So, You Think You Know Water?

by Nick Livermore

Water. You can’t live without it. You want to live near it and vacation on it. We keep hearing about how we don’t have enough of it. It’s endless! It’s also quite fascinating. We live on the blue planet. It’s really just a big spinning orb of water. While most of the talk at the moment is on the water shortage that’s bound to have consequences for years to come, let’s take a step back and marvel at the amazing substance that is water.

–        Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water

–        The same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still present today.

–        The total amount of water on the earth is about 326 million cubic miles of water.

–        The United States uses about 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day, 80 percent of which is used for irrigation and thermoelectric power.

–        Over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean, safe water.

–        Unsafe water is the biggest killer of children under five; around 90% of all diarrheal deaths are in this age group.

–        A typical individual in the United States uses 500 litres of water each day. Over 1 billion people use less than 6 litres of water per day.

–        Lack of access to clean water and sanitation has claimed more lives through disease than any war through guns.

–        It takes over 11,000 litres of water to produce a pound of coffee.

–        On average, women in Africa and Asia have to walk 3.7 miles to collect water.

–        Global sales of bottled water account for over $60-$80 billion each year.

–        A person can’t survive for more than around 3 days without water but we can survive 30 days without food.

–        Planet Earth is a terrarium. The earth will not gain or lose any water because it is recycled by nature.

–        Since 1950, water usage in the United States has risen 127 percent.

–        The Tiger Woods Golf Course in the desert of Dubai uses 4 million gallons of water every day to maintain its lush appearance.

–        Every time you throw your clothes in the washer, you use about 50 gallons of water.

As water becomes more scarce, one method of gathering water that will become more popular is desalination. This method is usually performed via reverse osmosis – whereby water is pushed at high pressure through membranes that separate impurities – the salt out of seawater. The process requires an extreme amount of energy and proves quite costly!

–        The top three desalination countries are Saudi Arabia with 17 percent of global output, United Arab Emirates with 13.4 percent, and the United States with 13 percent.

–        Most of the world’s high-capacity desalination projects are in the Middle East, where energy is cheaper and environmental regulations are more lax than in the United States.

–        The byproduct of desalination is a highly concentrated salt solution that must be processed before being put back in the ocean – another energy-intensive process!

–        Desalinating seawater at major plants nearing construction will cost between $950 to $1,100 per acre foot. It costs about $650 per acre foot for imported drinking water.


Looking for more info or want to help out? Here’s where to turn next:

–        First, get yourself a reusable water bottle

–        Get involved! We like charity: water &

–        Discover some easy ways to conserve water in your home

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