A person on an average can survive without food for days, but cannot survive without water. Water is the basic need of any living being. But sadly this basic need is soon nearing its end. Thanks to the high amounts of water consumption. The availability is also decreasing. Let us learn more the water consumption, availability, and cycle.
Water is one of the most abundantly found in natural resources. Without water life on earth is impossible. Water is an essential substance for all living organism. Green plants need water for photosynthesis and animals need water for drinking, bathing, washing, etc. Water is also known as the elixir of life.
Availability of Water
Water makes about 70% of the earth’s crust. It is a prime natural resource which is found on and under the ground. Most of the (about 97%0) is in the seas and oceans as salt water. This water is too salty to be used for drinking and irrigation. Thus, only 3% is available to us as fresh water. Out of this 2.997% is locked up in the mountains or glacier.
So, about only 0.003% of the fresh water is easily available to us in the form of groundwater, river, lake, stream, soil moisture, and water vapor for our need of water consumption.
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Sources of Water
The various sources of water are as follows:
- Rainwater: Rain is the main source of water. It is considered to be the purest form of natural water. The rainwater also brings with it, the smoke and dust particles present in the atmosphere. Therefore, the first shower of rain contains many impurities.
- Oceans and seas: Almost 97% of all water is in the oceans. But this water is too salty to be used for drinking, farming, and irrigation.
- River and lakes: A part of rainwater falling on the earth’s surface runs down the slope of the land in the form of rivers and streams. In some rivers, water also flows in by melting of ice on the mountains.
- Groundwater: When it rains, a part of it seeps through a layer of soil. This water reaches solid rocks where it gets collected as groundwater. Groundwater can be obtained by drilling wells or sinking tube well to reach the water table.
All living organisms need water to stay alive. But human beings depend on water more than plants and animals. In our day-to-day activities, we do water consumption for different purposes such as:
- Domestic uses: We need water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, washing, and some other activities. Each person may use an average of about 260 Liters of water a day in the house for different activities
- Industrial uses: Our industries use a large amount of water at different stages of production, from the use of water as a raw material to generate electricity. The uses vary from industry to industry.
- Agriculture uses: farmers depend largely on the water in the form of rainfall for higher production of crops. If there is not sufficient rainfall or irrigation facility, it greatly affects the agricultural production. Farmers use different irrigation methods to water the plants.
- Water for recreation and transport: People still depend on water transportation to carry heavy and bulky products as machinery, coal, grain, and oil. People build most of their recreation areas along lakes, rivers, and seas. They enjoy water sports such as swimming, fishing, and sailing.
States of Water
In nature, water exists in three states—solid (ice, snow, hail), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor). The three states of water are interchangeable, i.e., water can be changed from one form to another easily.
The circulation of water from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and back to earth is called water cycle. It is a cyclical process which repeats itself again and again. The different stages of the water cycle are as follows:
- Evaporation: It takes place when the sun heats up water in river, lakes or ocean and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor leaves the rivers, lakes, and oceans and goes into the air. About 90% evaporation is provided by the ocean, sea, lakes, and river. The remaining 10% is contributed by plant transpiration. Water vapor is water particles in gaseous form.
- Formation of a cloud: When warm air rises, it expands and cools. Cool air cannot hold as much water vapor in it as warm air; therefore some of the vapor condenses onto tiny dust particles floating in the air and form tiny water droplets around dust particles. These water droplets join together, they become a visible cloud.
- Condensation: When water vapors enter the air, the air cools and the water vapor changes back into liquid droplets, forming clouds. This process of change of water vapor into liquid droplets is called condensation.
- Precipitation: It occurs when the clouds become saturated with water vapor and heavy with water, the water falls back to the Earth in the form of rain, hail, or snow.
Learn about conservation of water here in detail.
Question For You
Q. The total percentage of fresh drinking water on earth is around:
a. 03% b. 10%
c. 25% d. 40%
Ans: a. 03%