Ten Facts About Water: Blog Action Day 2010

BAD2010-Water1 This is not a competition, it's a call to action. I've been participating to Blog Action Day evey year since its inception. We've tackled some pretty large issues so far.

My own personal cause is literacy, and specifically helping parents teach their children how to read.

As I write from the dry desert of Las Vegas, I am reminded of the importance of water in our lives.

(1.) Water is the currency of our bodies. In case you didn't know, it makes up 70% of the shape we call "me". At birth we're about 80% water, which accounts for all those diaper changes, I guess. The lucky ones among us get to drink 6-8 cups of clean water a day to stay hydrated.

(2.) The UN recently declared water to be a human right, but millions around the world still lack even the most basic access, causing widespread disease and the possibility of military conflict over access to clean water [Source: BAD blog].

(3.) When I worked with scientists, Iearned that pure water (composed only of hydrogen and oxygen atoms) has a neutral pH of 7, which is neither acidic nor basic. You need to know that when you mix chemical compounds, for example. And you know that because of its highly soluble properties, it carries the minerals it traverses with it.

(4.) We can use only about three tenths of a percent of all the water on the planet. This is found in groundwater aquifers, rivers, and freshwater lakes. The ancient Romans build acqueducts as they moved camps during their campaigns — and we're not talking about marketing here. Which is why many cities in Italy developed from what were essentially Roman camps. Mutina, Bononia, and so on.

(5.) Water exists also in plants and animal foods, of course. Which is how we add on the daily intake. Your plants will let you know when you've been forgetting to water them, and so will your dog let you know when he wants more.

(6.) If you're a woman, you know that the water contained in beauty products contributes to making your skin more elastic.

(7.) The total amount of water on the earth is about 326 million cubic miles, of which about 346,000 million gallons are used in the U.S. as fresh water every day. 

(8.) By far the highest use of water happens through flushing the toilet. Which is one of the reasons why in Europe we flush in the morning, depending on the use, of course. The other reason is that apartment buildings tend to carry sound and we try be good neighbors.

(9.) I know you'd like to lose fat when exercising. I do, too. However, the weight we lose right after a good run is usually water.

(10.) Frozen water is 9% lighter than water, which is why ice floats on water. Over 90% of the world's supply of fresh water is located in Antarctica. [Source: more factoids here]

Water gives us life, and sustains it. It's a raw material and a force of nature. It purifies and restores.

Which is why it is so shocking and terrible that 1.5 billion people still have no access to clean water, almost 4 million people die each year from water-related disease, and a child dies of water born diseases about every 15 seconds. [Source: more shocking facts here]

How much do you use? Calculate your water footprint here.

Will you help someone in need?

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