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Water is supplied to the apartments of Muscovites through the longest city water supply network in Russia – its length is more than 13 thousand kilometers.

On October 28, the Moscow water supply system celebrates its birthday. The oldest engineering structure in the city was officially opened 217 years ago (in 1804). The aqueduct in Rostokin reminds of that time, through which water came to Moscow from Mytishchi.

“The history of water supply for the residents of the capital began with the construction in the 19th century of the first water pipeline a little more than 20 kilometers long. Today, the length of Moscow’s water supply networks exceeds 13 thousand kilometers, the city consumes about three million cubic meters of water every day, and the country’s largest water company, Mosvodokanal, is engaged in its preparation. The quality of drinking water is monitored around the clock by 184 physical, chemical, microbiological and hydrobiological indicators at all stages of its journey to the consumer. This year, more than 1.5 million analyzes have been performed, ”said the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Housing and Utilities and Improvement

Peter Biryukov.

Experts tell what the Moscow water supply system is and what it is like from a tap – JSC “Mosvodokanal”.

1. Where does the water in the Moscow water supply come from?

Mosvodokanal is responsible for the delivery of water to the apartments. The largest company in its industry in the country serves nearly 15 million consumers. Water is collected from rivers and reservoirs located in three regions – Moscow, Smolensk and Tver. From there, she goes to the water treatment station. Moscow has four of them: Rublevskaya, Western, Northern and Eastern. Together they can produce over six million cubic meters of clean water per day. Water from rivers and reservoirs spends here from eight to 24 hours.

During this time, it goes through several degrees of purification: it is defended, clarified, passed through sand filters and disinfected with special reagents. The stations are gradually being modernized – in the new blocks, water is ozonized and passed through activated carbon. Also, membrane filtration is used here: water is “squeezed” through a semi-permeable membrane, the pore size of which is 0.01 micrometers. For comparison: the diameter of a human hair is about 50 micrometers. The technology allows you to preserve the natural salt composition of water and at the same time, it is guaranteed to remove bacteria and viruses.

When the water is completely purified, it enters the longest water supply system in Russia – it stretches for 13 thousand kilometers. Water can go up to 12 hours to the consumer through pipes – depending on the distance between the water treatment station and the apartment.

2. Why is water chlorinated?

For water purification, sodium hypochlorite is used with the addition of ammonia water. As a result, substances with bactericidal properties and ensuring safety are present there for a long time, and this is necessary where the water supply network is very long. This technology is used not only in Moscow, but also in Paris, London and Tokyo.

Almost 10 years ago, Mosvodokanal completely abandoned highly toxic liquid chlorine and switched to more technologically advanced sodium hypochlorite. It protects the water from the penetration of bacteria and microorganisms.

3. How hard is the water in Moscow?

The water from the Moscow water supply system has an average hardness category. In all districts of the city, the minimum and maximum values ​​of hardness range from 1.9 to 5-5.7 degrees of hardness.

Surface waters (reservoirs and rivers), which are sources for the Moscow aqueduct, are softer than groundwater (artesian). The water hardness in them changes throughout the year: the highest numbers are usually in winter, but even then nothing needs to be additionally softened – the hardness is within acceptable limits. In the spring, when a lot of soft melt and rainwater gets into the rivers, the indicator drops to its minimum values.

At water treatment plants, the hardness is not regulated in any way – it remains natural. More often than not, there is no point in looking for softer water. Absolutely soft drinking water is not suitable for humans. It is important for him to receive magnesium and calcium with drinking, the salts of which just determine the hardness. According to the World Health Organization, for a sufficient amount of these substances, the hardness of the water must be at the level of five degrees. If you switch to very soft water, your body may need pharmaceuticals.

4. How to keep track of its work with such a huge water supply system?

The large-scale network is monitored by thousands of Mosvodokanal employees. They monitor the operation of the water supply system, conduct hydraulic tests, repair and reconstruct sections. Over the past 10 years, they have managed to prevent a single accident that would require serious interventions and long outages.

The company renews about 100 kilometers of water supply networks annually. During planned work, trenchless technologies are used: new pipes are pulled inside existing ones, horizontally directional drilling and polymer sleeves are used. This allows you to minimize excavation, which is important in a metropolis. By the way, the water supply system in Moscow is looped and for repairs, most often you do not need to turn off the water in the houses.

5. Who controls water quality and how?

The water is checked all the way from the reservoir to the apartment. Every day 450 laboratory employees conduct more than six thousand analyzes for physical, chemical, bacteriological and hydrobiological indicators. Inspections begin from the upper reaches of the rivers in the Tver and Smolensk regions – in the course of movement to the water treatment stations, water is monitored at more than 140 points. At water treatment stations, control is carried out at 170 points at all stages of treatment. There are more than 250 such control points in the water supply network.

In parallel with people, the water is checked by automatic analyzers. More than 500 devices have been installed at sources, water treatment stations and in the city network. They monitor the quality of the water continuously. You can see the indicators for a specific address on the website JSC “Mosvodokanal”.

6. How does the water quality in Moscow change over the years?

Statistics argue with those who believe that earlier the grass was greener, and the water from the tap is cleaner. Analysis of the data shows that water quality has improved significantly over the past 20–25 years. Changes have taken place in all indicators: turbidity has decreased five times, the concentration of aluminum – three times, the content of natural organic matter – one and a half to two times. The main reason is the tightening of regulations, which led to the modernization of the system.

Water quality standards first appeared in Russia in 1937. They gradually changed, but not fundamentally. Drinking water requirements have even become less stringent. The situation changed only in the 1990s, when they began to control the content of organic matter, chloroform, and also tightened the requirements for the content of viruses and parasites.

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7. Will there be enough water for Moscow in the future?

Moscow in this matter does not lag behind the world’s megacities. Despite the growth of the city itself, its water consumption is not increasing. Moreover, over the past 10 years it has decreased by 30 percent. The main reasons are the transfer of industrial enterprises outside the capital, the appearance of meters in the apartments of residents and an increase in the reliability of infrastructure.

Today one Muscovite consumes an average of 127 liters of water per day. This figure is declining by two to three percent every year.

Water treatment plants have a large reserve of capacity, so there should be enough water for Moscow even with a jump in consumption. The metropolitan region consumes about three million cubic meters of water per day, which is half the capacity of the stations. Such a reserve allows not only to provide Moscow, but also to supply water to the Moscow region. Water from the capital’s water supply system enters the houses of residents of Dzerzhinsky, Mytishchi, Lyubertsy and other cities in the region.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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