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Cement is a chemical compound that chemically reacts with water and forms a gel that acts as a binder for coarse and fine aggregates and thereby providing compressive strength to concrete and mortar. The quality and quantity of water, used for making and curing concrete and mortar, strongly influences its strength and durability.
Even mortars for brick work and plastering should be made with only the required quantity of water.

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Quality of Water for construction
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Water which is fit for drinking is usually found acceptable for use in construction. Water from natural bodies like lakes, ponds, rivers etc. that is contaminated with sewage (black or brown in colour with foul smell), algae (green colour with fishy smell) or soap is not recommended for use in concrete.

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Water that is brackish and contains harmful acids, alkalis or salts should not be used

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The quality of water used for curing should be the same as the water used for making concrete

Harmful effects of excess usage of water

Excess water reduces the strength of cement paste, thereby making concrete or mortar weak.

Excess water also leads to segregation and bleeding in concrete

Excess water present in capillary pores causes voids in concrete and makes it permeable. It is through these voids that chemicals like sulphates, chlorides, carbon dioxide etc. and moisture, that are harmful to concrete and embedded steel reinforcement, gain entry into the concrete and cause damage and deterioration.

Maximum water permitted in concrete made from one bag (50 kg) of cement is 27.5 liters.


What is the ideal quantity of water for concrete preparation?

The quantity of mixing water should be carefully measured and for consistent quality of concrete, quantity of water in each batch should be the same. The quantity of water in concrete can easily be measured with a 5 liter can / tin or a suitably graduated bucket. Here too for consistent quality, it is imperative that the quantity of water in every batch is similar.

Impurities in water like oil, sugar and turbid material (silt / clay / algae) affects the performance of concrete.