and all municipal water supplies, con-
tain. Not all are harmful, and some are beneficial-but
the same impurity can be harmful to one user, benefi-
cial to another. All can cause problems unless care-
fully weighed against the use intended. For example,
sediment content of 10 parts per million is considered
tolerable for drinking water. But a mill manufacturing
high grade white paper needs water containing not
more than 5 parts per million.

Turbidity (sediment content)
Turbidity in water is the amount of suspended in-
soluble matter. The coarser particles are known as
sediment because they settle to the bottom in stand-
ing water. Ground water usually rates almost zero in
turbidity, while a muddy river may rate as high as

- ~~:-'- ----;. ..~. --

_1 _

- *1 ~- .-

60,000 parts per million. Turbidity and sediment are
objectionable for practically all useq. Municipal plants,
remove them by treatment with alum, carbon, and
sometimes iron, followed by filtering.


Decaying vegetation often gives surface water a
distinctive color, especially noticeable in forest ponds
or in swamps. A standard unit of color has been estab-
lished for rating comparisons. Up to 10 units will not
be visible in a glass of water, but 20 units-that is, a
noticeable color-are the maximum permissible for

Microscopic growths of innumerable varieties occur
in water that may appear clear and odorless. They
thrive in sunlight, therefore are typical of surface wa-
ters but are seldom found in uncontaminated deep
wells. They include diatoms, molds, bacterial slimes,
algae, iron and manganese bacteria, sulphur bacteria.
Some cause diseases, the most dangerous being the
tiny viruses that slip through ordinary filters. Among
them are the carriers of infections such as hepatitis,
smallpox, yellow fever, typhus, polio, measles, mumps,
and the common cold. Algae can cause intestinal up-
sets or allergic reactions, such as asthma. They are also
responsible for unsavory odors.
Recent experiments have been aimed at introduc-
ing harmless viruses to attack the algae now over-
whelming lakes such as Erie and Ontario, together
with a new type of resinous filter to remove the viruses
from the water before drinking it. While water-borne
disease problems have been- largely contained in this

nBow PURE IS "iPuEl"? 1- 31
country, micro-organisms affect the taste and smell of
the drinking water of Buffalo and other cities. Some
produce clogging deposits.

This recently controversial chemical occurs natur-
ally in water in many places, especially from ground
sources where it is picked up from fluoride-bearing
rocks. The average content is much less than one part
per million, and the U. S. Public Health Service sets
one and a half ppm as the maximum for drinking wa-
ter. Fluoride content as high as four ppm has occurred,
however. A tiny trace of it appears to help prevent
tooth decay in children. Many communities where the
natural water supply is fluoride-free now add it arti-
ficially in small amounts. The practice is statewide by
law in Connecticut.

"Hard water" refers to water that contains ions
which react chemically with soap to form an insoluble
curd or scum. In the home, it may account for deterio-
ration of pipes and water heaters from the forming of
scale when the hard water is heated. It also results in
the consumption of unnecessarily large amounts of
soap and detergents, stains on freshly laundered clothes
or newly washed dishes. Grandmother used a rain bar-
rel to supply her with soft washing water-especially
to keep her hair from looking dull and dingy, and to
prevent a ring around the bathtub. Hard water affects
the taste of food and sometimes its looks-green peas
cooked in hard water shrivel up in a most unappetizing
The hardness elements in water are salts of calcium

and magnesium in the form of bicarbonates, sulfates,
chlorides, and nitrates. Calcium salts are the princi-
pal offender, and the degree of hardness is measured in
parts per million of calcium carbonate equivalents. The
hard stony deposits that clog water systems and cause,
damage to industrial equipment are so widespread a
problem, especially in ground water areas, that water-
softening has become virtually a "must." Some munici-
pal systems partially soften water with lime and soda
ash. Home ion-exchanging conditioners, recharged
with a special form of ordinary table salt, are increas-
ingly common.


Mine drainage and wastes from certain industrial
plants may contain sulfuric acid or sulfates of iron,
aluminum, and manganese. Such waters are corrosive
and unfit for any use until heavily treated, generally
with alkalis, to counteract or remove the acids. This
has become a major problem in areas of Pennsylvania,
West Virginia, and Kentucky where abandoned coal
mines fill with acid-bearing water which seeps or even
flows into sources-of fresh water supply.


One of the more common compounds in the earth's
crust, silica is the essential ingredient in glass. Occur-
ring in natural waters in amounts ranging from one to
*over 100 ppm, it is principally a problem of industry.
High heat in steam boilers causes glass-like deposits to
form on turbine blades and other equipment.

18W PURv IS "PURe"?

Hydrogen Sulfide
This is the "rotten egg" smell given off by stagnant
waters containing sulfur, and sometimes by spring wa-
ter from sulfur-bearing rocks. The latter often is
highly prized for bathing at a medicinal spa--but the
water is corrosive to most metals.

Ferrous bicarbonate is an iron salt that dissolves in
water, leaving it clear and colorless. On exposure to the
air, the water becomes cloudy and will stain your
sink, bathtub, or laundry with a yellow or reddish-
brown rust. As little as three-tenths of one part per
million of iron causes trouble; up to five parts per mil-
lion are not uncommon in ground waters.

Carbon Dioxide
If water from a deep well bubbles with gas when
drawn from a tap, chances are it contains a high con-
centration of carbon dioxide. Most well waters con-
tain from 2 to 50 parts per million. Less common in
surface waters, it does occur-generally as a result of
pollution or of eutrophication. Carbon dioxide acceler-
ates corrosion and rusting.

Minor Impurities
To complete the list of significant impurities in wa-
ter, we should add salts of sodium and potassium, man-
ganese, methane, oxygen, and nitrogen. They are
troublesome only in special cases. For instance, dis-
tilled water needs to be completely free of the salts;

7----T----L,.. ~. :r-~ r--;: ;-r~--~-;-:::l-----^7^l.i.. I

and manganese, though rarer than calcium, can form
deposits when large quantities of water flow through
a pipe such as a municipal main. Methane is inflam-
mable. Too much oxygen can corrode iron, zinc,
brass, and other metals.
While natural water can sometimes be used without
treatment, such luck is more and more rare in our
- growing country. If you have a private water supply,
you should have samples analyzed regularly. Water
from a deep well usually remains uniform in quality
and in temperature; but if you sink a second well
nearby, the analysis may come out entirely different.
Rivers can change markedly; thus the hardness of Mis-
sissippi River water at Memphis ranges from 108 to
184 parts per million through the year, and turbidity
can increase 400 per cent.


Thus far our story of water has of necessity consid-
ered shortages and pollution as problems of society as
a whole. Your community waterworks, or your state
and federal governments, locate, supply, and safe-
guard water for public, use, and your interest is that
of one citizen among the many equally affected. Here
we may pin down more personal water problems. If it
were up to you, could you find a water supply for
your home, assure its safety and, if necessary, condi-
tion or "manufacture" it up to the desired quality?
Most rural homes and many in outlying suburbs
draw water from individual wells, springs, and cisterns,
or from local lakes, ponds, streams, and canals. Any of
these waters may be unsafe or otherwise of poor qual-
ity. Water coming from surface sources needs al-
ways to be regarded with great suspicion. Before tap-
ping it, one should seek advice from a local health de-
partment and should probably have a sanitary survey

___sl__~_l_ ___L__il_~__~_*_ __


Finding water underground is an art requiring the
service of geologists and experienced well drillers. A
producing well may therefore be relatively expensive,
because of survey and drilling costs and the risk of
digging a dry hole. Dowsers to the contrary, there is
no sure answer to the question of where to dig.
Ground water seldom flows in a narrow channel, like
a river, but acts more like a submerged lake filled to the
brim with sand and gravel or other coarse materials
that leave room for holding water amidst the par-
ticles. .
If this aquifer lies under a solid layer of rock or tight
clay, its water may originate a considerable distance
from your well. When the source or catchment basin'
is at a higher elevation, the water will be under pres-
sure just as if confined in a U-shaped pipe. When
water in a well rises higher than the normal surface, or
Water table, it is known as artesian water.
Occasionally water will collect in pools in under-
ground caverns formed by dissolving the rocks (lime-
stone caves are the commonest example). In that case,
look out. The water may be clear, cold, and fresh-
tasting, but it is more likely to be contaminated than
typical ground water that has filtered through thou-
sands of feet of fine-grained material. In effect, it is
surface water that has disappeared through sinkholes
into the cavern. Dead animals, garbage, and trash
dumped into sinkholes pollute such water with little
chance of repurifying with oxygen, sunlight, and fil-
Remember that you cannot tell good water by its
taste, odor, or appearance alone. Pure distilled water
has a flat Taste, and must be doctored a bit before it be-
comes pleasant to drink. Any well should be protected
at the top to prevent the entrance of surface water.

Water that has seeped down through less than 10 feet
of compact earth may be considered surface water;
it requires about that distance for reasonable filtering.
Drilled (usually artesian) wells are more likely to
yield safe water than shallow wells, which include
those that are dug, bored, or driven.
S Any source of water may become contaminated by
floods, a heavy rain that causes a sewage treatment
plant to be by-passed (the storm water washes raw
sewage directly into the outflow), by accidents or by
carelessness during construction and repairs. It is al-
ways a good idea to disinfect the water source im-
mediately after such events.
S Chlorine disinfects water, by oxidizing all the or-
ganic matter in it. Your local health officer will tell
you how much to add. What remains after the bene-
ficial biochemical reaction is completed is known as
residual chlorine. A residual up to one-half part per
million is harmless and satisfactory for domestic water;
there must be some residual chlorine or the water has
not been made completely safe from infectious bac-
teria. Simple tests are available for checking the chlo-
rine residue after treatment.
Another way to render water safe is to boil it for at
least five minutes. Or you may add two drops of tinc-
ture of iodine (seven per cent) per quart of clear
water and allow it to stand for half an hour.
Water from a spring may or may not be safe, de-
pending on the source, the filtering qualities of the soil
through which it passes, and the handling of the
water after it bubbles out on the surface. The same
safety precautions should be followed, with spring
water as with well water. How to pump the water into
a house, provide tanks for storage, etc., will vary ac-
cording to local conditions. You are lucky if the source


is high enough for gravity feed, or if well water
comes up under its own pressure, Sound engineering
advice on the layout of a home water system is available
from the Department of Agriculture in Washington or
from your state government and county agent.
Hygienic safety may be only the first step in condi-
tioning water up to proper quality. If it were possible
to connect a household tap to the clouds, there would
be no quality problem. But as we have seen, water al-
ways is received secondhand where it happens to be
placed by nature, or even thirdhand if it has previously
been used by human beings. High in the upper at-
mosphere, where water originates as almost weightless
vapor particles, it is similar to distilled pure HsO. As
soon as it condenses, however, falls through the air,
touches the ground, or seeps into the soil, it ac-
cumulates many types of mineral, gaseous, and bac-
terial impurities.
In nature, fortunately for us, the impurity-laden
water is cleansed when it evaporates and returns to the
atmosphere in the never-ending hydrologic cycle. If
not for this circumstance, all water on earth would
become progressively more impure-like sea water-
to the point of obliterating all animal or plant life on
land. When we artificially condition water for im-
mediate use, we are simply speeding up the natural
purification processes through man'S ingenuity.
Some impurities-turbidity, color, odor, taste-are
readily recognized. Others are invisible and known
only by their effects. Water as provided by nature is
not always best; in fact it rarely is. Practically all water
for household or commercial purposes needs some re-
finement or treatment. Water conditioning is that
branch of engineering that determines the chemical
characteristics of a raw water, and modifies these char-

acteristics' so as to provide water wholly satisfac-
tory for any specified application.
Municipal water plants clean up water, chlorinate it
for safety, and sometimes partially soften it. They
may also fluoridate it for dental protection. Even this,
however, may not be enough for you. Water supplies
usually contain appreciable amounts of several differ-
ent impurities, further complicating the problem. In
some areas, people have lived so long with impure
water that they find it difficult to consider the con-
taminants as anything but natural ingredients.
The most common of these problems is hardness-
and this word requires exact definition. It is estimated
that 85 per cent of the population of the United States
receives water that is sufficiently hard to be improved
by softening. What constitutes hard water may be par-
ticularized, by the following scale in grains per gallon.
(One avoirdupois grain per gallon equals 17.1 parts per

Soft water
Slightly hard water
Moderately hard water
Hard water
Very hard water

0 to '/2 gpg
to 3 2 gpg
3Y2 to 7 gpg
7 to 10'2 gpg
over 10V2 gpg

0 to 8.5 ppm
8.5 to 60 ppm
60 to 126 ppm
120 to 190 ppm
over 190 ppm

The .85 per cent of the population previously men-
tioned receives water from supplies exceeding 3 Y2 gpg
of hardness. In most hard water areas, the range is from
7 to 20 gpg, and in some areas as much as 50 gpg. In
city water, the U. S. Department of the Interior re-
ports the average hardness in 1,315 metropolitan cen-
ters to be 8 grains per gallon.
Actually, a person's attitude toward hardness de-
pends less on scientific measurement than upon his
past experience. If one has been brought up on well

i -- --;--- ------ ----------- 1 -- ------ r-


---- -.-F.;.p.. ~-.- -- :------ --r-.--:Ir-

watercontaining from 30 to 40 grains of hardness and
moves to the Great Lakes area, the water (7 gpg) will
appear refreshingly soft by comparison. But if one is
used to the really soft city water of New York-less
than 1 gpg-he'd find the Great Lakes water hard
(and hard to handle). Generally speaking, municipal
water softening is impractical beyond reducing the
hardness to about 5 grains per gallon.
In the home, however, a modern water-softener
will effect practically complete removal of hardness
through the ion-exchange method. The method will be
explained in detail later; but why is this desirable? It
is a matter of economy where the damage caused by
hard water is measurable in dollars, but beyond this,
there is an esthetic value that can be measured only
in enjoyment of life.
Grandmother needed no proof of the value of soft
water; she knew there was quite a difference between
the water she pumped from her well and that which
collected in her rain barrel. She definitely preferred
the latter when it came to keeping anything clean.
Mother-Grandmother's daughter-was aware that
water provided by the municipality, if too rich in
hardness-producing minerals, gave -her the same prob-
lems as the well on the old homestead. She used more
soap, which helped little. Bath water left rings in the
tub. And her husband complained of corrosion and
clogging in the house pipes, of the wearing out of the
hot water heater.
About 30 years ago, for the first time, it became pos-
sible to install a compact device in the home which
completely eliminated the problem-reduced hard-
ness content of water to zero. At first the water soft-
ener was regarded as a luxury, nice to have and use-
ful though not as essential as, say, a refrigerator,

washir-dryer, air conditioner, or TV set. But as time
passed, studies and surveys began to educe such re-
- markable findings as these:
1. Water municipally softened to 5 grains per gal-
lon is still hard enough to waste from 35 to 45'per
cent of the soap used-that is, about 7 Vz pounds of
soap per 1,d00 gallons, which is the equivalent of
about 25 loads in an automatic clothes washer.
2. Zero-soft water in institutional laundries added
85 per cent more usable life to washable bed linens
and fabrics.
3. Homemakers in a study by Ohio State Univer-
sity reported that they saved an average of one and
a half hours a week in cleaning time.
4. The elimination of scale deposits from dish-
washers, clothes washers, and hot water.heaters cut
maintenance costs and lengthened the life of the
So much- for money savings. Here are some of
the esthetic advantages:
1. In laundering tests conducted by the Morton
Salt Company, soap in soft water removed 100 per
cent more soil than in moderately hard (10-grain)
water. Synthetic detergents removed about 50
per cent more soil. The effectiveness of both soap
and detergents went down as the water hardness
went up to 15 to 20 grains per gallon.
2. Shaving tests by the same company, using
mathematical analysis to weigh the subjective re-
sponses of the.test shavers, showed a very marked
improvement in comfort when soft water was
used. Just to pin down this result, the stubbles were
measured under a microscope. Soft water gave a

closer shave! The difference was about .00625 of
an inch, which does not seem like much, but makes
the difference between being clean-shaven and
sporting a five o'clock shadow. This pointed up a
fact often overlooked: that is, regardless of the
kind of lathering agent used, it's the water that
does the job. The shaver is offered all sorts of prep-
arations guaranteed to soften his beard; their
actual function is to hold water in contact with
the hairs long enough to soften them for clean,
close cutting. The water, not the soap, is the ul-
timate key tosuccess.
3. Various other studies showed that windows,
mirrors, and other gleaming surfaces were easier to
keep clean, as were sinks, lavatories, and bathtubs;
and that the use of abrasive cleaners was kept to a
minimum with soft water.
4. White clothes will be whiter, colored fabrics
brighter, and all fabrics will be softer and more
5. In personal grooming, besides shaving, soft
water leaves the skin softer and often minimizes
itching or irritation. The hair is softer, shinier,
and easier to manage.

As the Morton Salt people proclaimed: "Every-
thing's a little nicer in a soft water home."
Since, even with automatic washers, women spend
from two to six hours a week keeping clothes laun-
dered and ready to wear, any improvement is a major
one. Producers of cleansing agents have tried to over-
come problems of poor quality water by creating the
synthetic detergents (called syndets), and washing
machine manufacturers have designed extra "cycles"
for the same purpose. But it is the water, in combina-

tion with laundering agents, that dissolves, suspends,
and carries away the soil and suds. If water quality is
poor, the only real remedy is to remove, or neutralize
impurities through water conditioning.
For best laundering both the hot and cold water
should be completely softened, safe in terms of bac-
terial count, and free from cloudiness, coloi, iron, or
the sulfides of manganese and hydrogen. If water is
acid or excessively alkaline, measured on the pH scale,
it should be neutralized. If corrosive, it should be
treated to prevent rust in the pipes or water heater and
consequent staining of the articles washed
To understand this, some misconceptions concern-
ing soap and detergents need to be washed away. A
soap consists of fatty acids, derived from animal fats or
vegetable'oils, combined with a strong alkali such as
caustic soda. Soap has a superior ability to wash vege-
table fabrics such as cotton or linen. It has lubricating
properties that help arrest wear and tear of the fabric
fibers. In fact, the only great disadvantage of a soap is
that when combined with hard water, it forms a
gummy, insoluble curd. This curd cannot be washed
away. It sticks to the fabric, accumulates dirt, and
causes grayness of white cloth and dullness of colors.
Repeated washings only make matters worse. The
fabric becomes stiff, matted, and wears out before it
normally would.
Technically, a detergent is any substance-includ-
ing plain water itself-that removes soil. Soap is a
"detergent," and so is cleaning fluid. But in popular
usage, we use the word to designate synthetic laundry
detergents derived from petroleum. These syndets
do not form a gummy insoluble curd in hard water
the way soap does. Detergent suds will form in any
water, leading to the mistaken belief that cleansing

_ __ _~_I_____________I ~_____~___~_ ~ ~ _~_~__


action will be unimpaired. But the cleansing ibilty of,
a syndet in very hard water is markedly reduced,
suds or no suds. Just as in the case of soap, more syn-
det is required with harder water, and a great deal of
/ itiswasted.
Traces of iron or manganese in water-as little as
three-tenths of one part per million-can stain fabrics.
The stains cannot be prevented by any cleansing
agent, and bleaching.won't remove them. Some of the
bleaches and builders added to laundry products may
actually increase the chance of iron/manganese stain-
ing. A home'water softener removes these metals by
ion exchange and, filtration, but only up to a certain
limit. If the water is more heavily copuaminated, a
special iron-removal adaptation of the system is avail-
When soap or syndets are dumped into a lake or
stream, we often notice foaming where the water is
agitated. Soap and some of the newer biodegradable
syndets are broken down by living organisms in the
soil, streams and sewage disposal plants and do not
create a significant problem. But some "hard" syndets
are still used which cause foaming and other disposal
For municipal sewage treatment, a patent recently
applied for by Reichhold Chemicals would precipitate
the detergents-form them into a solid miss-for
easier removal at the treatment plant, keeping them
out of surface water completely.
Water-using commercial enterprises, such as laun-
dries, hotels, motels, and car-washers have found both
large money savings and greater customer satisfaction
by the simple device of softening their water. A re-
cent manual for car-wash equipment buyers spelled it
out this way:

Chart courtesy of Water ConditionngFoundtion


M ea n w "et a alwi i a leR
Mes rr and U ar-s n

Bt irwil K RsoiBl bf

10pears wheni MaMI |-i bace file anorb wx
bran to C us a .

Scoaditl due to
r of

e am b cau be
HS rivait .
OeMo*sl tred nter" usu-
*lprtade f ddish brown _
rb #fM bon or DIin _
bae pipe and Mblue sbns01not be ecnmlcally

mmon Inter Sionr of
Plobg.lll us

v aTousnters are vanl-
Couy or dirty Vater.- St ble to meet spectfe
Activated carbon (char-
cl)ters will remove
Organic ms tastes and odors.
In somn special cases
oxidation and filte-
tionte required.
Water tastes and odor.
Cannot be economically
treated. It s generally
kaUlor necessaryy to eek an-
or se bottled drning

*Under certain special condItIons can be causedby copper aide or sulfide.
oxidation can be accanplshed.by aeratio and/or feeding chlorine con-
pounds or potassium permangAAte

-- ._ .._- I __ __ __F. Me 'M P .CT~.r--~ 3 -1

"Hard water is both a nuisance and an expense .
gives you unnecessary problems such as .. spots or
streaks as it dries [on the car], thus requiring extra
work. .
"Hard water reduces chemical efficiency. You have
to use more [steam-cleaning] 'chenlical to obtain a
desired cleaning result. ...
"Hard water causes scaling in coils of steam cleaners
and water heaters. You may get scale at temperatures
as low as 150F. Scaling accelerates rapidly as water
is heated to temperatures steam cleaning requires.
Scale acts as an insulator, reducing transfer of heat
from fire to water, thus running up fuel bills .
The figures were impressive. As little as one grain
of hardness per gallon forced the car washer to use one
pound extra of water conditioning chemical per 1,000
gallons. Twenty grains took 20 extra pounds. And
scale only one-sixteenth of an inch thick ran up fuel
bills 15 per cent-a half-inch scale took 70 per cent
more fuel. In proportion, hard water could have the
same effect in your home.


Since water softening is one branch of hydraulic
engineering that every man (or woman) can master at
home, it pays to know a bit more about hard water
and how it gets that way. The story begins with that
fabulous freak, the water molecule. Water is almost
unique in appearing in nature as a liquid; very few
other things do. Only petroleum, as oil or tar, and
quicksilver come quickly to mind. Curiously, these
are also among the very few things that the water
molecule does not readily adhere to, penetrate, and dis-
solve. Water's ability to dissolve at least a part of almost
anything it touches--metals, rocks, vegetable or ani-
mal matter, dust, gases--earns it the title of universal
Of all the water in nature, only snow that has fallen
high in the mountains contains a minimum of
minerals. For this reason, snow is peculiarly tasteless
when melted and drunk by climbers. The farther the

-ra-~-x"-l"~-~~--~ --i--'-i7--.--r-l. -. -ilr; --i~_ g:; --'~-~ODU~------l- ---- --.l---~-rT-~l---Zi~^I-8----. Y~i--' ---



distance water falling from the clouds to earth has to
fall, the greater is its opportunity to pick up contami-
nants. The first-of these is carbon dioxide (COs), a
gas in the air. The incessantly probing water molecule
reacts with the COs to form a minute amount of car-
bonic acid (H2C3O). If you add up those numbers-
two part% hydrogen, one part carbon, three parts oxy-
gen-you readily see they are the sum of HO0 +
Upon hitting the ground, the acid-bearing rain
water immediately comes into contact with other sub-
stances. Inevitably more chemicals are dissolved. In
particular, much water filters into the ground through
beds of limestone, gypsum, dolomite, and magnesite
rocks. Limestone is a combination of calcium and
magnesium carbonates which are practically insoluble'
in pure water-but not in water containing carbonic
acid. The subsequent reactions may be diagrammed
this way:

carbonic +

of calcium


Notice the use of two words: carbonates and bi-
carbonates. These are different substances with differ-
ent properties, even though they are composed of
the same original elements. The bicarbonate ions thus
formed will mix with other ions the water picks up,
such as sodium, potassium, ferrous iron, chloride, sul-
fate, sulfite, silicate, phosphate, or nitrate.
This brew is now "hard" water. When it is heated
or evaporated, the dissolved bicarbonate ions readily
decompose back into carbonates. The calcium and

magnesium carbonate ions return to. their almost in-
soluble limestone form as scale coatings in pipes and
water heaters.
This is called "temporary" hardness-because, a
temporary heating causes some of the hard materials to
drop out of the water in the form of scale. What's left
is known as "permanent" hardness because heating
does not precipitate it out of the water. It consists of
calcium and magnesium ions derived from the more
soluble sulfate, chloride, and other salts. Even this,
however, can be deposited by cooling and evapora-
tion, as proven by the formation of scale on teakettles
and pans.
In either case, the calcium and magnesium ions in
the water, carbonates and bicarbonates, are those which
form soap curds and reduce the cleansing effectiveness
of synthetic detergents.
For convenience, water hardness is measured in mo-
lecular units of limestone (calcium carbonate), re-
gardless of the particular compounds the water may
contain. The chemist arithmetically converts the others
into what are called calcium carbonate equivalents.
One grain of calcium carbonate per gallon is not
much; there are 6 or 7 grains in an aspirin tablet and
7,000 grains to a pound. But as we have previously
shown, such is the freakish nature of water, only a
few grains per gallon of calcium carbonate equivalents
can mess up an entire plumbing system. The problem
is widespread throughout the country.
In water softening, the object is to remove ions caus-
ing hardness without sacrificing the potability and
other useful characteristics of the remaining water.
It is done by a process called ion exchange, which
means simply that the hardness ions are exchanged
for ions of some other substance which cause no

: I -; --- -;* --T "-,.i7 I I :-1_. -.1 1.- 0; ; '17-7 -,. Rogow M T 0 In --- -9-1 0 I-- -. -;17 -n-7-7- -






Ii 5. Ii 01 W |Ha *

s S IH "


_ __ jli~_ ; __~_~ i_____l j_ ~_ ___ ~_ __1_1~_ _~~_~_l_~a~_~_ ~_____~__I___ I~r_


trouble. Materials having the property of ion exchange
in water were discovered in mineral earths about 1850;
they are known as zeolites. Zeolites are inorganic and
insoluble in water, but their-surfaces have an electrical
attraction that calcium and the rest of the crew of
hardness ions find irresistible.
The principle of ion-exchange was first applied in
about 1896 to remove undesirable ions from beet
juices, but attempts to condition water were less suc-
cessfuL Even after processing and purifying, green-
sand and other natural zeolites had an ion-exchange ca-
pacity too limited to handle the large amounts of water
passed through them. Manufacturers then turned to
synthetic zeolites, compounds of sodium, silicon, and
aluminum oxides. This led to the first practical de-
velopment of home water conditioners about 30 years
In the search for a still more efficient zeolite, the
General Electric Company received a patent for a
resin that could be chemically endowed with ion-ex-
change properties. The resin is a polymer or plastic,
made up of the same molecular building blocks as
those in a child's plastic toy. A resin bed in a water
conditioner consists of millions of tiny transparent
beads. Their advantage over previous zeolites is com-
plete inertness. The beads give up nothing of them-
selves in the course of purifying water. Since uncon-
taminated water is the object of the exercise, this char-
acteristic is very important.
A number of companies manufacture the patented
resin beads under license. In the course of manufacture,
the polymer molecules in each bead are chemically
set up to have ion-exchange properties. Though no
larger than a coarse grain of sand, each bead con-
tains 200 million points on its surface and inside, each

of them capable of attracting a positively charged
ion. These "exchange sites" may be conceived of as
200 million tiny electrical hooks set out to catch and
hold onto any loose positive ions swimming by.
The bead is next charged with sodium ions, which
have a positive charge. They hang on to the
negatively charged resin bead "hooks." Hard water
then flows through the charged resin bed., Calcium
and magnesium ions in the water are even more
strongly attracted to the resin than to the sodium ions,
because of a greater valence (electrical charge). Each
hardness ion attaches itself to ,two of the exchange
sites, knocking loose and releasing two sodium ions
into the water.
By the time the water has passed through the entire
resin bed, its hardness ions have been left behind,
hanging on to the "hooks." In their place the water
contains ions of sodium, and it is soft water. Eventually,
of course, all 200 million exchange sites per bead
will be fully occupied by hostile ions. The resin itself
has not Changed, however, and if it can be recharged
with sodium ions, the beads may be used over again.
Recharging is accomplished with one of the sim-
plest of materials-salt water. Common salt is a com-
pound of sodium and chloride ions (NaCI). When the
resin beads are flushed with a strong sodium chloride
brine, the hardness ions clinging to the beads are bom-
barded with hordes of sodium ions from the salt-too
many for them to overcome by electrical attraction.
Now a reverse ion exchange takes place; sodium moves
back into the resin exchange sites, and the "unhooked"
calcium or magnesium ions pass into the salty brine.
The brine is drained off and discarded. After being
rinsed with fresh water, the recharged resin beads
are ready for action again in the softening of water.

0 '

The ability of a resin bed to do this is rated in grains
of hardness materials removed. For example, if the
rated capacity of a water softener is 30,000 grains, it
can soften 6,000 gallons of water containing 5 grains
per gallon of hardness; The amount of salt required
for recharging, known as the "salt factor," is about one
half pound for each 1,000 grains of hardness. Thus, in
the example just given, the water softener would take
about 15 pounds of salt to condition 6,000 gallons. The
exact amount is recommended by the manufacturer of
the appliance.
Removal of calcium and magnesium hardness gen-
erally achieves sufficient softening of water for home
use. The anions mentioned earlier-the bicarbonates,
sulfates, and chlorides-by-pass the resin beads and
remain in the water. In certain commercial uses of
water, complete demineralization (or deionization)
may be necessary. Deionization removes all cations
and anions, but is a more expensive process that must
be weighed against the need. It might make no sense
to deionize water for car washing, but the manufac-
turer who built the car did need high-purity water
for rinsing the metal surfaces prior to plating or paint-
ing them.
Iron dissolved in water is particularly troublesome
from an esthetic point of view (it is not dangerous in
any way to health). It puts rusty stains on fabrics, por-
celain, china, glass, silver, the bathtub, sink, toilet
bowl. "Red water" looks unfit to drink and though it
won't kill you, it is distinctly unappetizing. In high
concentrations it adds a characteristic metallic or
"iron" taste to coffee, tea, and anything cooked in
water. A "red water" frequently contains manganese
as well, which adds black staining to the red.
Sources of iron in water supplies are the same as for

I___ __ __ __ ~_

- -I

other minerals, but with one important difference.
Generally when iron is in solution, it is known as "fer-
rous," and the water looks perfectly clear. But if the
water is exposed to the air for a short while, it picks
up oxygen that oxidizes ("rusts") the ferrous iron to
an insoluble or "ferric" condition. It now precipitates
as'a hydroxide suspended but not dissolved, and the
water turns red. A similar process turns manganese
water gray in various shades of darkness.
This is why troublesome iron occurs mostly in
water from a well. There's plenty of iron in the Great
Lakes, for instance, but exposure to the air has changed
ferrous ions to ferric oxide which settles to the bot-
tom. Consequently such cities as Chicago, Detroit, and
New York (which also draws its water from surface
reservoirs) have relatively little iron problem. But just
across the state border from Chicago, much of Indiana
depends on iron-bearing ground water supplies.
Another iron problem is iron bacteria which use a
small amount of iron as part of their food. The biologi-
cal process tends to concentrate iron from only lightly
contaminated water into the bacterial cells, turning
clean water into red. These "iron bacteria" are harm-
less to health and quite interesting. At one time there
was a body of scientific thought holding iron bacteria
to be the origin of life on the earth, since they might
have arrived from space in iron-bearing meteorites. In
pipes they form a red bacterial slime which oc-
casionally is dislodged and poured through the 4*p
as a burst of dark rusty water. Chlorination kills them
along with other bacteria, effectively eliminating this
phase of the iron problem in community waterworks.
-The inorganic (non-biological) iron in water can
be removed by an ion-exchange water softener up to
certain limits. Depending upon the design of the ap-'

pliaqce, some manufacturers recommend the use of a
softener for soluble iron concentrations as high as 10
parts per million. Others discourage 'its use if the iron
exceeds 2 or 3 ppm.
The resins exchange soluble ferrous iron, along with
the hardness minerals, for sodium. But if there is any
air in the plumbing-if the system is not perfectly
tight at all points-the iron will turn ferric and be-
come precipitated. Chlorinating the water before it is
softened could have the same effect. The iron tends to.
coat the individual resin,beads, fouling the bed so
that eventually it loses capacity for removing both
iron and other hardness minerals. More frequent wash-
ing and-recharging of the bed helps prevent this.
There are various products on the market aimed at
removing iron from a water softener by cleaning
the resin bed during the recharging cycle. Whether
liquid or powder, they are chemicals that make the
iron dissolve in water so that it may be washed away.
They do a good job as long as the owner remembers
to add them.periodically. If he lets it go too long, the
fouling will put his softener out of commission-until
it is cleaned, it will feed hard water into his house.
A much more convenient way of adding the iron
removers is to blend them with the salt. The Morton
Salt Company supplies salt for water conditioners in
two tablet forms, called "Pellets" and "Pellens." The
Pellets are pure sodium chloride of the correct crystal-
line structure, for best water conditioner operation.
The Pellens contain an additive, or rust cleaner. In this
way a controlled amount of a chemical that removes
iron is added to each brine solution when recharging
the resin bed. The brine removes both hardness and
iron build-up on the beads and so allows the water soft-
ener to always operate at peak capacity.

If the iron contamination is too great-usually no
more than 5 to 10 parts per million are present, but
60 ppm is not unknown-a special iron removal filter
may be installed. This consists of a zeolite, usually
greensand, which has been coated with oxides of man-
ganese. The combination causes rust to form and col-
lect on the filter, which is periodically washed to re-
move the accumulated iron. It also needs to be re-
charged periodically with-potassium permanganate to
restore the manganese oxide coating that oxidizes the
Another method oxidizes and precipitates the iron
before it is filtered, using household (chlorine) bleach
or potassium permanganate. The precipitated iron is
filtered out through sand, then the chlorine (if used)
is removed by a carbon filter. Since this additional
equipment costs money, takes up space, and requires
attention, the Pellens method makes a great deal of
sense for the average home owner.
If you have had persistent trouble with water-using
appliances, softening your water should definitely
be considered. Hard-water scale building up in hot
water pipes may in time clog them to a degree where
only a trickle comes through the tap. In the heater it-
self, scale acts as an insulator-blocking heat transfer
from the burner and wasting fuel--and may cause
failure of the heating coil and tubes. Sometimes the
scale formation begins as a sludge at the bottom of the
heater which discolors the water before it eventually
solidifies. Removal of such deposits is difficult and
costly. A water softener not only prevents further for-
mation of scale but gradually removes previous de-
A dishwasher poses a particularly pressing hard
water problem, because it.cannot do a good job with-

out very hot water-much hotter than a woman's
hands can stand in washing dishes the old way at the
sink. Greater heat leads to rapid scaling which, if it
clogs the rinsing and cleaning jets, will soon make the
unit virtually useless.
The same problems can bedevil a clothes washer
using very hot water-sludge and scaling' in the
pipes, deposits on lint screens or on the solenoids and
valves that put the machine through its automatic
Water for a steam iron must be 100 per cent soft, or
preferably mineral-free (completely deionized), be-
cause scale from hard water will ruin the apparatus
completely beyond repair. There is no practical way
to "boil" it out.
Even in a refrigerator, hard water makes very unap-
petizing ice cubes. If total hardness exceeds 20 grains
per gallon, the ice comes out white arid brittle. Ex-
tremely hard water can form an unsightly grit when
the ice cube melts in someone's drink. Iron in the
melted ice can combine with liquor in the drink to
make a kind of ink. (The reaction is caused by tannins
-impurities or flavorings in the liquor-not by the
alcohol. Therefore a bourbon-loving hard-water host
may have to switch to vodka, to protect his guests
from dismay and his wife from chagrin!)
In a room humidifier, some deposit of minerals must
be expected as the water evaporates. If the water is
soft, the deposit will be a fine powder-actually a salt
-which can be easily washed or brushed away. But
if water is hard, the deposit will be a hard scale that
must be chipped off or treated with an acid bath. Fur-
thermore, the float valve that opens to admit more
water when needed can go out of commission.
(Note: A dehumidifier does not have hard water

'' I --

problems because the water it extracts from the air is
pure HsO contaminated only with dust or gases-not
with the trouble-making minerals of hard water. A
room air conditioner, which operates on the same basic
principle as a dehumidifier,. is likewise unaffected.)
Some of the things you need to know about water
softening equipment are detailed in the next chapter.

If the water piped into your home is hard water,
whether from your own well or spring or from a
waterworks, the first step in tackling the problem is
to find out how hard it is. The symptoms are readily
recognized--stubborn bathtub rings, "hard water
gray" in the laundry, spotted glassware and eating
utensils, blackened pots, dry and itching skin, hair that
won't comb, and so on. But perhaps you don't want to
wait for symptoms, since they may be accompanied
by less obvious but more damaging results to your
plumbing pipes and expensive appliances.
Your local water department, private hydraulic
company, or water conditioning dealer can tell you the
hardness rating of the water you use in grains per
gallon. One to 3 Y1 grains is soft enough for most home
uses, with the possible exception of a steam iron. A
reading of 4 to 7 grains enters you into the company
of sufferers from a widespread nuisance. You may be

able to put up with this medium hardness, but in--
vestment in a water softener will effect a definite im-
provement in the enjoyment of your home. If you
are quoted a still higher figure, say, 10 grains or more,
water softening is definitely indicated for reasons of
economy as well as convenience. The equipment will
pay for itself in savings in heating bills, plumbing
repairs, trouble-free appliances, laundry costs, and
longer life for your family's clothes.
If your water comes from your own land, the analy-
sis of it made by the local health department will also
tell you the hardness reading.
A water softener is an appliance resembling a hot
water heater or boiler in appearance, installed in your
basement or utility room at the point where the water
supply enters the house or as close to that point as
possible. It operates without heat but needs power for
its valves and timer. As described in the previous chap-
ter, the incoming water passes through a bed of resin
beads in the tank before moving on into the rest of
the house.
When the ion-exchange or "softening" material has
accumulated as much calcium, magnesium, and iron-
as it can hold, the bed must be recharged by backwash-
ing, rinsing with salt brine, and flushing with fresh
water which disposes of the hardness-laden brine into
the sewer or septic tank. The recharging process takes
about one hour. As with most appliances (such as a
clothes washer), the cost of the water softener will
depend on how automatic it is.
With a manual unit, the lowest in price, you must
operate the valves yourself for the successive steps in
recharging: backwashing, rinsing with brine, and
flushing. With a semi-automatic unit, you start the re-
Scharging cycle, but a timer in the machine shuts it-

self off when the job is completed. A fully automatic
softener requires only minimum attention. You set it
to recharge at selected intervals, depending on the size
of the unit and the kind of water supply, and the cycle
proceeds automatically. All you need do is to refill
the unit with fresh salt as required.
The capacity required of the softener depends on
the amount of water you use and how hard it is.
Figure about 50 gallons a day for each member of the
household. The appliance dealer has a chart that mul-
tiplies this quantity by a hardness factor, so he can
quickly tell you how large a unit you will need. The
average price for a softener for the average household,
L assuming fully automatic operation and including in-
stallation, comes to about $350. Partially automatic or
manual units cost less. Water softeners also may be
3 rented for between $40 and $90 per year. An iron fil-
S ter, sediment remover, or chemical filters to remove
S chlorine, acids, etc., that contaminate your water may
S be added. It is a good idea to investigate these needs
thoroughly with the water softener dealer. Installing
the proper set-up in the first place will assure satisfac-
tion and avoid the cost and trouble of remodeling it
The diagram on the next page shows the parts of the
simplest type of home water softener, a fully manual
salt-in-head unit with no automatic valves and no elec-
tric timer.
The flow of water through the unit is controlled by
opening and closing valves at the proper time. Let's
take it in steps, as pictured on page 164.
Softening. The incoming hard water is directed to
the top of the tank. It flows downward through the
resin bed, which picks up hardness ions from the
water and exchanges them for sodium ions. Gravel or

, :. -, ~.-1----- -- --- --7r



Salt Charging Port


Backwash Outlet

Hard Water Inlet

Soft Water Outlet

Brine and
Rinse Outlet

screens at the bottom of the tank hold the resin in the
tank. The softened water then is released into the
house plumbing system.
Backwashing. When the resin bed is "loaded" with
hardness materials and needs recharging, the water

flow is reversed. Incoming hard water is directed to
the bottom of the tank and forced upward by its
own pressure. It washes out turbidity or insoluble
matter collected in the resin bed, and it loosens up the
tiny beads which have gradually settled during the
softening cycle. Lessening the compaction exposes
more of the bead surfaces for the ion exchange process
and restores uniform distribution of the beads in the
resin bed. The backwash water is ejected at the top
of the tank into a drain; it does not enter the house
Brining. A specified amount of salt now is added at
the top of the tank through the salt port and lies on
top of the resin bed. The water is switched back to a
downward flow. It dissolves the salt and forms a brine
which passes through the resin beads and recharges
them with sodium ions-that is, with the sodium ion
from sodium chloride (salt). The hardness ions previ-
ously collected, along with the chloride in salt, are
drained off with the brine at the bottom of the tank.
Rinsing. After the brining is completed, fresh water
continues to run for a while to drain off all traces of
salt. This explains why softened water contains sodium
but has no salty taste. When the contents of the tank
are thoroughly freshened, the valves are reset to re-
peat the normal softening operation.
Each cycle is controlled by certain common-sense
rules. In backwashing, the upflow of water should be
neither too fast nor too slow. If too fast, some of the
resin beads might be washed out of the tank and down
the drain. If too slow, the resin bed might not be agi-
tated enough for complete cleaning and efficient re-
In brining, the strength of the brine and the time al-
lowed follow the specifications of the tesin manufac-

_ __ __I_ i __ _~:_ ____rl ___ 1_T __ ___ _______ ____~I__ __ ________

turer. With weak brine or too short a contact time,
complete recharging will not take place.
-- .- During the softening cycle, the rate of inflow of
hard water is also specified by the resin manufac-
Sr turer. Excessive, flow allows only partial softening
of the water, and some hard water will slip by.
Hrd Water "Channeling" is a malfunction caused by neglect of
these rules. The resin bed becomes nearly compact in
-.- ~ some spots, very loose in others, and the water finds
soft Water its own channels through it. The flow through the
I bed of both the backwash and the brine should be uni-
form to do the most efficient job. A well-designed
S appliance properly operated should not channel.
A "pick up and deliver" water softener service
_- available in many communities relieves the home
-- owner of periodic recharging. The service man in-
G 2 stalls a charged tank-just the tank, without the valves
2. BACKWASHING and salt port-in such a way that it can be easily re-
moved. He returns for the tank at regular intervals, re-
places it with another charged tank, and takes the ex-
Shausted one back to his plant for recharging. In some
designs the resins are contained in a nylon bag; only
l "the bag of beads need be replaced each time. The serv-
ice is similar to the pick-up and delivery of tanks of
butane gas.
The matter of brining is highly important. Salt is
not "just salt." Common as the substance is, it comes in
varying degrees of quality and purity. All salt may
look pretty much alike, but there are startling differ-
ences under the microscope. Chemical and manufac-
turing industries are very fussy about the kind of salt
they mix to make a brine. The owner of a home
would be well advised to follow this example.
---K --- Salt to a water softener is what gasoline is to a car-
it should be of the proper type and grade for its "en-

gine." Many manufacturers of the equipment specify
a particular type of salt, because they know what
maintenance problems to expect from improper
grades. Ordinary rock salt usually is inadvisable for a
number of reasons.
To begin with, natural salt deposits vary immensely
from region to region. But because shipping costs are
considerable, the rock salt sold in your area will no
doubt come from the nearest source-regardless of
quality. The "salt regions" of the country are desig-
nated as Easternr Northern, Kansas, Southern, and
Solar (the West). Most salts come from underground
mines, but solar salt is evaporated from the waters of
Great Salt Lake and other saline seas.
The natural product of a salt mine may contain up
to l15 per cent of, impurities. Solar salt is relatively
pure, but not available nationally. Other fine salts are
provided by refining natural salt by means of artificial
evaporation. The natural impurities, not unlike the
hardness minerals in water, are detrimental in many
ways and can cause costly maintenance troubles.
Among the soluble ones are our old friends calcium
and magnesium in the form of salts. Insoluble im-
purities include silica, calcium sulfate, and the oxides
of iron and other metals. When this salt is dissolved
and evaporated, the impurities appear as a residue that
may resemble coarse sand or even pebbles. A rock salt.
may be white and the brine may seem crystal clear,
but in softener use deposits gradually collect in the
brine tank, resin bed, and valves.
This reduces the desirability of natural rock salt,
even when reasonably pure. But granulated table salt
is unsuitable, too. Although refined and pure enough
in a salt-in-head softener, it dissolves too fast. The brine

will become too concentrated, or pass through the
resin bed too rapidly for efficient ion exchange. Other
forms of salts may contain additives that cause trouble.
It's best to follow the appliance dealer's recommenda-
The vacuum pan process of evaporation at a salt
manufacturing plant eliminates all insoluble impurities
and produces crystals of virtually pure sodium chlo-
ride. For brine-making purposes, the crystals (or cubes
or flakes) are refined to uniform grain size to assure
exact dissolving characteristics.
Accordingly, the Morton Salt Company pelletizes
evaporated salt especially for water-softening equip-
ment. The product has the desired high purity and has
been compressed into small briquettes. The Pellets, as
they are called in the trade, are scientifically designed,
of the right size and shape to dissolve within specified
and exacting time limits. They are free from the cal-
cium sulfate found in the finest rock salt, and thus
eliminate the sludge formation that clogs a water soft-
ener and leads to repair bills. Morton "Pellets" are
available everywhere in the nation and are of uniform
quality regardless of the "salt region" where you may
In addition to the "salt-in-head" type of water soft-
ener earlier described, there are other brining meth-
ods known as semi-dry, dry (or hydro-siphon), and
wet salt systems used in automatic units. These auto-
matic units have two tanks: a brine or salt storage
tank, and a resin or mineral tank. The brine for re-
charging the resin beads is moved from the brine tank
to theresin tank by means of a hydraulic ejector--elim-
inating manual addition of salt each time the unit is
recharged. This development in water softener design

_ I __ 1_ ~_~___

allowed manufacturers to automate the process, mak-
,ing the water softener easier to maintain.
The semi-dry salt system has a separate brine tank
and, though it may operate manually as well as auto-
matically, it cannot use granulated salt. This would
mush and cake, inhibiting the free flow of water
through the salt bed, and of brine into the resin tank.
Pellets or solar salt are recommended.
The dry salt or hydro-siphon system is an improve-
ment over the former. The addition of a salt grid, or
screen, near the bottom of the tank does several
things; it produces fully saturated brine of uniform
quality in each cycle; it saves salt; and it saves space,
since a smaller brine tank may be used with the same
capacity for salt storage as a larger tank. No salt is
wasted because brine tank clean-out is eliminated. The
unit is designed to operate equally well with Pellets or
with Pellens, which contain a rust removing agent.
In the wet salt system, the salt is covered with water.
The idea is to avoid exposing the salt to the air, caus-
ing it to dry and cake. One type of the system operates
on water pressure alone, eliminating a float valve to
control the flow. Fresh water comes in at the top, and
brine feeds out at the bottom. Because of narrow
openings, the pressure system dictates the use of high-
purity pelletized salt. The cleaning required period-
ically with rock salt would be too difficult.
Water softeners for commercial use, as in a car
washer, are exactly the same in principle as home soft-
eners-only bigger. They may have numerous resin
and brining tanks ganged up to produce thousands of
gallons of softened water every hour.
Some maintenance is required for water softeners,
but not much if a high purity salt is used, and prac-
tically none if the unit is automatic.








_ -- ---- --------- 1-^---~----_

I '





Water Softening and Health

Softened water is healthful water in every respect.
In one special case, however, a note of caution is in
order when the water is used for drinking.
Many of the million and a half heart patients in the
United States are placed on what is called a "salt-free"
or "low-salt" diet. What the doctor really means is a
"low-sodium" diet. He is concerned about the sodium
in sodium chloride, not the salt itself. He also bans
foods which contain natural sodium picked up. by
growing plants from the soil (see table). Whereas the
normal person consumes from 4,000 to 5,000 milli-
grams of sodium in foods, water, and table salt each

day, the heart patient is required to take in less than
500 milligrams a day.
Actually, the amount of sodium present in softened
water is small when compared with the sodium present
in foods. The following table illustrates the amount of
sodium in foodstuffs:
Foodstuff Amount Mg. of Sodium
Milk 2 cups 226
Egg 1 medium size 56
Meat 4 ounces 67
Bread 3 slices 465
Cereal cup 21
Potato 1 small 30
Vegetable (green) 1 serving 50
Vegetable (other) 3 servings 120
Fruit 2 servings 50
Fruit (citrus) 1 serving 6
Total mg. of sodium per day ........... 1,091

This represents a 1,455-calorie normal diet. A 3,000-
calorie normal diet would contain approximately 2,200
mg. of sodium.
All natural waters are apt to contain small amounts
of sodium along with other dissolved minerals. In the
ion exchange process of a water softener, the sodium
content of the treated water is enriched. While the
quantity added is slight, some doctors and health de-
partments advise persons afflicted with a circulatory
disorder to avoid drinking any sodium-bearing water.
It will use up some of the patient's 500-mg. allotment,
and it is easier to obtain sodium-free water than a truly
sodium-free food. A heart patient's foods should not
be cooked in this water, nor should his tea and coffee
be made with it.
Two simple solutions to the patient's problems are
possible without sacrificing the important benefits of'

I--r --- -- -.--- --

water softening to the rest of the household. One is to
buy bottled water, certified to be sodium-free, for the
patient's exclusive use. The other is a minor change in
plumbing. The plumber inserts a pipe into the cold
water line where it enters the house and, by-passing
the water softener, runs it to a cold water tap in the
kitchen. Mark it "hard water" and remember to use it
for the ill person's food or drink.
The remainder of the system need not be dis-
turbed. Sodium-free hot water is not required because
it is not taken internally. So supplies for washing, flush-
ing, food preparation, and general household use can
continue to be beneficially softened.


In Chicago, where a bathtub of city water costs
about one cent, people in large numbers are willing to
pay 39 cents a half gallon, or more, for bottled water
guaranteed not to be drawn from the waters of Lake
Michigan. Nothing could point up more fervently the
alarm people feel at the creeping pollution of America's
traditional sources of sparkling clear fresh water.
In truth there is nothing wrong with Chicago's tap
water-nothing whatsoever. Carlton M. Duke, chief
chemist at the treatment plant, told a newspaper re-
porte, "I wish more people could see our filtration
system. When we're through with the lake water, you
can see a half-dollar through 40 feet of it. Everything
in tap water is either nontoxic or positively desirable.
It is absolutely safe, but sometimes I wonder if the
public is getting the message."
The bottled or packaged water business has grown
in recent years until the nation now spends between $65

_ __ j___ ~ ~____ li_ ___ _____ __ j___ ___ II~_~ _~__ i i___ I_?VI__~ lr _II_ 1

and $100 million a year for water supplied by 500 local
or regional companies. The water is delivered to of-
fices or homes, even sold in supermarkets. One of the
biggest users is industry, which buys the water by
the tank-truck. Industry has special reasons: a paint
company wants to keep out trace minerals that might
change the colors; a steel mill wants distilled cooling
water to avoid deposits in the pipes; producers of soft
drinks, mouthwash, or beer want a uniform water so
they'll taste the same to consumers anywhere in the
But the general public also is willing to pay just to,
eliminate chlorine, fluoride, turbidity, detergents, or
whatever else they vaguely suspect may be lurking in
city water. In the early days of the business, bottled-
water generally came from a spring of unusual purity.
Some of it still does, but now a new element has en-
tered the picture. The bottled product may be manu-
factured out of "tap" water; it is simply a high purity
deionized or demineralized water scientifically prepared
for those who want it that way.
We have mentioned sodium-free water for heart
patients. Housewives buy distilled water for their
steam irons. Some people claim that coffee, tea, lemon-
ade, or reconstituted fruit juices taste better "without
chlorine." Quality water may be wanted for preparing
formulas for babies, since it is free from nitrates and
mineral salts. They can then be added in the.right
amounts to pure water to give baby a scientifically
balanced diet. The fancier of tropical fish-there are
over 20 million in the country-may insist on pack-
aged water to protect his expensive aquarium. Most
familiar of all is the distilled water a garage mechanic
pours into your car's battery to protect it from hard-
ness minerals.

Some of these special needs for pure water have sci-
entific validity; some are a matter of taste; some, no
doubt, are figments of a morbid imagination. It might
not really be a good idea to bring up baby on highly
purified water and risk so conditioning him that
throughout life he may be made ill by drinking any-
L thing else. But three points are clear: We do need good
quality water in ever increasing quantity; we are pol-
luting natural supplies faster than nature can repurify
I them for us; and we can manufacture water up to any
quality we want.
The primary source of fresh water is, after all, the
rain. While rainfall in any given part of the world is
subject to wide variations, the overall amount of rain-
S fall stays about the same, year in and year out. In the
opinion of the authors, attempts to increase rainfall
through cloud-seeding have proven themselves a sci-
entific toy of little practical potential. (One reason
among many-not everyone wants more rain in, a
particular place at a particular time. A farmer seeds
the clouds for the sake of his crops, and a sports pro-
moter sues him for washing out the game and his
profits.) Desalinizing the ocean is still a futuristic
dream except on ships, islands, coastal deserts, and
other special places where the cost is worth the candle.
No, we are still dependent on rain that falls on land
and feeds bodies of water on the surface or under-
ground-the fresh water actually available to us.
So while natural rainfall remains constant, what con-.
stitutes our water problem? First, the population
grows every second, as dramatically shown by the
"clock" at the U. S. Bureau of the Census. By 1980
our population will reach 260 million. Meantime the
water use per person has multiplied four times over
since 1900, use by industry eleven times over, by ir-

- 1 -- -----1-


rigation seven times over--and these multiples are still
going up. Finally, the population has concentrated it-
self in the "wrong" places from a water supply point
of view.
Mention the word "desert" and most people think
of the barren stretches in Nevada and New Mexico
where the military used to test their atomic bombs. To
a water expert, on the contrary, the most intense water-
desert area in the United States is New York City
plus neighboring Long Island The second most severe
shortage area is Chicago and the 10 counties adjoin-
ing the city. Both of these metropolitan areas are ad-
jacent to huge fresh-water sources, the Hudson River
at New York and Lake Michigan at Chicago. Yet the
driest part of Arizona has ten times greater resources
per capital than Chicago or New York.
That the entire Great Lakes area faces serious water
shortage problems seems paradoxical. Despite the popu-
lation increases and burgeoning use of water, there un-
questionably is enough H20 inr this vast basin to
support any type of consumption man can dream up.
The hidden factor is pollution. It takes more water to
get rid of wastes than the most highly industrialized
population could consume.
The city of Chicago diverts 1,500 cubic feet per sec-
ond from Lake Michigan to dilute and flush its wastes
down a ship canal to the Illinois River and thence to
the Mississippi. On the contention that this is an aid to
navigation, Chicago has repeatedly sought to increase
the outflow, but has been balked by a U. S. Supreme
Court order. Other lake-fronting states keep trying
to force Chicago to reduce the outflow, contending
that diversions impair shipping on Lake Michigan, hy-
droelectric generation, recreational uses, and property

In a forecast of water requirements made for a
U. S. Senate committee, the Western Great Lakes
region was expected to need 4.3 billion gallons a day
in 1980 for water consumed or lost, and 31.9 billion
gallons a day--seven times as much-just to dilute the
wastes. This was calculated as the minimum needed to
maintain dissolved oxygen in a stream-flow at a
sufficient level (4 milligrams per liter) for the biologi-
cal action in water that overcomes pollution. Except
in sparsely populated parts of the country, the water
S flow needed for pollution abatement nearly always is
much greater than for direct water use.
On the other hand, except in the more arid regions,
the maximum flow obtainable from natural supplies is
well in excess of minimum water storage needs.
F The statistics make it clear that one-and only one
--answer remains to alleviating water shortages. The
immense amount of water that goes into dilution of
wastes must be reused-not just allowed to disappear
into the ocean. Shortages and pollution are inseparably
tied together. And this is the one area where every
American citizen can take realistic action.
Despite all the discussion, agitation, planning, and
governmental effort regarding pollution that has made
headlines for the past 15 years, this nation's sewage
treatment program is in a deplorable state-40 or
50 years behind the times. Cities are ordered by a
court to stop pouring raw sewage into someone else's
drinking water-but it costs money, and they stall.
Only about 7,500 communities in the entire country
have sewage treatment plants. Another 7,000 or so need
them badly.
Nearly 20 per cent or about 2,000 municipalities
having sewers dump their wastes into rivers or lakes
without any treatment at all. About 30 per cent give

r ;----- --~

their sewage primary treatment only. This consists
of a settling tank that removes perhaps one-third of
the organic pollutants-better than nothing, but not
adequate if the waste water is to be fit for reuse. The
remaining 50 per cent give their sewage secondary
treatment, which means trickling through gravel and
sand for bacterial action, as described earlier in this
book. This removes 90 per cent of organic wastes
and, with chlorination, the water is safe to drink..
These figures include only towns with sewers. In
addition, some 50 million people in America get their
water from wells and dispose of their wastes through
cesspools or septic tanKs. With proper techniques, the
soil through which the sewage effluent seeps will act
as an excellent filter, but it has severe limitations as the
population increases. The soil becomes overloaded.
Suburban towns, one by one, have been forced to un-
dertake costly sewer systems as more and more people
filled up all available land. Lake Tahoe, California-
Nevada, is another victim of the too-numerous, too-
heavily-used septic tank.
Waste disposal engineering, once an unglamorous
profession, has made great strides in recent years. New
methods are constantly being sought to remove
some of the more troublesome wastes, such as deter-
gents, pesticides, dyes, potent synthetic medicinals,
perfumes, flavors, or,the nitrate-phosphate concentra-
tions that upset aquatic life. Both municipalities and
industries are finding new ways to reduce the cost.
The city of Milwaukee pioneered long ago by manu-
facturing a fertilizer ("Milgrow") from its sewage and
selling it on the market to help pay for operating the
system. Other chemicals of economic value can be
etkracted. The burning of garbage (a related problem)
can be controlled so as to provide heat and power for

a treatment works. But by far the most fantastic savings
have been realized by reuse of the waste water itself.
This is well illustrated by industry, where costs
come out of profits. For example, the Celanese Corpo-
ration plant in Bishop, Texas, recirculates and reuses its
cooling water 50 times. This cuts the intake (and cost)
of fresh water from 230 million gallons a day to about
4 million. A steel mill in San Diego, California, uses
high quality water for one purpose, passes it-on to an-
other process requiring water of lesser quality, and so
on in five steps. The final effluent is evaporated in a
basin, leaving a deposit rich in minerals. Consequently,
this plant uses only 1,400 gallons of water to produce
a ton of steel, compared to a national average of 25,000
Municipalities, as has been mentioned, often can sell
treated waste water for industrial purposes. Lubbock
and Midland, Texas, sell their effluents for irrigation;
it is nbt only good as water, but richer than average
in plant nutrients. The reclaimed water that Ama-
rillo, Texas, sells to an oil refinery returns between 11
and 17 cents per 1,000 gallons to the city treasury.
Water sold by Odessa, Texas, to a natural gas plant is
treated, stored, and used a third time in flooding (drill-
ing) operations some distance from the plant. In Los
Angeles, renovated waste water is sold for four cents
per 1,000 gallons for injecting underground to re-
charge the local water table.
A typical city of 100,000 people, using 70 million
gallons of water per day, produces 17 tons of floating
organic waste solids, 17 tons of dissolved organic solids
(including about one ton of detergents), 8 tons of in-
organic solids, about 60 cubic feet of dirt-and nearly
70 million gallons of water. The pollution has increased
about six times over since 1900. We feel it directly in

__ _:_~____ __i__ 1 ~1__1__;__~____ ~I___~ __ _rr

the poor taste and odor of low quality water, the clos-
ing of bathing beaches and fishing waters, the loss of
desirable river and lakefront property to a creeping
sea of odorous slime, and in recurrent cries of "short-
age!" We feel it indirectly in the economic decline of
a town when bad water drives away industry, educa-
tional institutions, or just people of taste.
Clearly a program of action is called for. Since the
hydrologic cycle knows no boundaries, the Federal
Government has taken the lead or interstate com-
pacts have been formed, as in the Ohio River valley.
The Government not only provides funds, generally
on a matching basis, as with state highways, but has
some powers of enforcement. It will:

1. Give each state $100,000 a year for water re-
sources, research or training;
2. Match state expenditures for water projects;
3. Provide communities with money to build
waste treatment plants;
4. Come to a state governor's aid, on request, with
legal action to enforce pollution laws violated by
municipalities or industries;
5. Provide technical assistance to states and pre-
pare long-range programs for an entire river
6. Conduct research on better methods of waste
treatment, and
7. Construct pilot plants for desalinizing water
and other modern approaches to increasing the
water supply.

Every state today has a water pollution control
agency, under various names, providing technical as-
sistance and, in the case of twelve states, funds for

locil treatment plants. Large industries, such as Du-
Pont in Delaware, have programs almost matching in
magnitude those of the states, and industrial associa-
tions have brought pollution control into the forefront
through comprehensive studies and many excellent
In the final analysis, the responsibility rests on the
local community, which means on the people and com-
panies who make up the community. Neither the fed-
eral nor state governments, as groups of people, create
the actual pollution; it begins at the discharge point of
your local sewer or, to be even more blunt about it, in
Your own sink and bathroom. Water pollution is caused
by people, and only people, working in concert, can
cure it.
What, then, can an individual do about it?
Well, he's a citizen, of course, and he can take ac-
tion through the usual channels of citizenship: vote
for forward-looking people in public office, be willing
to pay the tax cost of badly needed improvements, join
and work for civic organizations that promote good-
water campaigns, obey the rules for disposing of his
own trash and waste, and faithfully adhere to emer-
gency measures taken for water conservation.
And as an individual, he can talk it up. The
developer of a new housing project or industrial
S complex who disregards the need for adequate water
supply and proper waste disposal facilities must be
fought. When groups of citizens show their concern,
it's surprising how often such entrepreneurs find the
money to dig a sewer or build a factory water-recy-
cling system. But if the unwise construction is allowed
to proceed unchecked, attempts to adjust the matter
later may be too late.
For his own health, safety, prosperity, and enjoy-

~--e~B1~~11"~~'~'-~-- -T-r-~-~a T---~*---- ~-------~---

ment of life, the individual must appreciate that a good
community will have an adequate sewage treatment
plant-which means one that includes secondary treat-
ment-properly staffed and maintained, plus a continu-
ing plan for adding to the system as the community
grows. It will have laws with teeth in them to enforce
compliance by maverick citizens or businesses.
He can always decline to live in a place that does
not have these facilities, and he can tell other people
The new world of sparkling waters is a land of
beauty. As a people, we are finally waking up to the
fact that ugliness can destroy many of the fruits of our INDEX
economic prosperity. A clean, unpolluted lake or river,
teeming with fish and asplash with happy swimmers,
is a priceless resource even if we don't drink a drop of
the water. A gleaming white ocean beach, free of oil
slicks and odorous debris, makes the difference in sum-
mertime between a livable city and a depressing one.
We should not be forced to travel farther and farther
away from our homes to enjoy these benefits, as we
are forced to do now.
Water is life. It's your life. Clean water is up to you.



Abimelech, 110
Abraham, 110
Adams, Abigail, 35
Africa, 31
African race, 24
agriculture, 20, 25
air, 36, 38, 64
Alaska, 49, 88
Allah, 28
'Altona, 113
aluminum, 77
Amarillo, Texas, 128, 179
S America, 11, 12
American Waterworks Asso-
ciation, 119
Americans, 11
S amino acids, 67
ammonia, 60
ammonium nitrate, 72
Amsterdam, 104
anion, 73, 153
Antarctic continent, 17, 45
Appalachian Mountain Club,
aqueducts, 13, 26,- 27, 30, 33,
.35, 110
aquifer, subterranean, 47, 81,
90, 92, 93, 97, 101, 102, 103,
Arabia, 31
Arctic, 51, 95
Arctic Ocean, 74, 88
Aristotle, 95
Arizona, 27, 88, 89, 176
artesian well, 97, 137.
Artois, France, 97
Aruba, 76, 95
Asia, southeast, 30
astronomy, 36
Atlantic Coast, 92
atmosphere, 14, 41
S atomic bomb, 53
atomic energy, 14
atomic physics,'53

atoms, 39, 52,
58, 72, 73
Aztecs, 26

53, 54, 55, 57,

Babylon, 34
Babylonia, 25
bacteria, anaerobic, 41
bakeries, 19
Bakersield, California, 87
Baltimore, 117, 128
Belgium, 98
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 111
Bethlehem Steel Company,
Big Spring, Texas, 128
boating, 13
Boston, 111
Bridgeport, Connecticut, 105
Buffalo, 131

CuHaOu, 74
CO., 148
Caesar, Julius, 35, 112
calcium, 39, 77, 78, 131, 132,
148, 151, 152, 153, 160, 166
calcium carbonate, 149
California, 48, 85, 87, 88, 89,
94, 101
California water plan, 106
Canada, 49, 88, 89, 94, 106
canals, 30, 33
canals, drainage, 26
cancer, 61
car, 19
carbon, 38, 39, 51, 52, 74, 148
carbon dioxide, 14, 52, 60, 63,
64, 67, 71, 75, 77, 123, 129,
carbon-14, 25
carbonic acid solution, 14
Carlsbad Caverns, 58
Castro, Fidel, 95
cation, 73, 153
Catskill Mountains, 88, 89

- ~- ---.---;-- ~aRa~n~----- ~--~C~:.-- ---- -~~ '7`--' i r


Celanese Corporation, 179
Central Valley, California, 87
Chalchiuhtlicue, 26
Chanute, Kansas, 127
Chelsea plant, 90
Chicago, 110, 154, 173, 176
Ch'in, Emperor, 29
China, 25, 26, 28, 29
Chinese culture, 26
Chou Dynasty, 28
Christian-era, 27
Christiansen, Hans, 111
climate conditions, 22
Colombia, 25
Colorado River, 33, 84, 85, 87,
89, 104, 105
Columbia River, 49, 88, 89
Columbia river system, 85
Congress, 10
Connecticut, 15, 105, 106, 131
Connecticut River, 85
covalent bond, 54, 72
Croton system, 88
Cuba, 95
Cuzco, Peru, 26
Cyrus the Great, 112

DAO, 62
dams, 13, 20, 24, 26, 46
Delaware River, 85, 89, 90
de Leon, Pedro de Cieza, 25
Denmark, 98
Department of Agriculture,
Detroit, 93, 154
Detroit River, 93
deuterium, 14
deuterium oxide, 62
diatoms, 60
dikes, 26
dipole, 56, 57, 58, 73, 74
droughts, 11, 12, 25, 33, 90
Duke, Carlton M., 173
DuPont company, 181

earth, 9, 10, 12, 15, 36, 37, 38,
39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 48,
49, 50, 51, 75, 76, 99, 148
Egypt, 24, 29, 98

Egyptians, ancient, 23, 24, 29
Elbe River, 113
electrodialysis, 118
electrons, 53, 54, 55, 72, 73, 74
enzymes, 67
Euphrates River, 24
Europe, 11
eutrophicatioi, 123, 124
evapotranspiration, 45, 121

Fairfield County, Connect-
icut, 105
farming, 19
Fayum depression, 29
Feather River, California, 88,
feudal system, 28
fire, 36
fire fighting, 19
flood control levees, 20
Florida, 48
fluorine, 77
flying saucers, 9
Ford Motor Company, 128,
"fossil water," 45, 48, 92, 101
Frio River, 106

Gardner, John W, 121
gasoline, 19
General Electric Company,
Genesis, 110
George V, King, of England,,
glaciers, 17
God, 11
Grand Canal, China, 29
Grand Canyon, 33
Grand Coulee Dam, 47, 96
Grand Junction, Colorado, 84
Great Basin, 84, 101
Great Lakes, 11, 80, 87, 92,
93, 124, 140, 154, 176, 177
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence
river system, 85
Great Plains, 78, 92
Great Salt Lake, Utah, 74, 166
Great Slave Lake, Canada, 129


Greece, 27
ground-water levels, 22
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; 95
Gulf of California, 84, 105

S HCO., 148
HiO, 13, 14, 39, 52, 56,62, 138,
148, 158, 176
Hamburg, Germany, 113
Hammurabi, 25
"H-bomb," 38
"heavy water," 14
S helium, 36, 37, 38, 39
S Hezekiah, 110
High Aswan Dam, Egypt, 47,
u 95
S Hindenburg (zeppelin), 53
Hippocrates, 30
Hohokam Indians, 27
Hong Kong, 95
Hoover Dam, 47, 96, 105
Hornig, Dr. Donald F, 121
Hudson River, 85, 89, 90, 113,
Huxley, Aldous, 22
hydraulic civilizations, 23, 25,
26, 27, 29, 31
hydraulic gradient, 102
hydrides, 54
hydrocarbon, 51
hydrogen, 13, 36, 37, 38, 39,
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 62,
74, 77, 143, 148
hydrogen bomb, 37, 38, 53
"hydrogen bonding," 56, 57,
hydrologic cycle, 42, 45, 46,
49, 51, 84
hydrologists, 15, 31
hydrology, 22, 33
hydrolysis, 67

Ibn-Saud, King,
Arabia, 95
Ice Age, 48, 92
ice fields, 15
Illinois, 109
Illinois River, 176

of Saudi

Imperial Dam, California, 87
Imperial Valley, California, 87
Inca Empire, 25
Incas, 25, 26
Indiana, 154
Indians, 11
Indus River, 24
Indus River civilization, 112
Internal Revenue Bureau, 48,
International Hydrological
Decade, 22, 49
invaders, 9, 25
iodine, 77
ions, 14, 72, 73, 131, 148, 149,
151, 152, 154, 161, 163
Iraq, 24
irrigation, 12, 19, 20, 24, 25,
26, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 49,
84, 92, 94, 96, 98, 121
isotopes, 14
Israel, 31

Jacob's Well, 24
Jidda, 95
Johnson, President Lyndon B,
10, 11
Joseph, 29
Judea, 27
Jupiter, 41
\Kansas, 92
Kansas City, 117
Kentucky, 132
Koran, The, 28
Kuiper, Dr. Gerhard P, 41
Kuwait, 95, 98

Lake Erie, 124, 130
Lake Hefner, Oklahoma, 105
Lake Mead, 105
Lake Michigan, 173, 176
Lake Moeris, 29
Lake Ontario, 130
Lakes of the Clouds, 122
Lawrence of Arabia, 110
lead, 77
Little Falls, New Jersey, 113
London, England, 98, 112

hI' -- T-ran-- ---- .T------


Long Island, 48, 93, :03, 104,
Los Angeles, 87, 89; 93, 94,
S104, 179
Lubbock, Texas, 92, 179

Mackenzie River, 49
magnesium, 39, 76, 77, 132,
148, 152, 153, 160, 166
manganese, 133, 134, 143, 144,
153,154, 156
Mars, 9, 41
Memphis, 134
Mercury, 41, 45
methane, 60, 133, 134
Mexican plateau, 26
Mexico, 25, 33, 84, 89, 94, 95,
106, 108
Miami, 128
micro-organisms, 14
Middle East, 28
Midland, Texas, 179
"Milgrow," 178
Milwaukee, 178
Min River, 26
Mississippi River, 15, 45, 87,
122, 134, 176
Mississippi river system, 85
Mississippi Valley, 92
Mohan-Jo-Daro, 24, 112
molecules, 14, 61, 62, 67, 72,
73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 113, 114,
moon, 40, 41, 45
Morton Salt Company, 141,
142, 155, 167
Moslem religion, 28, 30
Motz, Lloyd, 38, 40
mountain water system, 12
Mt. Washington, New Hamp-
shire, 122
municipal water service, 12

Nassau County, Long Island,
103, 104
national water commission, 11
nature, 12, 13, 22, 23, 30, 54,
92, 124, 138
Nebraska, 92

Negev desert, 31
neon, 39
Neptune, 41
Netherlands, the, 98, 104
neutrons, 54
Nevada, 81, 101, 176
New England, 15, 80, 103, 109
New Jersey, 102
New Mexico, 88, 176
New York, 84, 87
New York City, 11, 88, 89,90,
98, 103, 110, 113, 120, 140,
154, 176
New York City Board of
Water Supply, 114
New York Daily News, 19
Nile River, 24, 29
nitrogen, 58, 133
North Africa, 31, 69
North America, 106, 124
North American Water and
Power Alliance (NAWPA),
Northeast, 11, 84, 87, 109
nuclear fission, 53
nuclear physics, 53
Nueces River, 106
nylon, 57

oceans, 9,15
Odessa, Texas, 128, 179
Ohio River, 80, 122, 180
Ohio State University, 141
Oklahoma, 92
Old Kingdom, 29
Old Testament, Psalm 104,27
Oregon, 89, 101
osmosis, 62, 63, 67, 76, 77
oxides, 54 *
oxygen, 13, 36, 39, 41, 51, 52,
53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 63, 64,
71, 74, 75, 77, 116, 123, 124,
127, 129, 133, 134, 136, 148,
154, 177

Pacific coast, 25
Pacific Northwest, 80, 87
Pacific Ocean, 94
paint, 19

Panama Canal, 106
paper, 19
Paris, 98, 108
Parker Dam, 87
Passaic River Valley, 113
Pasteur, Louis, 113
"Pellens," 155, 156, 168
"Pellets," 155, 167, 168
Peruvian Indians, 25
petroleum, 19, 147
Philadelphia, 89, 90
Phoenix, Arizona, 48, 129
planets, 9, 36, 39, 40, 41
Pluto, 41
polar icecaps, 17
potassium permanganate, 156
proteins, 61, 67 -
protons, 37, 54
protozoa, 60

quicksilver, 147

rain, 9, 10, 12, 14, 22, 24, 33,
42, 45, 47, 75, 76, 92, 129,
137, 148, 175
Ralph. M.. Parsons Company,
Reichhold Chemicals, 144
Rio Grande River, 33, 85
rivers, 12, 15, 25, 33, 44, 45,
46, 47, 49, 92, 99, 121, 122,
123, 134, 136, 182
Rome, 27, 30, 108

Sabinal River, 106
Sacramento, 128
Sacramento River, 87
Sahara, 24, 98
salt, 42, 44, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76,
77, 78, 132, 152, 153, 155,
157, 161, 163, 165, 166, 167,
168, 170
Salt River, 27
San Joaquin River, 88
Santee, California, 127, 128
Saturn, 41
Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut, 69
Schuylkill River, 117
silt, 24, 34, 42, 46

snow, 12, 42, 44, 75, 92, 129,
sodium, 77, 170, 171, 172
solar system, 9, 36, 40
Solomon, King, 27
Southwest, 48, 77, 109
sun, 9, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42,
51, 53,61, 75
"Swanee" (Suwanee) River,
syndets, 143, 144

Tahoe, Lake, 124, 178
Taylor, President Zachary,
Tigris River, 24

United States, 10, 12, 13, 15,
20, 22, 33, 35, 77, 79, 80,
85, 89, 90, 93, 95, 96, 98, 104,
170, 176
US. Geological Survey, 11,
81, 105
US. Public Health Service, 77,
126, 131
universe, 9, 36, 37, 40
Uranus, 41
Urey, Harold C, 39, 40, 42

Venus, 41
Von Weizsacker-Kuiper the-
ory, 36, 37

Washington, George, 35
acids in, 132
bottled, 173, 174
color of, 130
demand for, 20
droplets, 14, 37, 44, 45,
fluorides, 131, 139, 174
germs in, 13
ground, 94, 98, 99, 102,
106, 117, 136
growths in, 130, 131
hardness of, 13, 131, 132,
139, 140, 146-149, 152,

I- -- I -_ ---r_- -




153; 155-160, 163, 165,
hydrogen sulfide in, 133
iron in, 13, 39, 77, 133,
143, 144, 153-157, 160
liquid, 9, 37, 39, 41, 42,
56,66, 147
minerals in, 13, 107
minor impurities in, 133,
pollution of, 10-12, 24,
30, 35, 121-126, 135, 136,
173, 175, 176-182
purity of, 13, 14, 22, 107,
115, 126, 127, 138, 139,
151, 175
salt, 13, 17, 60-63, 74, 90,
93, 95, 96, 102, 103

shortages, 10-12, 33, 35, 79,
135, 177
table, 10, 48, 92, 99, 105,
136, 179
treatment of, 14, 115-117,
125-127, 138, 144
turbidity, 129, 130, 134,
163, 174
vapor, 14, 37, 39, 41, 42,
44, 45, 51, 56, 66, 95
Waterworks Company of Bos-
ton, The, 111
wells, 13, 30, 33, 35, 47, 48, 80,
85, 90, 92, 93, 97, 102, 103,
106, 134-136, 138, 140, 154

zeolites, 151, 156

Pictured above

are the things that

make water hard.
Can't see them? That's because the chemicals and
minerals in hard water are invisible. But, they may be
costing you money in appliance and plumbing repairs.
Hard water can leave its ugly mark on fixtures too.
To find out if you have hard water, and how serious
the problem is, send for Morton's free Hard Water
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can also give you some sound reasons why you de-
serve, and need, the benefits and economy of soft
water in your life.

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