Unlike coal or gas, water is a renewable resource; it goes through a cycle of evaporation and condensation so that it is constantly available. For this reason, some people think it is unimportant to conserve water. However, people who do not conserve this resource use it up faster than it can be replenished, leading to a shortage of fresh water throughout the Earth.
Uses for Water
Water is one of the most vital substances on Earth. The human body requires water in order to function; without it, cells become dehydrated, shrivel, and die.
Plants and animals need water for the same reason we do; without water, farmers could not grow crops or raise livestock. We would therefore starve without water.
Finally, water helps us clean ourselves and our possessions, as well as putting out fires. Water is also an excellent conductor of electricity.
Is Water Renewable?
Like other natural resources, water is sometimes in short supply. Environmentalists talk about the need to conserve water in order to control shortages.
Many natural resources are non-renewable; once they are depleted, there is no way to recreate them. Water, however, is constantly being created on the Earth via a natural cycle in which water is converted to gas and gas is converted back to water.
The Water Cycle
Water is replenished on the Earth through a cycle known as the water cycle. First, sunlight heats water in ponds, lakes and so forth. Due to the heat, some of this water is converted to a gas called water vapor. This process is known as evaporation.
Next, in the air, water vapor begins to cool. The cooled water becomes liquid again and forms clouds.
When too much liquid is in the air, the air cannot hold it anymore. The water comes back to Earth in the form of rain. Some rain soaks into the ground, where it is stored until the sun turns it back into water vapor.
Although water naturally moves on and off the Earth via the water cycle, if people use too much water, the Earth can experience a water shortage. During a water shortage, less water is available to people than they need. An extended water shortage is called a drought; this has an adverse effect on crops, which can then turn into a food shortage.
Ways to Conserve Water
It is important to conserve water in order to prevent water shortages. The simplest way to conserve water is to turn it off when you don't need it. For example, you can fill a sink with warm water and then turn the water off while rinsing the dishes or turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
You should also recycle water as much as possible. For example, when rinsing off fruit, save the water and use it to water your plants.
Always check your water bill. If the bill is unusually high, you may have water leaks in your home. Call the water company and ask someone to come out and check for leaks.
- Photo Credit water drop and water rings image by glgec from Fotolia.com
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