Water is an essential nutrient.
Human blood is made up of over 90% water, and our brain tissue, over 85%. Overall, two-thirds of our body is composed of water.
Because of this, lacking access to water impacts us immediately. Human beings can live for several weeks without access to food, but only a few days without water results in death. Stagnant, fresh water often contains unhealthy parasites.
Water-borne disease can be caused by protozoa, viruses or bacteria, many of which are intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites or "worms" that live in contaminated water can invade the human body through food and water intake, and also through transmitting agents, like mosquitos.
Human intenstinal parasites secrete toxins and steal the vital nutrients from our bodies. They can cause, irritate or exaggerate health problems. Parasites or "worms" provoke symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, cramping or stomach bloating. Other symptoms include anemia, asthma, fatigue, low immune system, nervousness, and skin rash.
There are over thirty known water-born diseases varying from bacterial, viral and parasitic infections; some examples of such diseases are typhiod fever, cholera and dysentery. Sadly, the most common ailment is severe diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal disease is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and is mostly concentrated in children in developing countries. In fact, in East Africa, one in five children under the age of five dies as a result of diarrheal disease.
Water wells access clean, naturally filtered water below layers of the earth's soil.
Most groundwater - that is, water found well below the surface - is free of disease-causing organisms. This is because the water is filtered by the upper layers of soil and rock as it soaks into the ground.
Properly constructed water wells take advantage of this clean, naturally sanitary water. Drills can dig deep below the surface to extract water that can then be pumped and filtered for particles, using a handle on the installed well.
Hygenic construction includes adding disinfectant chlorine to the drilling fluid, casing the well with sanitary materials and assembling all parts in a safe, water-tight manner.
For maintanence, the water quality from a well can and should be tested for safety once a year. The water from a well is tested by measuring the presence of a common group of indicator bacteria, called the total coliform group, which can ensure the sanitary protection of the well and water system.