Water can be a vital tool or cause of issues in safety. It is as prevalent in our world as the air we breathe.

It has tremendous versatility in terms of the many ways that it can be used to benefit us and to harm us if mishandled. It is considered one of the four basic elements of our planet – earth, air, water and fire. Water is considered the ultimate symbol of life.

[Image countesy of Flickr user Tim Geers via a Creative Commons license]

[Image countesy of Flickr user Tim Geers via a Creative Commons license]

In the November 2015 issue of Professional Safety magazine, water was the theme in an entire page of briefs, which seemed to have and showed very different ways that water is used – and explained some innovations.

Let’s take a look at the world of water and consider some of these printed words about this very versatile piece of Mother Nature.

Water for Life: Eat It Up!

With bottled water becoming all the rage in the 1980s and forward – especially with water being such an important part of so many diets and healthy-eating regimens – those plastic water bottles have become ubiquitous as the water itself. While the good news is these water bottles are now more easily recycled and are appearing in landfills less and less,  they are still everywhere whether we like it or not.

And not all bottles can be recycled, because now many of them are already recycled, and the structure of the plastic wears down over time.

Skipping Rocks Lab has created an innovation that turns bottled water on its head. It’s called Ooho, and it is a spherical shaped container of water that is created from seaweed – cheap, strong, biodegradable and even … edible.  It is reported that about 50 billion water bottles are used every year just in the U.S., and Ooho would essentially leave no recyclable or landfill footprint, which would change bottled water forever. For more information, visit Skipping Rocks Lab’s website.

Water for Flavor: Get a Cellar!

With billions of water bottls being used every year, we all know there are many, many companies that claim their own special springs from which they get their purified water that they sell in those special plastic bottles. But in case you didn’t notice, water can hav a very distinctive taste depending on the location of the spring and the quality of the processing.

Water is not just water, anymore than wine is just wine. Take it from a certified water sommelier (yes, there is such a thing) like Martin Riese. Riese has developed a taste for water that is refined, much like a sommelier for a fine wine list. Riese says he developed his craft over five years and he says he has tasted water from more than 1,000 different springs. He now creates water menus for various restaurants, creating special lists of bottled waters based on their taste and their ability to go with various dishes. Yes, much like wine.

Riese claims that every spring has a distinct taste footprint based on location, the soil, the minerals and the source. He says that water can be “smooth or complex, fruity or salty,” and many can make or break a certain dish. It is not something to be considered lightly.

For more information about Riese and the work of a water sommelier, take a look at a video produced by Zagat, one of the top restaurant-rating firms.

Water for Fun: Slip Sliding Away

If you are not one to eat a seaweed water bottle, nor be one to really tell the difference between Dasani, Arrowhead and Aquafina,  then let us take you to a Guinness World Record way of enjoying water for recreational purposes.

Say hello to Verruckt (a German word for “insane”), a ginormous waterslide at a water park in Kansas City, Mo. The slide was confirmed to be the world’s tallest water slide, standing about 17 stories  (more than 168 1/2 feet) high – which makes it taller than Niagara Falls (167 feet) and the Statue of Liberty (151 feet).

That alone makes this ride truly insane.

The ride features a four-man raft doing down an initial drop, before strong jets of water  shoot the raft up a hill before it thunders down another 50 foot drop to the bottom.

Who says water can’t be exciting while refreshing?