Before knowing what are the main sources of freshwater in the world, we must first know what freshwater refers to. This mainly excludes seawater and brackish water, which is water that has more dissolved salts than freshwater, but less than seawater.
Freshwater sources include rivers, lagoons, lakes, wetlands, icebergs, glaciers, groundwater, groundwater currents, aquifers, ice caps, and ice fields. These freshwater sources are characterised by a low concentration of dissolved salts, less than 500 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved salts.
Fresh water can come from many different sources on earth. While a vast majority of earth's water comes from the oceans that cover almost 70% of the planet's surface and are too salty to drink, there are still plenty of places where fresh water occurs naturally. Let us read ahead to know more about water, uses of water in our daily life and what percentage of earth's water is freshwater.
The Four Sources of Freshwater
The main sources of water are rain, groundwater, ice, rivers, lakes, streams, and natural reservoirs. We derive water for daily use through these sources. Let us now learn about each of these sources of water in detail.
An important source of freshwater that is often overlooked is stormwater. This is the product of earth's water that has evaporated into the atmosphere and turned into rain. Making the most of an unlimited supply of freshwater that is sometimes taken for granted, rainwater harvesting is a technology that was employed by ancient civilizations and is currently commonly used in many rural places.
A Girl Enjoying the Rain
Beneath the surface of the earth lies a great source of freshwater. Groundwater is the largest source of freshwater on the planet and the second largest source of water, along with that present in the oceans. Like the salt water of the sea, most of it cannot be consumed by people or animals. However, a percentage of the groundwater is fresh and can be desalinated and refined in order to provide safe drinking water for the population.
A major topic of debate surrounding the earth's climate change issues is the melting of the polar ice caps and the shrinking of ice shelves throughout the Arctic. Along with groundwater, ice makes up the second largest source of freshwater on the planet, accounting for just under 2 percent of earth's water. Some of the freshwater preserved in ice, especially in the Antarctic ice sheets, is thousands of years old. As with groundwater and seawater, it is also difficult to use ice water as a source of drinking water, but it is possible.
Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Natural Springs
As the only natural source of freshwater on earth, rivers, lakes, streams, and natural springs are referred to as surface water sources (0.0014 per cent). Despite the fact that there are millions of freshwater lakes and many kilometres of rivers and streams on the planet, these water sources represent an almost insignificant amount of freshwater. However, they remain vitally important: A large amount of our drinking water comes from them.
You can see the main water sources images below:
Sources of Water
Main Uses of Water in Human Life
The importance of water for human beings is not only in its daily use such as washing dishes, personal hygiene, watering plants, etc. There are activities in which water plays a very important role and also becomes an economic and industrial resource. These various uses of water reflect its importance in the development and growth of the human being in all its areas. The below image shows the uses of water for kids to learn.
Uses of Water
Human consumption: Water is used for drinking, to make the different beverages that man consumes, to prepare food, and in factories where food is processed.
Personal hygiene: Personal hygiene activities are where water is most wasted: people tend to waste thousands of litres of water when bathing and brushing their teeth. Pisciculture: This is an activity that refers to the cultivation of fish, that is, their breeding and reproduction. In it are also shellfish and, in general, any aquatic animal.
Agriculture: The importance of water for this set of activities created by man is fundamental, it is where fruits, vegetables, and grains are grown for human consumption. The land is treated so that it is fertile and can provide food for people and animals.
Industry: There are different sectors in which the function of water is important. It can be from a technological point to the textile sector that is responsible for the creation of fabrics.
Although most of the earth is water (1,386 million km3 of water), only 2.5% of this water is freshwater. Of this percentage, only 0.01% is found in rivers and lakes and 0.5% in underground deposits. Of all this amount of water that the planet has, only 0.007% is drinking water and due to environmental pollution, reserves are reduced year after year. We hope you have learnt about the importance and uses of water in this article and will practise saving it rather than wasting it.