6 Little Known Facts About Water
Fact #1 ~ Drinking Water is Elusive
The catch is that it’s mostly seawater.
Only 3% of the Earth’s water is suitable as drinking water. Most of that, however, is practically inaccessible; it’s frozen in the polar ice caps.
What’s left is rivers, streams, water wells, glaciers, lakes and rain water, for the most part. Many of these now polluted and face sustainability issues.
Drinking water is precious. Good thing it’s #1 on the disaster preparedness checklist.
Fact #2 ~ Seawater is NOT Nice
Seawater does nasty things to our body.
It is chock full of salt.
Our body requires not just water but salt too. Problem is, that salt concentration in sea water is typically 2-3 times higher than in our blood.
This means our body would have to filter out the excess salt to make use of sea water.
Unfortunately it is not equipped to do so.
The body goes haywire when dealing with salt water.
These are just some of the thing that happen, depending on the amount.
- - high blood pressure – this is an instant effect
- - kidney failure – that’s the filter you’re overloading
- - dehydration!
- - increased thirst!
- - impaired judgement!
- - death, sooner than from dehydration alone!!
In short, salt water is completely unsuitable for human consumption. My zoologist friend says most marine mammals don’t drink it either.
Seafarers are warned not to drink salt water under any circumstances. In case of an emergency, it’s better to wait for help than to drink seawater. There’s more time, and a higher chance of survival that way.
Fact #3 ~ We Are Water!
It’s common knowledge that 60% of our body is water.
That’s just an average, though. Some parts of our body contain even more water – the brain 75%, blood 83% and the lungs 90%!
On the low end, bones contain 22% and fingernails only about 10% water.
The champion in the animal kingdom is the jellyfish, which is 95 to 97% water. Amazingly that’s a higher ratio than the watermelon, which is typically 92 to 95% water.
Fact #4 ~ Filtering Water Has A History
Treating water to make it potable (=safely drinkable) is not a new idea.
In ancient Egypt they “treated” water by letting the murky river water settle in big jars. Then they’d siphon the top off for drinking.
Hippocrates of ancient Greece urged people to boil water and strain it before drinking. He only used this clean water for medical purposes.
The first modern water plant with filters was built in 1872 in New York.
Fact #5 ~ Water does NOT always freeze at 32 Fahrenheit (or 0 Celsius)
Water doesn’t always freeze at 32 Fahrenheit/0 Celsius, or boil at 212 Fahrenheit/100 Celsius.
Contamination is one factor.
Salt lowers the freezing temperature. That’s why we salt the roads in the winter – salty snow melts when pure snow doesn’t.
Sea water doesn’t freeze at 32 F/0 C. At typical salinity levels it freezes at 28F/-2 C. Adding more salt, water may remain in liquid form at temperatures as low as -6 F/-21 C.
Amusingly, it’s not just unclean water – extremely pure water can also “resist” freezing.
That’s providing the container is clean, smooth walled, and there’s no motion in the water.
This is called supercooling. When supercooled water is disturbed it flash-freezes in seconds. This guy on Youtube seems mystified.
Pressure, including atmospheric pressure is also a factor.
Water boils quicker at higher altitudes, as any coffee-loving mountaineer can attest to.
Under zero pressure, in the vacuum of space, water instantly evaporates. (This is true to all other liquids as well, to be fair.)
Fact #6 ~ Water is Close-Knit
The solid form of substances is usually more compact than the liquid form.
Water is an exception. Ice takes up more space than water because of how H2O expands when ice crystals are formed.
That’s the reason why ice cubes float – they’re less dense than water so they stay on top.