Within our Solar System, Earth is known as the water planet, and water is an absolute requirement of life. On our planet, the most controlling resource is water — not oil or minerals — but water. Its distribution, quantity, availability, and quality are the controls for the development of agriculture, industry, rural, urban, and municipal use. The water-rich areas of the world are truly the richest places on Earth.
Earth, the water planet is the only one in our solar system presently characterized and shaped by abundant liquid water — a necessity for life. This vital resource makes up 60 percent of the human body. A person can live no more than 4 to 5 days without water, and we rely on it for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes, growing food, recreation, industry, and mining, as well as generation of electric power. Like the air we breathe, water is essential to our daily life.
Water is a major factor in shaping our landscape. Through the processes of erosion and sediment transport, water forms many surface features such as valleys, flood plains, deltas, and beaches. Water also forms subsurface features such as caves. Natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon were, and are being, carved by water. Streams from upland areas carried much of the sand that is located on ocean beaches. Water is a renewable resource. However, it is not always available when or where it is needed, and it may not be of suitable quality for intended uses. Although we commonly take for granted that clean and abundant water is as close as the nearest faucet, water resources can be depleted or contaminated with pollutants. Having too much water (floods) or not having enough (droughts) may have serious consequences for people, wildlife, and their habitats.
Water is essential to life. It is part of the physiological process of nutrition and waste removal from cells of all living things. It is one of the controlling factors for biodiversity and the distribution of Earth’s...