The aesthetics and acceptability of purified water:
In Germany, the legal quality of drinking water has to be assessed not only according to health based or technical criteria, but also on the basis of esthetic criteria such as colour, odour, taste, turbidity and purity. From a scientific (analytical) point of view, the esthetic criterion »purity« can be defined only as the complete absence of xenobiotics from drinking water.
This esthetic concept for drinking water is incompatible with a more general esthetic concept of sustainable water use. Such a concept would include regional water management based an water (re)circulation and thus conservation of nature, since it seems almost impossible to eliminate every last molecule of a contaminant from (parts of) the circulating water body.
An acceptable compromise between both esthetic options would be a criterion of “purity” as defined by limit values and quality requirements on the basis of good practice, reasonable expenditure and the paradigm of minimization (“Minimierungsgebot”) of the German Drinking Water Ordinance. Such limit values and quality requirements would guarantee the safety of drinking water as well in the very sense of preventive health care.