Drink lots of safe, clean water

You should drink plenty of water during the day. All day long, early morning, at school, during sport, when you get home and also in the evening.

Almost every part of your body contains large amounts of water. In fact, almost three quarters of your body is made up of water.

The body uses water for many important processes. These include:

  • helping your body to digest food and carry nutrients
  • making urine that carries waste out the body
  • making sweat to cool your body when it is very hot
  • making body fluids, like tears, blood and digestive juices
  • making the lining of the mouth and lungs moist
  • The body loses water throughout the day through sweat, urine, faeces and respiration or sweat. This must be replaced from drinks and food. Water is an ideal drink to have often, is what your body needs and is freely available.

Water is the cheapest drink on the planet!!!

Clean water is essential

Water from the tap can be viewed as drinking water, usually it is safe to drink as is. If the water coming from your tap has not been treated then this must be done at home. Please note if your water comes from a well, river or borehole it is safer to boil it and cool it before you drink it or use in food.

Water can also be cleaned by adding 1 teaspoon of bleach to 20 litres of water and leaving it to stand for 2 hours. Unsafe water is contaminated with germs (disease-causing micro-organisms) or with dangerous levels of chemical substances. When water with germs is cleaned with bleach (as described above) the bleach kills the germs in the water. Germs from water can cause diarrhoea. This disease can contribute to under nutrition in children and the dehydration that results can be deadly.

Adults need 6–8 cups or 1.5–2 litres of water a day; some of this can be tea, coffee or juice. Young people or children need less, for eg a 6 year old will need about 4–6 cups or 1–1.5 litres of water. Juice should be used only occasionally, as it is better to eat whole fruit than drink juice. Water is always recommended as the preferred drink.

Guidelines for drinking water

  • Water should be included with meals
  • Children and adults should have easy access to drinking water during the day
  • A water bottle should be an essential part of a lunch box
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you, wherever you go
  • Water is needed every day, but there are times when more is needed than usual
  • when the weather is very hot
  • when you are participating in vigorous activity or sport
  • when you have to walk long distances to and from school