January 14, 2010

Liquid Of Life.

Water. The single element vital in maintaining life. Even in space exploration, presence of water suggest presence of life.

Water is composed of three atoms; two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom, that are bound together by electrical charges (H2O). It can exist in three states; as gas, as a liquid and as a solid state, or ice.

This past Sunday, lot of our snow disappeared, even though the air was dry and the temperatures way below freezing. Intriguingly, a somewhat unusual process took place, called sublimation. This is a chemical process, that means a direct transformation of an element from solid to gas stage, without the liquid phase. Thus our ice (or snow) did not melt and did not enter the liquid phase. Instead it evaporated, turning into clouds or vapor, due to rare weather conditions, such as high, stormy winds and very dry air, plus very low temperatures.

As for snow or ice and its corresponding liquid state, the vital water, most of us living in the western world do not even think twice about the luxury of it being dispensed from a tap in our homes. Running clean water is a rarity in a large part of the world. Living in Scandinavia, additionally, the water pouring out of my tap is not just clean and fresh, but also perfectly safe for drinking.

Here are some interesting facts about this vital liquid of life:

• Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface.

• Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water.

• The overall amount of water on our planet has remained the same for two billion years.

• Oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%.

• Water regulates the earth's temperature.

• Each day the sun evaporates a trillion tons of water.

• A person can live about a month without food, but only about a week without water.

• Your drinking water may be fluoridated to help prevent dental cavities.

• Much more fresh water is stored under the ground in aquifers than on the earth’s surface.

• Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.

• Bottled water can be up to 1000 times more expensive than tap water and it may not be as safe.

• Today, at least 400 million people live in regions with severe water shortages.


Elizabeth said...

Thanks for explaining sublimation. Never really thought about this before although I did see it happen last sunday.

Lisa said...

This is a delightful surprise as I'm getting familiar with your blog. Thank you for such an interesting post. Yes, water is life.

Brian Miller said...

it is a travesty that for as much water as there is there are so many that do without...

Mahmud Yussop said...

Coincidentally I've done a post about too much water today:). The fact about bottled water is 1000 more expensive and yet not as safe as tap water is disturbing.Bintulu's tap water has been tested a few years ago and found to be of the best quality and most safe water in Malaysia.That's something I always miss about Bintulu.

Unknown said...

gosh, my husband scolds me everyday to drink more water. I can only drink like 4 to 5 glasses of water. And am ashamed to admit that water isn't much of my favorite. But i love fruit juices. I just made one now. watermelon shake.

thanks for these great information. You are like my on line school.

I am Denise Katipunera

Julie Hibbard said...

How can so much evaporate each day and yet the overall amount remain the same?
I will be looking that up this morning, professor! :)
Thanks for the early morning jump start to the brain!

Betsy Brock said...

This was great...I've never heard of sublimation! So interesting! I think I'll drink more water today! :) Your picture would be a good one for the 'surface' theme! :)

Claus said...

Water in indeed a luxury. I have always said that I prefer having water to electricity. We are one of those countries with shortages of water and electricity, and what we get from the tap is not ready to drink directly. But we have the liquid!, on a regular basis, and it is precious!
Interesting how some things are taken for granted in some countries. Interesting topic Zuzana!

Shelly's Style Shop said...

Great post! I love water. I always tell anyone that I am helping get in shape to drink lots of water. I always tell them fact #3 that you posted. Thanks for sharing all this great info. =)

Thanks so much always for your kind words at my blog. I hope you have wonderful day!

xoxo, Shelly

Blogaire said...

There is a saying "you learn something new every day" - well we do from you anyway Zuzana!
I was amazed at how expensive bottled water was. I never buy water, but then again I am lucky enough to live where it it is plentiful and free. And I always think about the well known bottled water company whose expensive product was found to be not what it claimed on the label.
Incidentally, in Irish, whiskey is know as "uisce beatha" - or the water/liquid of life.

Anonymous said...

We could not afford to put in a well here, so we have our water trucked-in and stored in a cistern. I've never been more careful with or grateful for water than I am now!

Have a beautiful day, Zuzana!

Sumandebray said...

Yes, we who have water flowing from the tap continuously do not realize the true value. We need to preserve water for our future generation.
As a kid I used to think why can't we break the water into oxygen and hydrogen atoms to save people from flood and devastation. But it was much later that I realized that it is only a reversible reaction.
By the way the scientists have discovered water in mars... We just to reach there with our whishky and start partying! :)

Sumandebray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon Lovejoy said...

This is a great and timely post.

Since I live in California I ALWAYS think about saving and storing water. We reuse all cooking water (unsalted, of course), we capture rainwater, plant drought tolerant landscapes, keep a bucket in our shower for the first chilly gallons, pour our leftover tea on acid loving citrus, or mix it with our worm bucket compost. But no matter what we do, our neighbors waste. Water runs down the gutters and I want to yell, "Don't you know this is more precious than gold???"

Keep on writing!

Sharon Lovejoy Writes From Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I learned about sublimation today! Very cool.

I have to go...SUDDENLY...I am very thirsty!! ;)

sprinkles said...

You know, I never realized how much I appreciated water until I didn't have it!

Many, many years ago when I still lived with my parents, the power went out across the state for 5 or so hours. My parents water source is a well which runs on electricity. Of course this was in the middle of a sweltering summer with record high temps.

Thanks for explaining sublimation. I'd heard of it but wasn't really sure how it worked before.

Donna said...

I remember some of this from science class.

I love water and drink it all day long. We take a lot for granted.



great timely post! and really really interesting - i've always been so fascinated with water and our physical selves! neat post!

Diane said...

Wanna know something funny? While I was reading this, I had a sudden and overwhelming urge to pee! I'm sure it was coincidence (and related to the 2 Diet Pepsis I had at lunch) but it made me laugh just the same ;)

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

In light of the tragedy in Haiti..we take water for granted...

this makes you stop and think....


Anonymous said...

Some really interesting facts here. Thanks for sharing... I don't think I drink enough water. I should be drinking more of it than I do. I think I water my plants more than I do myself. :)
The Bach

Hilary said...

I had the same thought that Brian expressed. That, and is there nothing about which you can not write? I think not. :)

Rebecca said...

Zuzana, thank you for sharing these facts. This was fascinating, and like Brian commented on, I can't wrap my mind around the fact that so many do without this life source...Tragic indeed...I drink lots of water, in tea that is:).....

Vagabonde said...

That is a very instructive post. Water is so important – As for me I cannot drink the ice water they serve in the USA, I can only drink a few sips of it when it is so cold, but I can drink tap water. I really enjoy your posts.

S. Susan Deborah said...


Your post reminds of my science classes. Glad that you post some of the things that we need to know. They are simple aspects of the things we use almost every day but still one does not pay much attention.

You take good care and have a fantabulous weekend.


Phivos Nicolaides said...

Yes, water is life! So valuable!

Margie said...

Wonderful post on water!
Thank you for sharing, Zuzana.


sallymandy said...

Another interesting and fun to ready post by you, the amazing Z. I had only heard of sublimation when I lived in Alaska and you could throw your coffee into the air and it would be gone before it hit the ground...or something like that. Maybe that was sublimation? In any case, what a fascinating occurrence that's happened with the snow where you live.

It's sobering to consider how many people live without clean water. Sad, thank you for the reminder to appreciate what we have.

Rajesh said...

Very interesting & educative.

Roger Gauthier said...

Hello Zuzana,

As a chemist, I could perhaps dispute some of the statements but it would be pointless as most of it is true which is the important point I think.

Now, what is "safe to drink" water? The fact is, almost no water is safe for drinking if it comes from a lake, a river for example. It must be treated. It must be treated to stay safe in the pipes and not become stale or worse.

Even here in Québec, with the best water in the world because of its myriads of lakes, rivers and huge rivers, it must be treated because of airborne pollution coming from the midwest and southern midwest. Struggling with acid water all over the world! Here, the earth is mostly basic because of the presence of huge quantities of calcium carbonate among other things, the ecosystem can cope with water acidity. Sheer luck...

But the best of all is total independence like me. I do not rely on any city, I have my own artesian well more than 200 feet in the ground, right into a huge perfectly pure aquifer. Living in the middle of nowhere, with so much ground to filter the water, nothing but nothing can beat this. He he he... once again, I call this the sheer luck of living in Sainte-Sophie, Québec, surrounded by trees, rivers and lakes instead of houses.

At the same time, I can use as much water as I want. I know that it may seem horrendous, but why in the world should I "save water"? I pump it out of the ground, use it, purify it and return it to the ground where it is filtered down over a long period of time right back into the aquifer. No undue pressure on the ecosystem, it can last forever.

As I test the water chemically two times a year, I can tell you: nothing beats it... How could it be possible to do the same in a city?

The sheer luck of living in a sparsely populated country I would say, nothing else.

But I am ranting, dear Zuzana!

Roger G. :-)))

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Ocean Girl, Brian, Mahmud, Denise, Julie, Betsy, Claudia, Shelly, Blogaire, Zuzu, Sumandebray, Sharon, Jill, sprinkles, Donna, GYPSYWOMAN, Diane, Kary, The Bach, Hilary, Rebecca, Vagabonde, Susan, Phillip, Margie, sallymandy, Rajesh and Roger (wow, very informative and great comment!), thank you all for your contemplative, wise and kind words.

I grew up in the communism regime, where drinking water was at times not available. Not from the tap and at times not bottled either. My father would walk up to 20km with a 20L container to a well in the woods to get fresh drinking water.
To me running clean water will forever remain a luxury and a great privilege.

Thank you all for always finding the time to stop by and have something significant to say.