An illustration of a person using a watering can to water a plant. The middle is a drawing of a water bottle. On the right there is a person drinking water from a glass.

Two illustrations show a person drinking water from a glass and a person watering a plant with a green watering can.

Opinion

Opinion: In appreciation of water

Water is a valuable resource, essential for all life. As climate change worsens, we’ll all need to be mindful of where we’re getting our next cup of water.
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September 23, 2022
Every living thing needs water to survive. If we look at the water at the atomic level, we can see that it is made up of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. The shape, charge, and bonding of water molecules give it unique life-sustaining properties.

As explained by LibreTexts, water is a polar molecule, meaning that there are negative and positive ends. The oppositely charged ends allow water to dissolve most substances because the water molecule’s positive and negative ends attach to the solute’s positive and negative ends and pull apart the structure.

Water’s molecular structure allows it to form hydrogen bonds. These bonds allow water to have denser liquid form than solid state because of the structure they form.

These properties of water support life as we know it. According to Harvard University, 60-75% of our body weight can be attributed to water. Losing just 15% of that water can cause death. Water is essential to our bodily functions.

The ability of water to dissolve other molecules within it allows us to transport molecules such as oxygen and nutrients. Mayo Clinic reports that someone who is dehydrated, which can be as little as a 4% loss of total body water, can experience problems such as fatigue, strokes, and low blood pressure.

In addition to directly keeping us alive, water is also required for the production of our food. Photosynthesis, which is the production of food in plants, needs water to occur.

After learning about the importance of water, a common concern would be to know how much water to drink in a day. We have all likely heard about the general rules such as drinking 8 cups of water per day. However, each person will require different amounts of water. Factors such as size, lifestyle, location, and genetics will all impact the amount of water someone needs.

As reported on The University of Missouri, a more personalized approach would be to drink half an ounce of water for each pound of body weight and then add 12 ounces for each half-hour of exercise.

For example, if you weigh 130 pounds and exercise for 1 hour, then you should drink 89 ounces of water. This ends up being just above 11 cups. This water is in addition to the amount you get from food.

As water is an essential resource for all life, a drought will undoubtedly cause major problems in health and food needs. An obvious problem is that there will be less water available. However, this can  lead to many other problems.

According to the CDC, a drought will worsen the air quality. The lack of water will lead to drier ground, which will release more particles into the air. These particles can negatively impact the lungs, which can lead to other health problems. A drought can also lead to more diseases. Attempts to conserve water can lead to worse sanitation as many forms of cleaning require water, and recycled water can contain pathogens if not treated correctly.

Water is an irreplaceable resource that is crucial to all life. If droughts around the world continue getting worse, then there will not only be detrimental effects but catastrophes on a global scale. ThNational Integrated Drought Information System shows that 97.5% of California is classified as being in a severe drought. Severe droughts are a direct cause of an increase of fires, wildlife diseases, and damaged crops.

Some ways of saving water recommended by American Rivers are to water plants using collected rainwater, fix leaks, and monitoring your water use by checking your water bill or asking your local government about a home water audit. Saving this valuable resource is essential for life to continue, and as climate change worsens, we’ll all need to be mindful of where we’re getting our next cup of water.