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30 Facts About Water for World Water Day

A person in water rescue gear being lowered into the ocean. Image credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Simpson
By Vivian Mason

Whether known as “agua” in Spanish, “eau” in French or as “wasser” in German, we can’t live without the stuff.

Water is the essence of life, and clean drinking water is key to the success of troops in combat.  

In observance of World Water Day March 22, here are 30 facts about water to throw out at a dinner conversation:
1. On average, the human body is composed of 50% to 65% water; bodies of newborn babies are about 78% water.

2. The human brain is 80% water.

3. 70.9% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and 68.7% of that is trapped in glaciers.

4. Coconut water (the juice inside the coconut) is not only sterile, but also has the same electrolytic balance as human blood. Medics in the Pacific theater in World War II used it as an emergency substitute for plasma. 

military members pour water into another member's bottle
Image credit: Sgt. Ian Ives
5. 1 in 8 people lack access to clean water.

6. Frozen water is 9% lighter than liquid water.

7. 97% of water on the Earth is salted. 

8. Drowning in salt water is different than drowning in fresh water. It takes longer, and salt water draws blood out of the cells into the lungs, causing a person to literally drown in their own blood. 

9. A drip from a faucet can fill an 8-ounce glass in 15 minutes.

10. About 40% of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources and purified (tap water). Two of the three most popular brands in North America come from tap water. 

people parachute into the ocean
Image credit: Senior Airman Cary Smith
11. The expiration date on bottled water is for the bottle and not for the water in it. 

12. Drinking ice-cold water burns about one calorie per ounce. 

13. More water is used to build a car than to fill a swimming pool.

14. 53% of the people who live in Fiji don’t have access to clean, safe water. Yet Fiji bottled water is the nation’s largest export. 

15. Why can’t we drink sea water? A kidney can’t make urine from a concentration of salts of more than 2%. Sea water is made of 3% salt. So, if we drink it, the kidneys have to use existing water from our body to dilute and absorb the extra salt, which in turn makes us thirstier. The process repeats itself until we die of dehydration. 

16. A jellyfish and a cucumber are both 95% water.

17. The average person could live without food for nearly one month, but we could only survive about one week without water. 

18. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth saves 25 gallons each month.

a military man holds a sign saying "my water is fresh" while handing out water on a marathon route
Image credit: James Frank
19. 98% of basements in the United States will experience some type of water damage at some point.

20. A camel’s hump does not hold water. It stores fat. But camels can go for long periods of time without water, and they drink up to 20 gallons at a time.

21. 85% of the water on the International Space Station is recycled.

22. It takes between 44–82 gallons of water to make a single 16.9-oz bottle of cola. 

23. Water is the only substance that’s found naturally on Earth in 3 forms: liquid, solid, and gas.

24. About 700 million people in 43 countries suffer today from water scarcity. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries/regions with absolute water scarcity. Two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water-stressed conditions. 

25. The Marine Corps is an amphibious assault force, so all Marine recruits are required to know how to survive in the water.

A woman in military attire grabs a water from an outstretched hand while running
Image credit: Sgt. Jason Young
26. Overuse of water is a source of conflict that could potentially compromise U.S. national security, according to a report by the U.S. national intelligence director.

27. 3.4 million people—mainly children— die as a result of preventable water-related diseases every year.

28. Thermoelectric power plants account for nearly 50% of all freshwater withdrawals in the U.S.

29. It takes more than twice the amount of water to produce coffee than it does tea.

30. An American taking a 5-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses in an entire day.