Can you identify the taste of water? Scientific wisdom claims that you can’t really, even if you think you can. Why? Because pleasant tasting water is water that tastes like spit. Your spit. And it isn’t just water. Every time you judge the taste of something, you’re judging how it compares to your own saliva. Saliva is salty which means that when you taste water, you’re evaluating its saltiness – which is not the same as the salty language that may come from your tongue. Even when you think you perceive a taste it’s not a taste but rather, a smell. People may claim that they can taste chlorine but they can’t. They’re actually smelling the “fumes” of chlorine in the water they just drank. As water passes over the tongue, some of it turns into gas and floats back up into your nostrils. As it turns out, the purer the water, the less tasty it is because natural water is constantly moving, picking up minerals which the body needs. All of which means that the human body is indeed a fascinating engine.
The taste of water and numerous other contemplations about water in our lives is part of the 100 Gallons project out of the University of North Carolina. It explores the role of water in our lives. In a single day, the average U.S. resident uses about 100 gallons of water. Europeans use about half that amount, while Sub-Saharan Africans, at about two gallons per day, use the equivalent of water that flows from a U.S. faucet in one minute. That’s a major variation. And while Michael Phelps makes Olympic history, it would take the average U.S. household about six and a half years to use all the water from the Olympic swimming pool. Another random water related fact is that if you consume the required eight glasses of water each day, it will cost you just 50 cents per year. However, if you choose water bottles the cost will be closer to $1,400 per year. The 100 Gallons projects aims to “encourage a sense of respect” for water in our world.