It’s no secret that the Blue Planet has a lot of water. Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, amounting to about 1,386,000,000,000,000,000,000 L. This amount is so large, it’s hard to even imagine. The amount of water on Earth is equal to 554 trillion Olympic-sized swimming pools and could cover the surface of the moon 9 times.
Now that’s a lot of space for breaststroke!
Despite this astronomical quantity of water, only a tiny proportion of that water isn’t salty. An estimated 3.5% of all water on our beautiful blue planet is freshwater. This water can be found in lakes, rivers, water vapour, ice, glaciers, and groundwater. However, less than 1% of Earth’s water is considered accessible freshwater, since water locked away in icebergs and glaciers is not easy to get to.
Human bodies are 50-65% water and rely on it to survive and thrive. Water is a vital resource to all forms of life. Without freshwater, we (along with countless plants and animals) would cease to exist.
Water is life.
20% of the Earth’s freshwater is located in Canada. However, when considering renewable water in Canada, that piece of the freshwater pie shrinks dramatically. Canada houses about 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater. Water can be renewable or nonrenewable since water is replenished at different rates. Waters from rivers and some sources of groundwater are barely depleted, as they are rapidly regenerated by the water cycle (flashback to elementary school science class). But Canada is also home to deep underground aquifers, glaciers, and lakes that take a long time to replenish through the water cycle, specifically longer than a year. These types of water are not always where we want them when we want them, and are therefore considered nonrenewable.
Where is Canada’s water? While 85% of the population lives in the South, over half of Canada’s water flows North towards the Hudson Bay and Arctic Ocean. Suddenly this seemingly endless supply of water starts to appear more and more scarce to those who need it. It may be easy to take water for granted as it flows continuously from our taps. But water is precious, and is extremely important to protect.