What makes water hard? How is water quality controlled in Germany? With these and other questions around the food drinking water the forum drinking water e.V. started a representative survey to the knowledge of the Germans over their food number one. Most people in Germany can only answer one of three questions correctly - according to the results of a representative survey by TNS Emnid, Institute for Market and Opinion Research. Although many have very good partial knowledge, there is a large information deficit overall.
Few know: Hard water contains a lot of calcium and magnesium
Only a few are aware that the two minerals magnesium and calcium are responsible for the water hardness. Almost every third person believes that iron is the cause of water hardness. Almost one in four is completely wrong with the answer "lead". Incidentally, a high lime content is not the criterion for increasing water hardness, but it goes along with it because lime consists of a chemical combination of the "hardener" calcium with carbon and oxygen.
The lack of knowledge is probably the reason why 40 percent of the respondents give hard water a negative and most soft water a positive effect on health. Numerous inquiries to the forum drinking water e.V., whether the consumption of hard tap water is harmful to health and lead to a calcification of the veins, confirm the survey results. The answer is no, because calcium as a component of lime is a vital mineral for humans, for example, the construction of bones and teeth and is essential for the energy metabolism.
However, studies show that drinking water as well as mineral water only contribute to a small extent to the mineral requirement in the normal consumption habits in Germany. Foods such as milk and dairy products, wholemeal bread, bananas or vegetables are the more important sources here.
Hard or soft water - a matter of taste
Whether the degree of hardness of tap water has an influence on the taste of hot and cold drinks, there is disagreement among respondents. Almost every second person states that hard water has a negative impact on the taste of coffee or tea. For cold drinks, only one in three says so. However, 33 percent of the interviewees think that the degree of hardness has no influence on the taste.
In fact, coffee or tea better unfold their full aroma when cooked with soft water. For cold drinks, it's the other way round: in professional tastings in blind tests, waters with a higher mineral content often give off better than "soft" ones.
Drinking water: origin and quality control
The question of the origin of the drinking water answers the majority of the population correctly. It comes from a variety of resources - 64% from groundwater, 27% from surface water and 9% from spring water. All three types of origin are called roughly equal.
The quality of the drinking water is subject nationwide to the strict regulations of the Drinking Water Ordinance, which only the water supply companies and the health authorities ensure. 89 percent know that the control of the drinking water quality is the responsibility of the water supply companies and 70 percent state that the health authorities are quality guards. However, 40 percent of respondents believe consumer centers are responsible for controlling drinking water quality. Overall, only 43 percent answered this question correctly.
Hardly anyone knows: one liter of drinking water costs 0.2 cents
When it comes to the price, many are at a loss. Most answer the question, "What does one liter of drinking water cost on average?" with "I do not know". For almost half of the population, it ranges between 0.7 and 50 cents. Not even 25 percent of respondents cite the correct price at around 0.2 cents per liter. Incidentally, men here have the better price feeling: every third man, but only just about every sixth woman is right on this question.
No knowledge champions
While most people in Germany are very well versed in the origin and quality control of drinking water, there are considerable information gaps when it comes to, for example, the effects of water hardness on health or taste. Only seven percent of Germans can describe themselves as true knowledge champions; one in four must even fit in all questions.