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  • At birth, our bodies are roughly 75% water.

  • We remain mostly water for the rest of our lives.

  • We cannot survive even a week without fresh water.

  • There's no life without it

  • for ecosystems,

  • societies,

  • and individuals.

  • So, how much usable water is there on Earth?

  • Most of the water on Earth is ocean,

  • a salty 97.5%, to be precise,

  • and the remaining 2.5% is fresh water.

  • That little sliver of liquid sustains human life on Earth,

  • it literally holds up civilizations.

  • 2.5% is a small proportion to be sure,

  • and even that is broken down into smaller parts:

  • surface water,

  • water in ice caps and polar regions,

  • and ground water.

  • First, surface water.

  • All the liquid water above ground is surface water

  • and it is a tiny blip of an amount.

  • 0.3% of all fresh water is surface water.

  • It may seem counterintuitive,

  • but it accounts for little streams all over the planet.

  • All rivers, including the Nile, the Jordan, and the Mississippi,

  • and lakes, large to small,

  • like Victoria, the Great Lakes, and Baikal.

  • Second, ice caps and polar regions

  • freeze up to 70% of the planet's fresh water.

  • This water is significant,

  • but it isn't available for human use in a regular way.

  • Finally, nearly 30% of all water on Earth is ground water.

  • As the name suggests, that's water in the ground.

  • It can rest still and deep in huge caverns,

  • or it can snuggle in the little crevices of rock and pebble.

  • The upshot - thank goodness for ground water!

  • It's invisible to us,

  • but it is much more plentiful than surface water.

  • It is much more reliable

  • and easier to obtain than frozen water.

  • Without ground water, our societies would be parched.

  • So, how are we using that water?

  • As a result of industrialization and population growth,

  • demand for fresh water skyrocketed in the last century.

  • Where is all that water going?

  • First, we have to remember

  • that fresh water is a global concern,

  • but it is always local.

  • Context matters.

  • The Sahara is not Seattle.

  • Still, some general information can help us

  • get a handle on major trends.

  • Who consumes the most fresh water?

  • And, what sectors consume the most fresh water?

  • First, who.

  • Well, the United States consumes the most water

  • per capita of any country in the entire world,

  • followed by parts of Europe

  • and large industrializing nations like China.

  • But, this doesn't tell us what water is being used for.

  • So let's look at it another way.

  • If we ask what kinds of uses water is going towards,

  • we see a different picture.

  • Agriculture accounts for roughly 70% of global fresh water consumption.

  • Again, remember the numbers vary by region,

  • but still, it's a staggering amount.

  • And, this makes a certain kind of sense:

  • we need to eat,

  • we need water to grow food;

  • the bigger the population,

  • the more food we need;

  • and, the wealthier we get,

  • the more meat we eat,

  • and the more water is required to produce our food.

  • Furthermore, 22% of all fresh water worldwide

  • goes to industrial uses.

  • This includes the production of electricity,

  • the extraction of fossil fuels,

  • and the manufacturing of all manner of goods,

  • from microchips,

  • to paper,

  • to blimps.

  • 70% to agriculture,

  • 22% to industrial uses,

  • what's left?

  • 8%

  • All those domestic uses -

  • cooking,

  • cleaning,

  • bathing,

  • drinking

  • - it's a drop in the bucket of overall water use.

At birth, our bodies are roughly 75% water.

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B1 TED-Ed water fresh water fresh ground surface

【TED-Ed】Where we get our fresh water - Christiana Z. Peppard

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    Zenn posted on 2013/05/27
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