Water is the most commonly found liquid on Earth. Its importance to living beings is more or less known by everyone. However, besides its daily use of just drinking, washing or cooking; water has countless other potentials and functionalities that you might not be aware of. Here are 50 water facts that could reinforce your idea of its impacts on our daily lives as well as the capabilities of this eminent transparent liquid.
1. About 65% of the human body is made up of water:
According to various researches conducted, the percentage of water in human bodies vary depending on a number of factors like gender, weight, age as well as health. It was found that the average human adult male has about 60% of body water whereas, the average human adult female has about 50% of body water.
On the other hand, a newborn infant was found to have about 73% of body water and people with obesity to have about 45% of body water. Accordingly, the more fat in the body, the less body water it has. Another case is for muscular bodies – the more muscular the body is, the more body water it has. Therefore, it is evident that the factors essentially manipulate the outcomes and thus, resulting in the drastic differences between the percentages of body water.
So where in our bodies do we carry this much water in? Majority of the water in the human body is contained inside the cells of the body. You can already imagine how much water that must be, in order to keep the billions of cells in our bodies alive. The entire amount of water resides in three primary regions in the human body: Two-thirds of the water is found within our cells and the remaining one-third of the water is found between the spaces of our cells as well as in our blood.
Yes, you read it right. Even our bones, something so rigid, is made up of water. In accordance with the USGS Water Science School, our bones contain up to 31% of water. To give you an idea of how much water that adds up in our body, our bones make up approximately 15% of our overall body mass.
3. Effects water has on us when we do not have enough of them – dehydration
Dehydration is explained as a harmful reduction in the amount of water in the body which hampers the normal functioning of the body. Particularly children and people that are over the age of 60 are more prone to dehydration than others.
As soon as a person’s body experiences a water level drop below a healthy amount, plenty of noteworthy symptoms show up. Some of these symptoms include: thirst, dry skin, dry mouth and tongue, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, as well as no tears when an affected child cries.
4. Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water:
As a result of the predominance of water on the surface of the Earth, our planet looks like a blue marble when looked upon from the outer space. This consists of the water from the oceans, lakes and rivers, in glaciers and ice caps, in the land as soil moisture and in aquifers, and even in humans as well as animals!
5. Over 96% of the Earth’s water is from the oceans:
Of all the Earth’s water combined, the vast majority, about 96.5% is salt water found in oceans. Therefore, since this water is not drinkable, it has to go through the process of desalination in order to make it suitable for drinking.
6. Less than 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable:
Besides the 96% of water coming from the oceans, the remaining 3.5% is freshwater. However, 69% of this freshwater exists in the form of ice. Combining all the water from the lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps, streams, etc. forms only 0.3% of the Earth’s water supply. In a nutshell, less than 1% of all the water supply in the Earth that can be used as drinking water.
7. Only one tablespoon of freshwater from all of the Earth’s water:
To supplement the previous fact, if we were to fit all of the Earth’s water into a gallon jug, the available freshwater would equal to just about a tablespoon of water.
8. The Earth’s atmosphere has more water than all of its rivers combined:
The balance of the number of gases found in the Earth’s atmosphere makes this planet’s environment suitable for life. Water vapour, the gaseous form of water, is one of the constituents of the Earth’s atmosphere. To put it in numbers, the Earth’s atmosphere consists of 37.5 million billion gallons of water in the form of water vapour.
As a result of the water cycle, Earth’s water supply continually moves from one place to another as well as from one form to another. About 90% of the Earth’s water vapour is sourced from the ocean and the remaining 10% from plants.
9. What if all of the Earth’s water vapour fell as water at once?
To supplement the previous fact, since the Earth’s atmosphere consists of 37.5 million billion gallons of water in the form of water vapour, if all of the water vapour from the Earth’s atmosphere fell down as water at once and spread out evenly, it would cover our whole planet with approximately an inch of water.
10. Water can absorb heat better than most substances:
Water has a relatively high heat capacity. Heat capacity of water refers to the ability of water to absorb heat without having to experience a rise in its temperature. For this reason, water has a relatively high boiling point compared to the other compounds that are similar in weight. To put it in numbers, 4,184 Joules of heat is needed for the temperature of one kilogram of water to rise 1 degree Celsius (°C). Due to water’s remarkable capability to absorb heat, it is used as a coolant in industries, as well as the radiators in cars.
Since water has a relatively high heat capacity – which means that it is able to absorb a good amount of heat before its temperature increases, it plays a noteworthy role in regulating the temperature of the Earth.
Since 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered with water, the oceans play a great role in balancing the Earth’s climate. Water works as an efficient regulator of heat as it has the ability to store and release heat much slower than air. In order to regulate the climate of the coastal regions, ocean currents carry water from the Equator to the poles.
12. An average live tree is around 30% – 50% water by weight:
Some of the factors that determine the amount of water that a tree holds are as follows – the species of the tree, the age of the tree, and the location where the tree is planted in. It has been found that a large tree can absorb up to 100 gallons of water from the ground, as well as release that water into the air through transpiration, in a single day.
13. In a home, more than half of the water is used in the bathroom:
Water is a crucial part of our everyday lives. From cooking, drinking, washing to watering our plants and a lot more – we cannot go on a day without water at our homes. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, out of all the activities that we make use of water at our homes, more than half of it is used in the bathroom. To give you an idea, we use 8 litres of water to flush a toilet, which is about the same amount as we use to brush your teeth.
How long do you like to take a shower? Well, to give you an idea of the amount of water we use up in our daily showers – it takes up to 10 to 25 gallons of water for a five minute shower. So for a 10 minute shower, that’s already up to 50 gallons of water!
15. The average tap releases up to 2 gallons of water per minute:
For this reason, every morning, you can save up to four gallons of water by just turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. One gallon equals to 15,140 drips and one litre equals to 4,000 drips. A tap can leak up to 3,000 gallons of water in a year at one drip per second.
16. A leaking pipe can waste up to a thousand gallons of water in a day:
If you thought leaking taps were concerning and you are already blown away, leaking pipes are way more serious as well as costly. A pipe leak, just the size of the tip of a pencil, can waste up to 970 gallons of water within 24 hours, even if the water is flowing at a low pressure.
17. A running toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day:
A slow leak will waste up to 30 gallons of water per day, whereas a medium leak is more serious and will waste up to 250 gallons of water per day. The worst case scenario is when your toilet goes through a constant flow of water which wastes up to 4,000 gallons of water per day.
18. The water pipelines and aqueducts in the United States and Canada are enough to circle the whole globe 40 times:
There are about 1 million miles of water pipeline and aqueducts available in the United States and Canada. As a result of this huge number, the New York City water supply system experiences wastage of approximately 36 million gallons of water per day through leaks.
19. The average American residence uses more than 100,000 gallons of water in a year:
In the United States, about 400 billion gallons of water are used per day. To give you an idea of how much that is – almost half of this amount is used for thermoelectric power generation.
20. At birth, human babies are 75% percent of water:
The content of water in our bodies when we are infants equal to that of a fresh potato! However, we start to dry as we grow up. According to the U.S Geological survey, just after a year after birth, a baby has a 10% drop and is left with 65% of water. Therefore, the longer we live, the drier we get.
21. Water regulates the temperature of the human body:
Since water has a relatively high heat capacity – meaning that it has the ability to absorb and transfer a lot of heat well, the human body makes use of this trait to regulate its temperature.
The water in the cells of the human body act as a safeguard unusual temperature changes. Blood is mostly made out of water. Therefore, blood helps to move heat away from the limits when conservation of heat is required. It moves towards the surface of the skin when excess heat needs to be expelled, as well as move the heat from the muscles if need be. Furthermore, water aids in getting rid of the excess heat from the body in the form of water vapour from the lungs, as well as in the form of sweat on the skin.
Water has the ability to dissolve more substances than any other liquid in the world. For this reason, water carries nutrients, minerals and chemicals with it wherever it goes. However, just because it is called the universal solvent does not mean that water is able to dissolve everything. There are many compounds that water will not dissolve well or dissolve at all.
23. Thirst ensures the balance of hydration and nutrients among living beings:
Through an experiment done by Pascal Saker, a neuroscientist at the University of Melbourne, Australia and his colleagues – it had been found that thirst is a way of the brain informing a person that his body requires hydration and nutrients that are essential for the healthy functioning of the cells.
Similarly, after satisfying his thirst, the person feels unpleasant to drink more water as it is also an indication by the brain that the person is drinking much more water than his body requires. This is a real advantage, since drinking excess water could potentially lead to concerning low levels of sodium. This could in turn lead to dangerous diseases, such as hyponatremia, or cerebral edema (excess fluid in the brain).
24. About 844 million people from around the world do not have access to safe drinking water:
We have already talked about the limited amount of freshwater we have access to on Earth – which is less than 1% of all of the Earth’s water. Humans have found ways to purify water and even make saltwater drinkable through the process of desalination. However, as a result of poverty as well as other reasons, there are still numerous people from around the world that do not have access to clean and safe water. To give you an idea through numbers, 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water.
25. About 2.3 billion people from around the world are living without access to improved sanitation:
Did you know that more people in the world have mobile phone than a toilet? A toilet is a basic as well as a daily need of a human being. However, 1 in 3 people from around the world do not have access to a toilet. One of the reasons for this is due to the lack of access to water. This is mainly experienced by people that are not financially stable. Reference link: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
26. Every day, women and girls spend up to 6 hours for collecting water:
In areas where water crisis is prevalent, women and girls are largely affected by it. They often have the responsibility to collect water for their families. It has been found that South African women take a daily walk of a distance that equals to 16 trips to the moon and back to collect water. So they end up spending hours looking for a place to collect some water from. Since this task takes up about a quarter of their day, their studies and other work are greatly affected as well. This in turn makes them fall into a cycle of poverty. Reference link: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
27. A child dies from a water-related disease every 90 second:
According to the World Health Organisation, contaminated water is the leading cause of diseases and deaths around the world. More than 3.4 million people from around the world die as a result of waterborne diseases every year. Some findings show that approximately 1.8 billion people from around the world drink water that is contaminated with faeces. Some of the types of diseases caused by contaminated water are as follows: cholera, typhoid, guinea worm disease, dysentery, etc. Reference link: https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2005-03-17-voa34-67381152/274768.html
28. Contaminated water causes about 502,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year:
Diarrhoea, a disease caused by contaminated water, is the third leading cause of death in children from around the world. There are about 4 Billion cases of diarrhoea disease every year. Worldwide, diarrhoea causes 4,000 deaths every day. This is more than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, malaria and measles combined! Unfortunately, 90% of these deaths are prevalent amongst children under the age of five. Reference link: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/
29. By 2025, two-third of the world’s population will be living in areas that are water-stressed:
At present, approximately 700 million people in 43 countries from around the world are already suffering from the scarcity of water. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of water-stressed countries of any other region in the world. The prediction of two-third of the world’s population experiencing water scarcity is made as a result of the current consumption rate of water which is expected to get worse as time passes. The current climate change scenarios as well as the consequences of global warming could also be noteworthy factors that are contributing to this prediction. If this prediction proves to be true, all the ecosystems from around the world would dreadfully suffer. Reference link: https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity
30. $260 Billion is lost globally every year as a result of lack of safe water and sanitation:
Since people have to invest a lot of time for collecting water as well as looking for safe sanitation, they are unable to give time for education or work opportunities that could contribute in breaking off the cycle of poverty. Hence, this results in lost economic opportunities. Reference link: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
31. The world would economically benefit with $36 Billion each year through reductions in health care costs:
If all of the people from around the world had access to basic water and education, less people would be affected by diseases caused by contaminated water or poor hygiene. As a result of this, health care costs would be reduced and the world would experience an estimated economic benefit of $36 Billion per year. Reference link: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
32. An average human being can survive up to a month without food, but only two days to a week without water:
We need more water than we need food! However, there is no certain prediction that can be done to calculate how fast a person would die due to dehydration. Therefore, the statement “a human being can survive for two days to a week without water” is just a rough estimation at its best. Nevertheless, there are some noteworthy factors that determine how long a person would be able to survive without water. The individual’s health condition, as well as the individual’s physical activity levels and the weather condition are some of those contributing factors. In accordance with the Mayo Clinic, elderly people, children, people that have chronic diseases, as well as people that work outside are especially prone to dehydration. Reference link: https://www.livescience.com/32320-how-long-can-a-person-survive-without-water.html
33. An acre of corn gives off around 3,000 – 4,000 gallons (11,400 – 15,100 litres) of water per day:
Transpiration is the process through which a plant loses its water in the form of water vapour through evaporation. During a plant’s growing season, the leaf of the plant is known to transpire much more water than its own weight. Accordingly, at that time of the year, an acre of corn has been found to transpire up to 4,000 gallons of water each day! Reference link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpiration
34. Under extremely hot conditions, an adult can lose around 1 to 1.5 litres of sweat within an hour:
This statement had been given by Randall Packer, a biologist at George Washington University in Washington D.C. He emphasises that if that lost water is not regained, the person’s entire volume of body fluid could rapidly drop, as well as the more severe risk of the blood volume dropping which in turn results in the decreasing of the blood pressure. This could potentially result in two life-threatening concerns: the person stops sweating which results in escalating his body temperature to much greater levels. Reference link: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-can-the-average/#
35. Water is sticky:
Water molecules love to stick to each other – these forces between them are known as “cohesive forces”. The cohesive forces between the water molecules create a surface tension. Surface tension is an outcome of the cohesive forces between liquid molecules which allows the molecules to resist external forces, like being pulled or broken away. As a result of this, water is able to pull blood up the narrow vessels in the human body. Furthermore, the surface tension also often allows water to pull blood up against the force of gravity. Therefore, this effect helps in keeping us alive. Reference link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_tension
36. Water expands when it freezes:
Upon cooling at a fixed pressure, most liquids have a similar behaviour – they shrink. This contraction takes place as a result of the molecules moving slower since they have a lower ability to get rid of the attractive intermolecular forces that bring them closer to each other. However, water behaves in a completely different way in this case than most liquids. When liquid water is cooled and it reaches its freezing point, it expands by approximately 9%. It is a fact that frozen water, i.e. ice, is lighter than liquid water – which is why ice can be seen floating in water. The effect of water expanding when freezing has been particularly necessary to life. Even when the Earth had faced consecutive ice ages, and when the lakes and rivers freeze from the top down, liquid water has always been found in order to allow lives to continue evolving. Reference link: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/questions/why-does-water-expand-when-it-freezes
37. Hot water freezes quicker than cold water does:
The rare occurrence of hot water freezing quicker than cold water is known as the “Mpemba effect”. According to Erasto Batholomeo Mpemba’s observations, the Mpemba effect takes place as a result of – a) The rate of evaporation is faster in hot water – this decreases the volume left to freeze.
b) Formation of a frost layer on cold water – this causes to insulate the water
c) When the water is heated, different concentrations of solutes for instance carbon dioxide, is driven off
38. Wherever liquid water can be found on Earth, there is life:
You would be surprised to know that throughout the past few decades, it has been found that essentially, wherever on Earth liquid water can be found, life can be found as well. It does not matter what the physical condition of the water, or a certain location is – be it skin-burningly acidic water, or nearly boiling water. Reference link: https://www.nature.com/articles/35059215
39. Water has an important role in the formation of stars and planets:
In the formation of stars and planets, water acts as an oxygen reservoir and it is needed to cool the circumstellar gas cloud. According to an astronomical research paper, during the birth of a star, the regional energy release by radiation frees the ices in its neighbouring areas, as well as gives power to the energetic discharges that turn out to be water factories. Therefore, in these regions, water plays a significant role in the gas physics. Reference link: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1968/2778#abstract-1
40. Ice had been found in the poles of the moon, Mars as well as Mercury:
On 5th March 1998, Lunar Prospector spacecraft had announced that water ice might have been existent at both the north and the south lunar poles. Later on, they mentioned that there was a possible availability of near-pure ice deposits underneath approximately 18 inches of dry surface rocks. Reference link: https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/ice/ice_moon.html Mars had been found to have regions of glaciers at its central latitudes in both of its southern and northern hemispheres. According to the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen, the glaciers composed of frozen water, are covered by a thick layer of dust. Reference link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408102701.htm NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft had taken the first-ever images of water ice near Mercury’s North Pole. They announced that near Mercury’s North Pole, ice had been found in permanently shadowed craters. Reference link: https://www.space.com/27450-messenger-mercury-water-ice-photos.html
41. The most massive cloud of water ever seen by mankind was discovered around a black hole:
Approximately seven hundred and fifty light years away from the Earth, a young star, similar to our sun, had been spotted blasting huge amounts of water into the interstellar space. The star had been shooting out droplets of water that moved faster than a speeding bullet! This finding further proposes that the protostars might be seeding the universe with water. According to Lars Kristensen, a postdoctoral astronomer at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the amount of water that the jet is shooting out equals to a hundred million times the water flowing through the Amazon River every second. Reference link: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110613-space-science-star-water-bullets-kristensen/
43. All of the water on Earth arrived in comets and asteroids:
The study of the origin of water on Earth takes us back to about 4.6 Billion years ago. During this time, all the worlds of the inner solar system were still being formed. The period when the Earth’s water had been originated is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment – it was a period of severe comet and asteroid bombardment. Scientists believe that during this bombardment, the Earth gained its water through the collisions with wet comets and asteroids. Reference link: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141030-starstruck-earth-water-origin-vesta-science/
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44. Drinking too much water at once can result in water intoxication:
Water intoxication is also known as water poisoning or hyper hydration. Water intoxication results in diluting the sodium levels in the bloodstream. One of sodium’s role is to balance the fluids in and out of our cells. Therefore, drinking too much water results in an imbalance since the liquid from our blood travels inside the cells and cause them to swell. This could result in a dangerous swelling inside the brain that would immediate medical treatment. Some of the concerning symptoms of water intoxication include – heatstroke, exhaustion, feeling hot, having a headache, etc. Water intoxication is most likely to occur during periods of strenuous physical activities, like intense athletic performance. Reference link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication
45. Drinking adequate water could help in treating constipation:
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of dehydration. When the body does not have enough water, the large intestine tends to take in take in water from the food waste. Therefore, in order to avoid the dehydration of the colon, you need to drink plenty of water. When your body will be properly hydrated, the colon would not have to withdraw much water from the food waste. Thus, your stool will be much softer and easier to pass. Reference link: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/water-a-fluid-way-to-manage-constipation
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46. The weight that a person loses directly after intense physical activity is weight from water, not fat:
A diet that has a notably low carbohydrate intake is an example of a diet that leads to water weight loss. In accordance with the University of California, when very few amounts of carbohydrates are consumed, the body’s glycogen stores are used up. This results in water loss and, hence, the person loses several pounds within a short period of time. Therefore, usually when a person loses more than 2 pounds each week, he is losing water or lean muscle mass rather than losing excess fat. Reference link: https://www.livestrong.com/article/407328-losing-water-weight-vs-fat/
47. Lack of water in the body can cause depression:
Since 73% of the human brain tissue is made up of water, numerous studies have linked dehydration to depression. This is because dehydration reduces the energy generation in the brain. Dehydration can also promote stress in the body. M.J. Pangman, in his book Hexagonal Water: The Ultimate Solution, cited “Dehydration is the number one cause of stress in the human body.” Dehydration can lead to stress, just like stress can lead to dehydration. When stressed, the adrenal glands pump out a lot of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. The adrenal glands also make the hormone aldosterone, which aids in the regulation of the body’s fluid and its electrolyte levels. Hence, when adrenal fatigue kicks in, aldosterone level drops leading to dehydration, as well as low electrolytes. Reference link: https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-dehydration-contributes-to-depression/
48. There is a billboard in Peru that makes drinkable water out of thin air:
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru and their ad agency Mayo DraftFCB created the first billboard ever to make drinking water out of thin air. In Lima, Peru – there is a lack of running water. They have an awfully dry climate with a precipitation of less than 1 inch annually. As a result of this, majority of the people collect water from wells that are sometimes contaminated. On the contrary, the atmospheric humidity in Lima is approximately 98%. Therefore, making use of these circumstances to serve their people, the two teams united their creativity to create this amazing billboard. Through a reverse osmosis system, the billboard captures the air humidity, condenses and purifies the water, and fills it up in 20 lt. tanks. Reference link: https://www.designboom.com/technology/a-billboard-in-peru-creates-clean-drinking-water-from-the-air/
49. Distilled water does not conduct electricity:
You probably have heard this statement a lot already, “Water is a good conductor of electricity”. Even though there is truth to this statement, there is more to it. To start off with, distilled water does conduct some electricity, but it is very little compared to piped, well or salt water. This is because, a liquid conducts electricity by their positively or negatively charged ions that move from one electrode to the other, carrying charge i.e. electricity with them. Since salt water has salt (NaCl) in it, it easily separates to ions of Na+ and Cl- that can flow through the water conducting electricity. However, distilled water is just pure H2O. Water can separate to ions of H+ and OH- like salt does, but it separates to a much lesser degree and is very resistant to conducting electricity. Reference link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Why-doesnt-distilled-water-conduct-electricity/articleshow/4504333.cms
50. Water is the second most abundant molecule in the whole universe:
Life, as we know today, would not be possible without this miraculous molecule – water. Covering 71% of the Earth’s surface and 65% of our own bodies, water is one of those substances that connect every living being on the Earth together.