SAFE WATER… SAVE LIVES
DIANA S. AGUILAR
Water (H2O) is the most precious resource and abundant compound on Earth’s surface, covering more than 70 percent of the planet. In nature, water exists in three states such as liquid, solid, and gas. It is in dynamic equilibrium between the liquid and gas states at standard temperature and pressure. At room temperature, it is a tasteless and odorless liquid, nearly colorless with a slight hint of blue. Many substances dissolve in water and it is commonly referred to as the universal solvent. Because of this, water in nature and in use is rarely pure and some of its properties may vary slightly from those of the pure substance. However, there are also many compounds that are essentially, if not completely, insoluble in water. Water is the only common substance found naturally in all three common states of matter and it is essential for all lives on Earth. Water usually makes up 55% to 78% of the human body.
Water plays many important roles in our body. It is the major part of most of the body?s cells (except for fat cells) and it also cushions and lubricates the brain and the joints. It transports nutrients and carries waste away from the body cells. It also helps to regulate body temperature by redistributing heat from active tissues to the skin and cooling the body through perspiration. Most of the water in the body is found within the cells of the body (about two thirds is in the intracellular space), and the rest is found in the extracellular space, which consists of the spaces between cells (the interstitial space) and the blood plasma.
Water is our most precious resource. Water is vital to all lives. Humans, plants, and animals are made up of mostly water. All living things would die if it weren’t for water. We use water for drinking, washing, cleaning, cooking, and growing our food as well as many, many other things. On the average a person needs around 150-250 gallons of water daily. Even more water is used by industries to generate electricity, manufacture things, and transport people and goods. Common household uses consume a lot of water. It takes between 30 and 40 gallons for one bath. The average toilet uses about 5 gallons of water per flush. It takes 20-40 gallons of water for one shower. Washing machines use an average of 25 gallons per load. The kitchen sink takes roughly 20 gallons per day for preparing food and washing dishes. The bathroom sink, used for washing hands, shaving and brushing teeth, requires about 15 gallons per day. These numbers are estimated for the average household in any civilized country of the world. Much of our fresh water is also used outdoors for watering lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens, as well as washing cars and filling swimming pools. We must be careful not to pollute the water that we use outside. Many people use chemicals on their lawns and gardens and then water them with pure water.
The water will wash the chemicals off of our plants and then run down a storm drain and go straight to the rivers and streams where fish make their homes. This kind of polluted water can kill fish and wildlife. We should always be mindful of whether or not we are polluting the water around us. We need to take care of our water, not abuse it. Every town and city, whether small or big, uses water. Cities use water for fire-fighting, street cleaning, and watering public areas such as parks, grass, trees, shrubs, and flowers. Water is also used to fill public drinking fountains, including those at schools and libraries. All of the different businesses in our community also use water. Water is hugely used by restaurants, hospitals, laundries, dry cleaners, golf courses, hotels, car washes, beauty shops, barber shops, gas stations, and health clubs as well as all of the other businesses in town. These all add up to quite a big demand on water supply. We need to try to think about how many people need to use water and conserve our water so that there is enough to go around. The amount of water needed to run a farm is tremendous. When we think of water on a farm, we think of watering crops; but the amount of water needed on a dairy farm is a huge amount also. Chickens, pigs, sheep, and all the other animals in a farmyard need drinking water to stay alive. Food must be grown for them to eat, and water is also required in the cooling systems used to keep production meat fresh. Vegetable and grain crops also require water. Water is used in spreading fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, which produce a greater crop yield, but can also contaminate the water. Most of the water used on farms is used for irrigation. Studies show that by using drip irrigation, farmers can conserve up to 60% of the water that it would normally take to irrigate their crops using other systems of irrigation.
Water is essential to humans and other life forms even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Access to safe drinking water has improved over the last decades in almost every part of the world, but approximately one billion people still lack access to safe water and over 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. There is a clear correlation between access to safe water and gross domestic product per capita.
However, some observers have estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. A report, issued in November 2009, suggests that by 2030, in some developing regions of the world, water demand will exceed supply by 50%. Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70% of the fresh water used by humans goes to agriculture. Water is also essential to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions that make up our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.
The author is a Teacher II- Meycauayan National High School