All the Ways We Need Water—And Why We Shouldn’t Take it for Granted

Water is life, and necessary to sustain life, but we take it for granted in today’s world. From making up a major portion of our bodies to keeping us clean, here are all the ways we use water and why it’s so important to defend this resource.

  • Humans and animals need to drink it to stay alive. The human body is made up of 55-60% water. Water helps transport vitamins and minerals to the rest of our body and assists in various processes by dissolving these nutrients. Water helps humans and animals get unused nutrients and toxins out of the body as well. It has a role in maintaining our body’s temperature and is a main component of sweat, helps us form saliva, and keeps our joints properly lubricated.
  • Without rain, irrigation, and other technological tools used in our agricultural practice, we would have no food supply. There are many ways human activity is decreasing the efficiency of water in these processes. Climate change has caused the natural flow of water to change, with some places experiencing drought or excess floods. Drought is a major reason why many parts of the world don’t have enough food. The lack of water as a resource is even linked to wars, such as the conflict currently occurring in Syria where farmers who lost their jobs due to drought had to move to larger cities to look for work.
  • We use water for daily tasks such as cooking, showering, brushing our teeth, washing our clothes, and for our sewage systems. Think of the last soup you made at home (ramen counts!), the last time you took a shower, washed your hands, or used the toilet. When water is too polluted to use, our lives and the lives of those who depend on polluted water supplies is inconvenienced and even put at risk.
  • Water is important to many industries: electricity, manufacturing, cooling and transporting products. In the energy industry, water is used for hydroelectric dams and even fracking (hydraulic fracturing of land to get gas out). The use of water for industrial purposes is one of the most hotly debated issues today. Water used for fracking must be taken to places that contain natural gas so that it can be retrieved. There are concerns that this water can contaminate local sources of water and release chemicals that should not be ingested.

Most of us are lucky to live in places where water is available and for our daily use, but other people don’t realize just how important water is until it is unfit for consumption. Even industrial projects that are conducted near water sources can be controversial because of the risk that something could go wrong. In 2010, the Gulf Coast dealt with the repercussions of the Deepwater Horizon incident, causing oil to be spilled onto the beach and endangering wildlife. Pipeline projects such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline have been stalled due to the environmental risks they could cause to locals who fear contaminants could be released into their water supply. Keeping all of these uses of water in mind, let’s be mindful about how we use this precious resource and take care of the systems we depend on to keep our water flowing. 

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