Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at temperatures above 0 °C (273.15 K, 32 °F) at sea level, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state (water vapor or steam). Water also exists in a liquid crystal state near hydrophilic surfaces.
Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface, and is vital for all known forms of life. On Earth, 96.5% of the planet's water is found in oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland, a small fraction in other large water bodies, and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation. Only 2.5% of the Earth's water is freshwater, and 98.8% of that water is in ice and groundwater. Less than 0.3% of all freshwater is in rivers, lakes, and the atmosphere, and an even smaller amount of the Earth's freshwater (0.003%) is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products.
Water on Earth moves continually through the hydrological cycle of evaporation and transpiration (evapotranspiration), condensation, precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land.
Safe drinking water is essential to humans and other lifeforms. Access to safe drinking water has improved over the last decades in almost every part of the world, but approximately one billion people still lack access to safe water and over 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. There is a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita. However, some observers have estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. A recent report (November 2009) suggests that by 2030, in some developing regions of the world, water demand will exceed supply by 50%. Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70% of the fresh water used by humans goes to agriculture.
Famous quotes containing the word water:
“Here is no water but only rock”
—T.S. (Thomas Stearns)
“The woman ... turned her melancholy tone into a scolding one. She was not very young, and the wrinkles in her face were filled with drops of water which had fallen from her eyes, which, with the yellowness of her complexion, made a figure not unlike a field in the decline of the year, when the harvest is gathered in and a smart shower of rain has filled the furrows with water. Her voice was so shrill that they all jumped into the coach as fast as they could and drove from the door.”
—Sarah Fielding (17101768)
“Panache upon panache, his tails deploy
Upward and outward, in green-vented forms,
His tip a drop of water full of storms.”
—Wallace Stevens (18791955)