© WWF / Michel GUNTHER

Water as a natural resource

Coursing over a distance of 6,380 kilometers, the mighty Yangtze is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world after the Amazon in South America and the Nile in Africa.
The blue planet
There are more than 326 million trillion gallons of water on Earth. Less than 3 % of all this water is fresh water and of that amount, more than two-thirds is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. With so much water around it seems like there is enough to see us through for millions of years. But did you know that even water, which seems to be in abundance, might one day become scarce?

How much water there is on earth?
Let's start by getting the background information on water first. How much water is there on Earth? For a brief overview, go to this website.

Getting energy from water
The most significant use of water is to produce hydropower by harnessing its energy. Compared to other resources that are used to produce energy and power, water is considered renewable as well as having the least solid waste during energy production. To know more about the different uses and benefits of harnessing water as an energy resource, go to this website.

For a picture of how much water a country like the USA uses for energy, visit this page. Another website gives you a similar picture.

Conserving water
It is impossible to imagine doing our daily chores like washing dishes or clothes or even using the toilet without water. For a brief look at how much water an average household consumes, and ways in which we can save and conserve water, go to this website. A more authoritative site, the EPA site gives you more suggestions on what you can do to conserve water at this website.

Will we ever run out of water?
It is comforting to think of water as a renewable resource, but we must also know what limitless exploitation of a resource can lead to. According to the UNDP, "an area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1700 m³ per person.

When annual water supplies drop below 1000 m³ per person, the population faces water scarcity." Visit this page to understand the grim reality of water scarcity in Africa. It is predicted that by 2025, most countries of Africa and West Asia will face severe water scarcity due to increasing population and demands on water.

Another interesting article predicts that the earth's water is seeping at a faster rate into the earth's core and will lead to depletion in surface level water. For details visit this website.