If you see two glasses of water, it is impossible to tell the difference between the two. However, one of these glasses of water is very different from the other, and contains minerals that the other does not contain.
Hard water and soft water have their uses but for cleaning and maintaining healthy pipes, soft water is the clear choice, although a block salt softener will help with your water source if you live in an area with hard water.
Whether water in England is hard or soft depends on many facts, including the initial source of the water, the nature of the water pipes and whether there are exposures to other minerals and is measured by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.
Here is why the water you drink in Manchester is very different to what you drink in London.
Where Do The Minerals Come From?
Water comes from a range of sources, both natural rivers and estuaries, and unnatural sources such as reservoirs.
A river’s flow in dry weather tends to come from springs, which usually start in areas rich in chalk and limestone, both high sources of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. For areas with soft water, the majority of water comes from reservoirs.
Generally, although not always the case, water in the north west of England, as well as Wales, Devon and Cornwall, tend to have soft water, and the further South and East you go the harder the water is.
Urban areas that have their own water supply sources have far less exposure to limestone or chalk and so remain soft.