Water You Thinking About on Thanksgiving?

I’m thinking about how thankful I am for water!

If I’ve learned anything during this internship, it’s how valuable water really is to us, to our city, to Earth.  As my time in the Water Conservation Office draws to a close, it’s really had me thinking about how much water, two hydrogens and an oxygen, really means to my life.

The staff here at the Office and those that work around the clock at our treatment and reclamation facilities…Athens wouldn’t run without them.  In fact, we couldn’t have Thanksgiving dinner without those that give up their holidays to keep our water clean and running.

Even beyond Athens, water is essential.

Our bodies are about 60% water, our  brains are 70% water, and our lungs are nearly 90% water.  Without water…we’ll die.  It helps keep our body temperature normal, it keeps our joints cushioned and functioning properly.  It protects our spinal cord, lungs, and other sensitive tissues.  It gets rid of wastes we create through other essential bodily processes (like digestion, breathing, growing, etc).  It helps keep us cool in the heat (perspiration).

The list goes on…our bodies can’t function without it.

The importance of water is even bigger than our bodies.

The Earth needs it.  “The Blue Planet,” is called that for a reason: it’s 70% water.  However, 97% of that water is saltwater, which, unless it’s desalinized, is useless to us.  The remaining 3% is freshwater (useable), but 2% is frozen in our ice caps and glaciers.

We have 1% of all the water on Earth to use.

All of that water, salt and fresh, fill the oceans, rivers, lakes, and underground reservoirs that support animals, plants, and human existence.  And, by the way, most of Earth’s species live solely in water.

There are an estimated 7million species (excluding bacteria and viruses) living on Earth.  40,000 of those are fish.   200,000 are molluscs, 150,000 are crustaceans, 14,000 are echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, etc), and several thousand sponges and jellyfishes.

That’s over 404,000 species living in the water…not to mention the insects that lay their eggs in the water…and the plankton.

AND all terrestrial species (that includes us) share water with them.

Isn’t the Earth cool?  I know I just threw a lot of numbers at you, but it just goes to show how many living things besides us rely on having clean water.  Makes me even more thankful that some humans (like those that are on our water team in Athens) dedicate their lives to keeping it clean.

Annaliese Ashley-Intern

Originally posted on waterconservationstation.blogspot.com, 11/13/12

 

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