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Date: 20 May 2013

Most of the water on our earth is salt water. Nine and a half out of ten litres of water are salty. The remaining half litre is fresh water. We use this water for farming (70%), industry (22%) and home for drinking, washing and watering (8%).

All water is recycled. It has been used thousands of times before. The water you are drinking today might have been dinosaur wee 70 million years ago. Yikes! There’s the same amount of water today as there has been for millions of years it just shifts around from place to place. This is called the water cycle.

If you studied the life of a drop of water over an average 100 year life, here’s what you would find. It spent 98 years in the ocean. It spent 20 months as ice. Around two weeks in lakes and rivers. Less than a week in our atmosphere as water vapour.

Water is mostly found as a liquid. It can also be a gas (water vapour) or a solid (ice). Fresh water for drinking comes from rivers, lakes, creeks and dams. Most bottled water is bore water pumped from the ground and dressed up in pretty bottles.


Most fresh water is used in farming and agriculture. Only 5% of all water is fresh water and more than 70% of this is frozen (mostly as ice in Antarctica). That leaves us with only 1% of all the water on our Earth to use to grow crops, raise animals, cool coal fired power plants, power industry and home use.

Australians households use around 400 litres of water a day. This adds up to 146,000 litres (around five back garden swimming pools) every year. Many people living in poor countries use less than 20 litres of water a day.

There is a lot of water in the food we eat. It’s called embodied water. It takes around 25,000 litres  (half a back garden swimming pool) to produce enough food for a family of four for a single day. Some things take a huge amount of water to produce.

An average bar of chocolate takes 2,400 litres of water to make. A regular burger takes 2,500 litres of water to make. An apple takes 70 litres to grow.

At birth 80% of a baby is water. When we get old our body is still 65% water. Our brain is 80% water. Even our bones are 25% water.

More than 2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. More than half of the people on our planet walk at least two hours a day to get water. A child dies every minute from drinking dirty water.

In the developing world 90% of sewage goes untreated into rivers and streams. Often these are the same rivers that people wash in and get drinking water from.

We can save water by being careful to turn off the tap when we are not using it. Teeth brushing, dad’s shaving, hand washing, showers, washing the car and baths are important ways that kids can help save water.

Want to learn more about Water?