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Introduction

Water is
essential for all living organisms. Water plays a huge role in the existence of
life on earth. Everywhere that water exist on earth, there are always signs of
life no matter how extreme the conditions are. Whether it be on the icy lake
water or arid desert, microbes found a way to live there. This would explain
NASA’s motto “follow the water”. In the search of a ‘new earth’ they have been
lurking for presence of water on the surface of other planets. They had spotted
dark streaks on Mars that indicates flowing water. Although the water might be
full with chlorine based salts, scientist suggest the possibilities of life on
Mars.1 In the Quran, Allah s.w.t states that he had created all living
things from water. “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens
and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water
every living thing? Then will they not believe?”(Al-Quran. Al-Anbiya 21:30). Al-Baghawi
explained that the verse means, “We made everything including animals and
plants alive with rain from the sky.” Indeed, water is involve in so many
processes that occurs in human, animals, plants and the earth that the human
civilisation occurs around water sources such as Tigris and Euphrates river
where Mesopotamia civilisation developed there and the Egyptians around Nile.

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Despite
covering 71 percent of the earth’s surface, there are places that water are
very limited. Today, almost 1 billion people in the developing world do not
have access to it. In places such as sub-Saharan Africa, people spent most of
their time gathering water rather than going to work to generate income or
going to school. These people walk miles and miles just to get water for their
daily water needs, usually from the groundwater which does not necessarily
means that they are not exposed to any contamination. They may be contaminated
with heavy metals, and bacteria. This scarcity of water resulted in
dehydration, malnutrition and water-borne diseases. Their fate continue until
today as challenges to overcome this problem persist. Basically, the challenges
circle around the limited financial resources to build enough infrastructure to
tap the water source and distribute it to arid areas.

 

Unlike in
Malaysia, we are very fortunate to have treated water coming out of our tap. Our
source of water comes from the surface water that have been treated,
distributed and vastly monitored by local authorities. For instance, Syarikat
Air Negeri Sembilan (SAINS) is a private company that is responsible to treat
and supply clean water to the consumers in Negeri Sembilan (SAINS). In
addition, SAINS is also responsible in maintaining and making sure that the
infrastructure such as water treatment plant, pipes and reservoir including the
supplied water quality is up to standards set up by the government agencies.
Building new infrastructure and improving its operation is also the major roles
of SAINS.2

 

 Water quality of drinking water is determine
by parameters like, turbidity, total dissolve solids (TDS), pH and the mineral
content. Based on the drinking water quality standard outline by the Ministry
of Health, the maximum value of turbidity allowed in drinking water is 5 NTU.3 Turbidity is the measure of cloudiness of drinking water caused by
the large number of individual particles that are commonly invisible to the
naked eye, like smoke in air.4 The TDS of 1000 miligram per litre is the maximum acceptable value
in drinking water quality.3 TDS gives a qualitative measure of dissolved solids ions however
it does not specify the quality parameters such as elevated hardness, salty
taste or corrosivity. Yet, elevated TDS may indicate the concentration of
dissolved ions that may cause the water to be either, corrosive, salty or
brackish. It may also indicates the high level of heavy metals like lead,
arsenic, copper and cadmium.5 While, the pH level acceptable in drinking water is 6.5-9.0.3

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