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Water is a tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless (it has a slight hint of blue) substance in its pure form that is essential to all known forms of life and is known also as the most universal solvent.
Water is an abundant substance on Earth. It exists in many places and forms: mostly in the oceans and polar ice caps, but also as clouds, rain water, rivers, freshwater aquifers, and sea ice. On the planet, water is continuously moving through the cycle involving evaporation, precipitation, and runoff to the sea.
Water that humans consume is called potable water or drinking water. This natural resource is becoming more scarce in certain places as human population in those places increases, and its availability is a major social and economic concern.
Drinking water is water that is intended to be drunk by humans. Water of sufficient quality to serve as drinking water is called potable water whether it is used as such or not. Although most fresh water sources are drinkable by humans, they can be a disease vector or cause long-term health problems if they do not meet certain water quality guidelines.
Most nations have water quality regulations for water sold as drinking water, although these are often not strictly enforced outside of the developed world. Virtually all municipal water systems deliver a single quality of water, whether it is to be used for drinking, washing or landscape irrigation.
In the United States, public drinking water is governed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Among other provisions, it protects the right of employees to report potential violations. 42 U.S.C. 300j-9(i). Within 30 days of any retaliation, a whistleblower can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
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