Water: Life in Every Drop

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Most of this is ingested through foods or beverages other than drinking straight water. It is not clear how much water intake is needed by healthy people, though the British Dietetic Association advises that 2. Healthy kidneys can excrete 0. People can drink far more water than necessary while exercising, putting them at risk of water intoxication hyperhydration , which can be fatal. An original recommendation for water intake in by the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Research Council read: "An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food.

Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods. Specifically, pregnant and breastfeeding women need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine US recommends that, on average, men consume 3 liters 0. Water is excreted from the body in multiple forms; through urine and feces , through sweating , and by exhalation of water vapor in the breath.

With physical exertion and heat exposure, water loss will increase and daily fluid needs may increase as well. Humans require water with few impurities.

Ricky Skaggs - Every Drop Of Water

Some solutes are acceptable and even desirable for taste enhancement and to provide needed electrolytes. The single largest by volume freshwater resource suitable for drinking is Lake Baikal in Siberia. The propensity of water to form solutions and emulsions is useful in various washing processes. Washing is also an important component of several aspects of personal body hygiene.

Sustainable practices in industry

Most of personal water use is due to showering , doing the laundry and dishwashing , reaching hundreds of liters per day per person in developed countries. The use of water for transportation of materials through rivers and canals as well as the international shipping lanes is an important part of the world economy.

Water is widely used in chemical reactions as a solvent or reactant and less commonly as a solute or catalyst. In inorganic reactions, water is a common solvent, dissolving many ionic compounds, as well as other polar compounds such as ammonia and compounds closely related to water.


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In organic reactions, it is not usually used as a reaction solvent, because it does not dissolve the reactants well and is amphoteric acidic and basic and nucleophilic. Nevertheless, these properties are sometimes desirable.

Also, acceleration of Diels-Alder reactions by water has been observed. Supercritical water has recently been a topic of research.

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Oxygen-saturated supercritical water combusts organic pollutants efficiently. Water vapor is used for some processes in the chemical industry.

An example is the production of acrylic acid from acrolein, propylene and propane. Water and steam are a common fluid used for heat exchange , due to its availability and high heat capacity , both for cooling and heating. Cool water may even be naturally available from a lake or the sea.

It's especially effective to transport heat through vaporization and condensation of water because of its large latent heat of vaporization. A disadvantage is that metals commonly found in industries such as steel and copper are oxidized faster by untreated water and steam. In almost all thermal power stations , water is used as the working fluid used in a closed loop between boiler, steam turbine and condenser , and the coolant used to exchange the waste heat to a water body or carry it away by evaporation in a cooling tower.

In the United States, cooling power plants is the largest use of water. In the nuclear power industry, water can also be used as a neutron moderator. In most nuclear reactors , water is both a coolant and a moderator. This provides something of a passive safety measure, as removing the water from the reactor also slows the nuclear reaction down.

However other methods are favored for stopping a reaction and it is preferred to keep the nuclear core covered with water so as to ensure adequate cooling. Water has a high heat of vaporization and is relatively inert, which makes it a good fire extinguishing fluid. The evaporation of water carries heat away from the fire.

Reducing water consumption

It is dangerous to use water on fires involving oils and organic solvents, because many organic materials float on water and the water tends to spread the burning liquid. Use of water in fire fighting should also take into account the hazards of a steam explosion , which may occur when water is used on very hot fires in confined spaces, and of a hydrogen explosion, when substances which react with water, such as certain metals or hot carbon such as coal, charcoal , or coke graphite, decompose the water, producing water gas.

The power of such explosions was seen in the Chernobyl disaster , although the water involved did not come from fire-fighting at that time but the reactor's own water cooling system. A steam explosion occurred when the extreme overheating of the core caused water to flash into steam. A hydrogen explosion may have occurred as a result of reaction between steam and hot zirconium. Some metallic oxides, most notably those of alkali metals and alkaline earth metals , produce so much heat on reaction with water that a fire hazard can develop.

The alkaline earth oxide quicklime is a mass-produced substance which is often transported in paper bags. If these are soaked through, they may ignite as their contents react with water. Humans use water for many recreational purposes, as well as for exercising and for sports. Some of these include swimming, waterskiing , boating , surfing and diving. In addition, some sports, like ice hockey and ice skating , are played on ice.

Our planet's life depends on every drop of water | MDG Fund

Lakesides, beaches and water parks are popular places for people to go to relax and enjoy recreation. Many find the sound and appearance of flowing water to be calming, and fountains and other water features are popular decorations. Some keep fish and other life in aquariums or ponds for show, fun, and companionship. Humans also use water for snow sports i. The water industry provides drinking water and wastewater services including sewage treatment to households and industry.

Water supply facilities include water wells , cisterns for rainwater harvesting , water supply networks , and water purification facilities, water tanks , water towers , water pipes including old aqueducts. Atmospheric water generators are in development. Drinking water is often collected at springs , extracted from artificial borings wells in the ground, or pumped from lakes and rivers.

Building more wells in adequate places is thus a possible way to produce more water, assuming the aquifers can supply an adequate flow. Other water sources include rainwater collection. Water may require purification for human consumption. This may involve removal of undissolved substances, dissolved substances and harmful microbes. Popular methods are filtering with sand which only removes undissolved material, while chlorination and boiling kill harmful microbes.

Distillation does all three functions.

Our planet's life depends on every drop of water

More advanced techniques exist, such as reverse osmosis. Desalination of abundant seawater is a more expensive solution used in coastal arid climates. The distribution of drinking water is done through municipal water systems , tanker delivery or as bottled water. Governments in many countries have programs to distribute water to the needy at no charge. Reducing usage by using drinking potable water only for human consumption is another option. In some cities such as Hong Kong, sea water is extensively used for flushing toilets citywide in order to conserve fresh water resources.

Polluting water may be the biggest single misuse of water; to the extent that a pollutant limits other uses of the water, it becomes a waste of the resource, regardless of benefits to the polluter. Like other types of pollution, this does not enter standard accounting of market costs, being conceived as externalities for which the market cannot account. Thus other people pay the price of water pollution, while the private firms' profits are not redistributed to the local population, victims of this pollution. Pharmaceuticals consumed by humans often end up in the waterways and can have detrimental effects on aquatic life if they bioaccumulate and if they are not biodegradable.

Municipal and industrial wastewater are typically treated at wastewater treatment plants. Mitigation of polluted surface runoff is addressed through a variety of prevention and treatment techniques. See Surface runoff Mitigation and treatment. Many industrial processes rely on reactions using chemicals dissolved in water, suspension of solids in water slurries or using water to dissolve and extract substances, or to wash products or process equipment.

Processes such as mining , chemical pulping , pulp bleaching , paper manufacturing , textile production, dyeing, printing, and cooling of power plants use large amounts of water, requiring a dedicated water source, and often cause significant water pollution. Water is used in power generation. Hydroelectricity is electricity obtained from hydropower.

Hydroelectric power comes from water driving a water turbine connected to a generator. Hydroelectricity is a low-cost, non-polluting, renewable energy source.

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The energy is supplied by the motion of water. Typically a dam is constructed on a river, creating an artificial lake behind it. Water flowing out of the lake is forced through turbines that turn generators. Pressurized water is used in water blasting and water jet cutters. Also, very high pressure water guns are used for precise cutting. It works very well, is relatively safe, and is not harmful to the environment.

It is also used in the cooling of machinery to prevent overheating, or prevent saw blades from overheating. Water is also used in many industrial processes and machines, such as the steam turbine and heat exchanger , in addition to its use as a chemical solvent. Discharge of untreated water from industrial uses is pollution.

Pollution includes discharged solutes chemical pollution and discharged coolant water thermal pollution. Industry requires pure water for many applications and utilizes a variety of purification techniques both in water supply and discharge.


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  • Boiling , steaming , and simmering are popular cooking methods that often require immersing food in water or its gaseous state, steam. Water also plays many critical roles within the field of food science. It is important for a food scientist to understand the roles that water plays within food processing to ensure the success of their products. Solutes such as salts and sugars found in water affect the physical properties of water. The boiling and freezing points of water are affected by solutes, as well as air pressure , which is in turn affected by altitude.

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