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I'm writing a story in a world very similar to our Earth, but with few differences. In this world, the "human" beings have to deal with the shortage of drinkable water. But they have plenty of distilled water available.

To keep a realistic background, are there (here) some plants or other forms of life that can enrich distilled water adding the required substances to make the water drinkable?

For example, I know that peas enrich the soil with nitrogen. So I wonder if there are other species that using the solar energy (or with some other external helps) release into the water the nutrients minerals and salts useful for our life.

I'm thinking about a kind of hydroponics tanks where these plants grow and after some time you can drink the water.

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  • $\begingroup$ @user6760 sorry for my bad English. I just mean water with minerals, salts, etc... like a good water from a mountain spring. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Dec 31, 2021 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ Drinking distilled water is as safe as drinking any other kind of bottled water. Yes, in some circumstances you need to take mineral supplements, but then in the same circumstances you would need to take the same mineral supplements no matter what kind of bottled water you drink. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 31, 2021 at 8:50

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Distilled water is dangerous to drink not because it lacks nutrients (you don't get nutrients from water, water with nutrients is called a soup), but because the lack of dissolved minerals and salts causes citholysis due to osmosis: water enters the cells as a way to balance the different saline concentration and the cells end up bursting. A classical experiment to demonstrate this is to drop some distilled water on a strip of fresh blood: the red cells will inflate and explode.

To balance the saline content of distilled water you don't need plants, it's sufficient to harvest the water in a container made of any type of rock: the water will dissolve some of the elements in the rock, increasing its saline content. As a bonus, you don't need to supply energy to make this happen: solubilization of salts is a spontaneous process.

Incidentally, that's the same process through which rain (which is the closest you can get to a natural distilled water) gets enriched in minerals and even carves caves in carsic regions.

For a reference, when I was a kid in the summer it was common to drink rain water harvested during the previous winter in underground chambers coated with lime, and this was common practice in many regions through history. It doesn't take long for the dissolution to happen and balance the saline content.

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    $\begingroup$ My bad: with "nutrients" I meant "dissolved minerals and salts" $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Dec 31, 2021 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ Good hints about the container made of rock: but how long should run the process? As far as I know, the rain may take thousands of years before emerging again as a spring. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Dec 31, 2021 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ You don't need distilled water for that experiment. Ordinary drinking water will have the exact same effect. Good thing we take water by mouth and we don't inject it directly in our bloodstream. By and large, drinking distilled water is as safe as drinking any other kind of bottled water. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 31, 2021 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Agree, and wood can also do the job.. rain barrels.. btw distilled water will only be dangerous in large quantities. Your body is 60 percent water, guess can handle a liter or two without any symptoms.. at least I can't find specific amounts in Google.. google.com/search?q=distilled+water+amount+dangerous $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 31, 2021 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Goodies: You couldn't find anything because there is nothing to find; distilled water is not more dangerous than Evian or Perrier. Drinking distilled water instead of other kinds of water is perfectly safe, provided that you take your mineral supplements from other sources. (And drinking non-distilled water does not necessarily mean that you don't need those mineral supplements. You may need to take your iodine, for a common example.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 31, 2021 at 22:38

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