No, this article is NOT funny at all. Around the world, people are not only grappling with issues of economic globalisation but also global warming and climatic changes. We used to have people going nuts over Black Gold (oil) but now the same guys are increasingly concern about Blue Gold (potable water).
Considering that the human body can survive for days without solid food but not without water for two to three days (severe dehydration), pressing solutions are needed to sustainably produce sufficient amounts of drinkable water. Already, we are facing 1.6 million deaths every year due to thirst, something which many of us are guilty of taking for granted. Not only that, up to 1.6 billion people or one-sixth of the world’s population have no access to clean water at all. Are we living in the 21st century or what?
The main objective of this article is to highlight the problem of water shortage (as described above) and also, encourage a greater sense of appreciation of the availability of fresh water among readers. And to do that, I would like to present the following 20 interesting facts on water. I am sure you can find more but do go through them and take it as a mini-test of your knowledge.
1) H2O is the chemical symbol for water. Each molecule of water contains two atoms of hydrogen (H) joined to a single atom of oxygen (O).
2) As a resource, water is renewable and made available at all times through solar energy, enabling it to evaporate from oceans and land, before redistributing it around the world.
3) Water is the ONLY substance found naturally on Earth in three forms: liquid, gas and solid. Frozen water is 9% lighter than its liquid form and hence, ice floats on water.
4) Morethan 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Of this water, 97% is in oceans, which makes it salty and undrinkable. The remaining 3% is freshwater. Only 0.3% is found in rivers and lakes. The rest is frozen.
5) The three largest water uses are for: agriculture (67%), industry (19%) and municipal/residential (9%).
6) Over 100 years, a water molecule would have spent some 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice, about 2 weeks in lakes and rivers, and less than a week in the atmosphere.
7) The rivers in Asia are the most polluted in the world, containing three times as many human waste bacteria than the global average, and 20 times more lead than rivers in industrialised countries.
8) Two-thirds of the human body is water. Human bones are 25% water.
9) Humans can go a month without food but will die after one week without water.
10) Water leaves the human body five minutes after consumption, when you breathe out water vapour, perspire, or go for a leak.
11) The World Health Organisation estimates that a person needs 19 litres of water to meet his daily needs including drinking, showering and cleaning.
12) Water makes up 75% of the average chicken, and 80% of an elephant.
13) On average, frontloading washing machines use 80 litres, and top loading machines use 170 litres of water per wash.
14) Washing a mug under a running tap uses about a litre of water.
15) About nine litres of water is used to flush the toilet. You will save about four litres if you use a half-flush.
16) To produce a fast-food lunch of a hamburger, french fries and a soft drink, about 6800 litres of water is needed. The water is for growing the spuds, the grain for the bun and cattle feed, as well as for producing the drink.
17) According to the UK Environment Agency, one drip per second wastes 1200 litres of water in a year. That’s around three litres per day or 90 litres if the drip breaks into a stream.
18) Water can tell you how fresh an egg is. A good egg sinks and a stale one won’t.
19) An elephant’s trunk can hold 11 litres of water.
20) A full-grown tree that is around 20m high with 600,000 leaves and a tree top diameter of 12 m will produce about 400 litres of water in evaporation a day.
So, if you are one of those lucky ones to have clean water access, do spare a moment to think about how precious this resource is and how fortunate you are to have perfectly potable water readily available for consumption.