Water Questions and Answers

Where did water first come from?
Water molecules were formed from hydrogen and oxygen atoms many, many years ago. The same water that formed during the creation of the earth is the same water on earth today - no more will ever be added.

Why is earth referred to as the water planet?
Water or glaciers cover around 80% of the earth. Only 3% of the water on earth is freshwater, meaning it contains no salt. Most of the water found on earth is frozen in glaciers at the north and south poles. Only about 1% of the water on earth is freshwater for our use.

With so many of us using water, when will we run out?
Every day, we use about 700 billion gallons of clean drinking water here in the United States. That's about 170 gallons per person each day. But as long as water can complete the water (or hydrologic) cycle, the water will be replaced. However, too much demand can cause a shortage on the supply of safe drinking water.

The water cycle constantly moves water from the earth to the clouds and back again. The sun draws the water to the clouds through evaporation, and water falls back to earth by precipitation.

Every day, the sun evaporates trillions of gallons of water. Every second, 16 million tons of water falls to the earth. Wow!

How does the rainwater or snow melt get into aquifers?
Precipitation infiltrates or moves downward through the soil and travels until it finds an opening. Snow could melt on a mountain top, run down the side of the mountain, and find a creek. It then moves downward through the soil and travels until it reaches the surface again in a river or ocean and then it's evaporated into the atmosphere. That is a complete cycle for a water drop.

Over a 100 year period, a water molecule spends 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice, 2 weeks in lakes and rivers, and less than a week in the atmosphere.

How long could we live without water?
Only a few days without water. Our bodies store food, but not water. Every day, people eliminate about 3/4 of a gallon of water which must be replaced.

We need about 80 ounces of water per day, but not all of it comes from drinking fluids. Fruits and vegetables are 80 - 90% water. Even fried chicken and pizza are 50% water. A regular hamburger contains about 4 ounces of water.

People are mostly water - men are 70% water and women are 60% water. Blood is 83% water. Even our bones are made of 25%.

What can we do to help protect our water?
There are lots of ways we can save water and stop water pollution. Save water by taking shorter showers or shallow baths. Wash full loads of laundry. Wash a few dishes by hand. Don't let the water run with brushing teeth or shaving. Use what you need, then turn it off. Check for leaks and report them.

Use up chemical household cleaners, don't throw them away or put them down the drain. Share any unused portions of paint with neighbors. Don't pour used motor oil on the ground or bury old batteries.

Once ground water is polluted, it may stay that way for several thousand years before nature can clean it.