This Activities page is continuously updated to show developments and achievements on initiatives to meet our key objectives. We encourage you to stop by often to keep up-to-date with the Association’s progress.
Dispelling the Myths about Softened Water and Corrosion
Softened water is sometimes mistakenly associated with the potentially corrosive properties of naturally soft water. EWTA explains the background to this misconception (Click here for detailed position) and identifies the definitive positions of the industry regarding corrosion and softened water, referring to studies conducted by associations based in Europe and the USA.
Research into the Energy Saving Benefits of Water Softeners
An extensive study on the benefit of water softeners in prevention of scale in water heaters, conducted by the Batelle Institute on behalf of the WQA, was completed at the beginning of 2010. The study clearly demonstrates a water softener to be one of the very best energy saving devices for the home with a typical effect on energy efficiency of 10% over 2 years, rising to in excess of 50% over a 15 year lifespan. It also showed heavy, unsightly deposits on showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines. The full Battelle Study can be downloaded from the internet (http://www.flawatertreatment.com/odfs/Battelle_Final_Report.pdf).
A study in the UK in 2005 showed that as little as 9 grammes of scale deposits in a water heater reduced its efficiency by 5.6%.
WHO Ca/Mg in Drinking Water
Since 2000, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has been investigating the evidence behind the hypothesis that minerals (specifically calcium and magnesium) in drinking water may be beneficial to cardiovascular disease (Click here for summary of the activity). The current position of the WHO is identified in the latest 2011 edition (fourth) of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality which conclude:
“Although there is evidence from epidemiological studies for a protective effect of magnesium or hardness on cardiovascular mortality, the evidence is being debated and does not prove causality. Further studies are being conducted. There are insufficient data to suggest either minimum or maximum concentrations of minerals at this time, as adequate intake will depend on a range of other factors. Therefore, no guideline values are proposed.”
The position of the UKWTA (link to report) is that the evidence for a potential health benefit from water hardness is very weak and confined to magnesium content, for which the contribution to dietary intake would normally be trivial. The justification for any informative action is, at this stage, highly questionable and, when balanced against the benefits of soft (or softened) water, and against the benefits of optimum hydration, positive statement or action is inappropriate unless and until there are definitive conclusions from the recommended research.