Have you ever wondered if water from the Earth can escape into outer space? The answer is that some particles of water (as vapor) can escape into outer space, though most of it is prevented from doing, so as it gets condensed at an altitude much below the level from where it can escape. This condensed water comes back to the Earth as rain and joins the recycling process. However, if water were to escape easily into outer space, that would be quite catastrophic as we may be staring at another Mars in the making. Thankfully, such situations can exist only in Sci-Fi books and movies.

important facts about water

Precious Resource:
Water, which is the most precious resource on Earth, covers about 70% to 75% of the Earth’s surface. There is a striking similarity here – About 70% of the human body also is made up of water. That probably tells you how much we need water, daily or rather, every hour or so. Most of us have taken drinking water for granted, though some alarming reports say that by the year 2030, the world’s population would be spending 25% of the income on water. That gives us an idea how important water conservation is.  

Here are some more interesting facts about water:

  1. Over 80% of an infant’s body (by weight) is made up of water at birth
  2. A normal, healthy adult can drink about 50 cups of water (about 11 liters) in a day
  3. It is dangerous to drink too much water too quickly, as it can lead to what is known as “water intoxication.” This causes the water to dilute the sodium level in the blood, leading to water imbalance in the brain.
  4. The body requires a minimum of 6 to 8 cups of water daily; however, some foods we eat contain water, so consuming a couple of cups less doesn’t matter.
  5. About two-thirds of the water in our body is found in the cells.
  6. It is better to drink plain water instead of soft drinks, coffee or tea. Although such beverages are made up of water, they contain caffeine, which prevents water from reaching the vital parts of the body.
  7. Only after losing 1% of the water in the body does a person feel thirsty
  8. The weight loss noticed after a bout of strenuous physical activity is due to loss of water and not because of loss of fat.
  9. Pure water is neither acidic nor basic; it should have a pH of 7 as it contains only hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
  10. Water dissolves chemicals, nutrients, and minerals as it flows, it can dissolve more substances when compared to any other liquid.
  11. Only 25% of the Earth’s surface is covered by land; the rest is covered by water.
  12. Most of the Earth’s freshwater is stored underground in what is known as aquifers; there is very little water on the surface.
  13. In reality, not a drop of water can be lost or allowed to escape. The same quantity of water is trapped in the Earth and has been here since millions of years. It is either in the form of ice, water or vapor.
  14. The total quantity of water found on the Earth is 326 cubic miles
  15. Of this astounding quantity of water, human beings can use only three-tenths of a percent. This quantity is found in underground aquifers, freshwater lakes, and rivers.
  16. The United States consumes a large quantity of water and needs about 346,000 gallons of water daily
  17. Over 80% of this water is used for irrigation purposes as well as generating thermoelectric power.
  18. The per capita consumption of water in the United States is around 80 to 100 gallons per day. More water is used for flushing toilets than for anything else.
  19. Almost 85% of the U.S. population receives water through a public distribution system; the rest find their sources of water from wells, lakes, and rivers.
  20. If the total quantity of water found on Earth were to be spread on the planet’s surface evenly, it would have an amazing depth of 3,700 meters. So it is easy for the earth to be submerged by water that is around it.
  21. Over 97% of the water found on Earth is in the Oceans and is salty. Only 1% of the water is available as fresh, potable water. About 2.1% is in the form of ice trapped in the polar ice caps.
  22. Water should gasify at room temperature, as other similar molecules as if Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are in the gaseous form. Water molecules have a sticky property that keeps it in the liquid form.
  23. While Hydrogen (gas) is the most common molecule found on Earth, water is the second most common molecule found on this planet.
  24. Although water vapor from the Earth cannot escape into outer space, NASA scientists discovered a massive cloud of water vapor around a black hole that was some 12 billion light-years away from the Earth. The water contained in the cloud is an overwhelming 140 trillion times more than all the water found on Earth.
  25. Contrary to popular misconceptions, water was not present on Earth all along. It arrived here along with comets and asteroids billions of years ago during a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment.
  26. The Antarctic region is covered by ice that represents 10 thousand trillion tons of water. The region has been covered in ice for over 30 million years now.
  27. While most liquids expand when they freeze, water expands as it freezes. Hence, during winter, water in the lakes and rivers freezes from top to bottom, making way for life to evolve in spite of the recurrent ice ages.
  28. Ironically, hot water freezes faster than cold water, and this phenomenon is called the Mpemba Effect, though the exact reason for this is not known.
  29. Wherever there is water on Earth, there is life, irrespective of the acidity of the area or the high temperature of the water.

We need to understand some of the important facts about water.  Did you know that the oceans are present on the Earth with a purpose? Seawater can absorb more sunlight (heat) than land. A very large quantity of energy is absorbed by the oceans that cover this planet. This is what helps the earth remain warm; else, the Earth could either get heated up too much during the day or become too cold during the nights. The Earth’s climate is based on a system that has managed to remain stable all along.

However, currently, there is drastic climate change in which water plays a major role. The fact is that humans are responsible for the sorry state of affairs that we have brought upon ourselves. The dramatic increase in the green house gases has caused an imbalance and irreparable damage, and re-stabilizing this is a herculean or an impossible task. The sheer magnitude of things is quite incomprehensible.

Although the Earth will not run out of the water, it will certainly run out of potable, drinking water very soon. Unless proper water management techniques are followed, most of the river waters will flow into the sea and turn salty and useless for human consumption. Although the sun helps in evaporating the sea water, which then gets converted to rain-bearing clouds and falls as rain or snow, most of it falls in places where there is hardly any habitation.

For instance, most of the rain falling in the Congo region in Africa is deposited in the Congo River and its tributaries. However, only 10% of Africa’s population lives in this area. Hence most of the water flows away to be wasted in the sea. While the per capita water availability in North America is 19,000 cubic meters, in Asia, it is a paltry 4,700 cubic meters. The irony is that Asia is one of the most thickly populated areas in the world.

The need of the hour is water conservation and proper management of available water resources.  If a person spends five minutes in a shower, he or she is using 200 liters of water, whereas the actual requirement is just 25 to 30 liters. Similarly, it takes not less than 15,000 liters of water for getting 1 kg of beef. The water that is wasted while having a shave is more than 5 liters, and a single flush in a toilet costs about 8 liters of water.

There is a disparity in the availability of water from region to region, which is nobody’s fault. However, if we were to stop for a moment and think about the future generations, we may not be so generous while using water in the future. A drop of water saved today means a lot to the subsequent generations, and unless we act now, the future looks pretty bleak.