Is there enough water for plants and animal?
The water on Earth today is all the water we have so we need to look after it. We know that humans require fresh water in order to survive but so do all other living things on our planet – kangaroos, gum trees, mushrooms, ferns and moles!
All living things are mostly made up of water. Did you know that a chicken is 75% water? An earthworm is 80% and a tomato is 95%? And you are 65% water. Which means only do we require it to live, we are in fact mostly made up of water.
Plants need water, just like all living things, to grow and stay alive. They use water directly when they capture the light energy of the sun and transform it into energy. Plants are the foundation of all food chains so animals and humans rely heavily on plants for their survival. The water cycle is also reliant on plants filtering the water and releasing it back into the atmosphere.
Animals need fresh water for their bodies to function. They gain water not only through the action of drinking but also from the food they eat. Water is vital for bodily functions such as regulation of temperature, nutrient uptake, removing wastes, body weight, and health. Losing one tenth of the body’s water can results in death as the body will shut down.
Animals don’t have the same luxurious that humans do when it comes to sourcing fresh water. For example, an elephant can’t turn on a tap or buy a bottle of water. Some animals need to activity hunt for water in their environment in order to survive. Due to the pressure to find clean water, some species have evolved to conserve water very efficiently or vary the amount of water they intake. In hotter environmental conditions, where the demand for water is increased, the desert hopping mouse has a digestive system that conserves every drop of water like it will be their last! Similarly, camels have numerous adaptations that ensure survival without water. They can survive for up to 40 days without water, provided they consume enough green vegetation to get the moisture they need. On the other hand, amphibians, such as frogs and toads are not able to survive for more than a couple of days without a constant source of water. Frogs are especially vulnerable when it comes to water because they have semi-permeable skin, which means they can lose water very easily through their skin.
Humans need to consider other living species when thinking about water. If we are using all the water to feed our cattle, flood our crops and fill our tanks, will there be enough left for the other living things on Earth? Our reliance on extracted water from the environment has taken its toll on the health of our rivers and groundwater. Not to mention the plants and animals that live in these ecosystems.
As well as ensuring there is enough water in the environment for other species, pollution also plays an important role in the survival of animals and plants. If water is contaminated due to chemicals from humans, animals and plants may die, not because a lack of water, but due to poisoning from chemicals. It is vital that animals have a fresh source of water in order to thrive in their environment. Otherwise it is possible that certain species may die out significantly.