Why Do Some Places Have Hard Water?

Why Do Some Places Have Hard Water?

Hard water is a hidden culprit for many of your household issues. If you’ve noticed stains inside your kettles, increased hair fall, or unexplainable acne: these are all signs of using hard water. People have learned about hard water, but why do some places have hard water?

Some places have hard water due to the flow of the water source through sedimentary rocks. These rocks are remains of sea creatures, which pass on ions such as calcium into the water. Locations that lack these rocks have soft water. Whether a place has hard or soft water is determined by its geography.

In this article, you’ll learn about how water becomes “hard” and whether you have it in your area. Keep reading to get to the bottom of this issue!

Read my article about US Cities with hard water.

How Does Hard Water Develop?

As you’ve probably learned, hard water is water with high levels of metals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are present in the form of ions and change the properties of the water.

You will find hard water in any area where the water table is in contact with sedimentary rocks, such as chalk, fossils, and limestone. The calcium dissolves into the water, and the higher the calcium levels, the harder the water.

The table below shows the different distinctions between hard and soft water.

Level of calcium carbonate (mg/l) Classification
0-50 Soft
51-100 Moderately soft
101-150 Slightly hard
151-200 Moderately hard
201-300 Hard
Above 300 Very hard


To understand what increases the likeliness of hard water, you’ll need a small refresher for your middle school geography lessons.

Areas that use water present in aquifers, water present in empty pockets underground, tend to have hard water. That’s because this water seeps into the soil, traveling through, and settling in rocks.

If the rock is sedimentary in nature, meaning it’s porous, water is stored inside it and mixes with its materials. Since sedimentary rocks are made of particles such as sand, debris, clay, etc., it has a high concentration of minerals.

So, in areas that were once underwater or require underground water reserves, the water supply is normally of hard water.

On the other hand, locations that use surface water have soft water. That includes water from lakes, reservoirs, or rivers. This water hasn’t come into contact with soluble rocks, so it has a lower mineral concentration.

Now, the type of water you’ll get isn’t based on your location but the site of your water supply.

If you live in an area with soft water but pump the water you use from the ground, it’ll be hard water. Similarly, if you live in a hard water area but have a water supply from a reservoir, it’ll be soft water.

What Locations Have Hard Water?

Hard water is present around the globe; it isn’t specified to any location. However, as previously mentioned, it’s present in areas with sedimentary rocks near the water source.

North and South America

The United States has both hard and soft water in different states. Some soft water states are Alabama, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Washington, etc. Among the hard water states are Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and so on.

Canada also faces problems with hard water in locations ranging from Calgary to East Ontario.

Latin American countries suffer from great water shortages and lack clean water. There’s more soft water in Brazil thanks to the Brazilian river basins.


In the UK, water within London and surrounding areas is classified as hard or very hard. But in Wales, it is moderately soft or soft.

France has more hard water in its northern side, compared to the rest of the country. There’s softer water as you travel south, but it becomes hard again near the end.


Countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, etc., have higher hard water levels, but Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan have water on the softer side which could be credited to their location.

3 Signs Your Home Has Hard Water

You can find different indicators for hard water around your house. It can affect your house, the products you use, or yourself!

Here are three common signs of hard water:

1. Excessive Build-Up and Stains

Since hard water has high mineral contents, it can eventually deposit on surfaces after prolonged exposure. You don’t need an expert to identify this rusting; you can check it out yourself.

Take a look at your bathrooms, kitchens, and pipelines. Porcelain becomes stained with brown-reddish patches, which are difficult to scrub off.

If you often boil water, you might also find these stains within pots and pans. Once you peek into your home’s internal pipes, you’ll find excess build-up, a dead giveaway for hard water.

2. Poor Performing Soaps and Detergents

The performance of soapy products changes because of hard water. They lose their lather and feel sticky instead. For products you’ve been using long-term, it may be easy to point out the change.

But if you’re using something new, try asking someone else how it performs for them. Comparing how well a detergent works for someone with the same washing machine is a good test to see if the problem is the water or the detergent.

3. Hair and Skin Problems

After moving homes or cities, a common complaint is that people begin experiencing hair fall and acne. There can be multiple reasons, such as diet, routine, weather, health, etc.

But if you’re convinced nothing else has changed, it might be the water you’re using.

It can be expensive, but buying a small water filter for your showers and basin taps is easy. These taps filter out the minerals in hard water to enjoy better water quality without moving again.

Read my article about the harmful effects hard water has on your skin.


Q. Is Hard Water Poisonous?

Hard water isn’t poisonous or a health hazard. It has a high level of minerals which might make it unpleasant to drink, but it generally doesn’t pose a threat.

It would be best if you still were careful about consuming water from taps inside your homes because it isn’t always safe.

Q. Can You Drink Hard Water?

Normally hard water is safe to drink. It doesn’t cause any diseases, reactions, or other health concerns. However, if the water isn’t clean, it can lead to problems.

Make sure that the water you drink is otherwise safe.

Q. Is Hard Water Permanent?

Hard water may or may not be permanent. It depends on the number of ions present. If hard water is temporary, it can be fixed by boiling or other methods.

If it’s permanent, you must try different treatments or tools, such as an ion exchange column in your home’s water system.

Final Thoughts

Hard water isn’t dangerous but can be a great annoyance. People think soft water is better than hard water; however, both have pros and cons.

You can find out if your area has hard or soft water by searching online or looking for common signs in your home. You can make the most out of your water supply by making small adjustments.

The Filter Guy

Scott Birch is a water filtration installer and designer. He has worked in the industry for many years and is very familiar with and knowledgeable about residential water treatment equipment. Scott enjoys helping people get the most out of their water filtration systems and ensuring that their homes are getting the best possible quality of water.

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