Depending on where you live, your water will be considered either hard or soft.
In definition: hard water contains higher than ordinary levels of dissolved minerals. An example is magnesium and calcium. When they come into contact with carbon monoxide, the result is water that is deemed hard. Evidence of hard water include: white to greenish residue around pipe joints and openings; soap that does not suds up well and a sticky residue when hard water and soap come together.
Soft water contains low concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions. Rainwater is naturally soft because it has not been filtered through the ground, picking up minerals and other natural compounds that transform it into hard water.
If you live in a location where these minerals are not filtering into the water, then your water will be soft.
Both are safe to drink.
Many people will introduce water softeners into their water system to improve the uses of water, such as making laundry soap clean more efficiently and cleaning tubs and sinks. Hard water can leave laundry dingy and a “ring” or scale around the bathtub after bathing. Some people don’t feel they are clean after taking a bath or shower, because the soap does not rinse well.
Softening your water means you have added material containing high amounts of sodium. Water softens as it passes through these sulfonated beads, exchanging the ions. The hardness minerals attach themselves to the beads, while the beads release the sodium into the water.
In the Central Oregon area, we are fortunate to have plenty of lava beds underground that act as an excellent water filter.