Water is essential for all life forms on Earth, and although 70% of the planet is covered with water, there is an ongoing crisis to find safe, hygienic water sources due to environmental pollution. Mineral water and spring water are two sources of safe water that are under threat.
Mineral water comes from mineral springs, which are natural settings where water emerges from underground reservoirs. These reservoirs may have formed over years due to heavy rainwater draining into spaces below the soil among rock beds. Since there is minimal human disturbance, most mineral springs provide drinkable water. However, sometimes the water can be contaminated with pesticides or agricultural chemicals mixed through soil contact, making it unsuitable for consumption. Some mineral springs are rich in minerals due to neighboring mineral deposits, and while this water is not safe to drink, it may be used for bathing. Some springs are popular for the therapeutic use of their water and attract tourists.
Mineral water contains many dissolved salts and sulfur compounds. Nowadays, it is common for people to consume bottled mineral water. While this is beneficial for those without access to safe drinking water, it also means people now have to buy it. According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, mineral water is defined as containing at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids and originating from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. Bottled mineral water is analyzed to ensure safety and to have standard concentrations of mineral ions within safe usage ranges. In some parts of the world, mineral water may contain high concentrations of dissolved calcium and magnesium ions, making it “hard” water, which is not good to use.
A spring is a location where water emerges from underground. Some springs run deep down and deliver hot water (hot water springs). Since the water source is underground, spring water is necessarily mineral-rich. Water quality and mineral content can vary from spring to spring, depending on the climate and surroundings.
- Mineral water comes from mineral springs and contains many dissolved salts and sulfur compounds.
- Spring water emerges from underground and is necessarily mineral-rich.
- There is no significant difference in terms of the contents of mineral water and spring water; the difference lies in the way they are defined.