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Requirements

Health authorities have historically suggested at least eight glasses, eight fluid ounces each (240 ml), of water per day (64 fluid ounces, or 1.89 litres), and the British Dietetic Association recommends 1.8 litres.

Drink Gateway from AlansKitchen.comThe amount of water varies with the individual, as it depends on the condition of the subject, the amount of physical exercise, and on the environmental temperature and humidity.

In the US, the reference daily intake (RDI) for water is 3.7 litres per day (l/day) for human males older than 18, and 2.7 l/day for human females older than 18 including water contained in food, beverages, and drinking water.

The common misconception that everyone should drink two litres (68 ounces, or about eight 8-oz glasses) of water per day is not supported by scientific research.  Various reviews of all the scientific literature on the topic performed in 2002 and 2008 could not find any solid scientific evidence that recommended drinking eight glasses of water per day.

For example, people in hotter climates will require greater water intake than those in cooler climates. An individual's thirst provides a better guide for how much water they require rather than a specific, fixed number. A more flexible guideline is that a normal person should urinate 4 times per day, and the urine should be a light yellow color.

In terms of mineral nutrients intake, it is unclear what the drinking water contribution is. However, inorganic minerals generally enter surface water and ground water via storm water runoff or through the Earth's crust.

Treatment processes also lead to the presence of some minerals. Examples include calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphate, fluoride and sodium compounds. Water generated from the biochemical metabolism of nutrients provides a significant proportion of the daily water requirements for some arthropods and desert animals, but provides only a small fraction of a human's necessary intake. There are a variety of trace elements present in virtually all potable water, some of which play a role in metabolism.

For example sodium, potassium and chloride are common chemicals found in small quantities in most waters, and these elements play a role (not necessarily major) in body metabolism.  Other elements such as fluoride, while beneficial in low concentrations, can cause dental problems and other issues when present at high levels.  Water is essential for the growth and maintenance of our bodies, as it is involved in a number of biological processes.

Profuse sweating can increase the need for electrolyte (salt) replacement. Water intoxication (which results in hyponatremia), the process of consuming too much water too quickly, can be fatal.

The human kidneys will normally adjust to varying levels of water intake.  The kidneys will require time to adjust to the new water intake level. This can cause someone who drinks a lot of water to become dehydrated more easily than someone who routinely drinks less.

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