Colorless, odorless, tasteless, and calorie free, water is vital to all life on earth. No human, animal, or plant can live without it. From elephant to microbe, water is essential; and there is no substitute. Each of the six billion people on earth needs to consume, in liquids and food, about two and a half quarts [2.5 liters] of water every day to keep healthy. No water, no life.
Fortunately, there is plenty of water. When photographed from outer space, our beautiful blue planet looks as though it should be called Water, not Earth. Indeed, if the world’s water evenly covered the surface of the planet, it would form a global ocean 1.5 miles [2.5 km] deep. All of the earth’s land surfaces could fit into the Pacific Ocean, with room to spare.
According to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.”
It is difficult to argue that water is any less than a miracle, the product of a benevolent MasterMind. According to the Genesis account, water was already present before the opening and closing of the six ‘creative days’. It was on the second day of ‘creation’, according to Genesis 1:6 that ‘an expanse came to be between the waters above the expanse and those below’. Thus the water cycle: it is worth noting that all the water that is here on earth has been here for aeons of time, evaporating from the great oceans, falling as rain and snow over mountains and plains, flowing inexorably back to the sea from which it came, the ‘watery deep.’
Although water seems simple – it is just 2 atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen – it is an extremely complex substance. Dr. John Emsley of Imperial College(London, England) states that it is “one of the most investigated of all chemicals, but it is still the least understood.” Dr. Emsley explains, for example, that “H2O should be a gas … but it is a liquid.”
Man’s survival depends on water. All great civilizations have been founded at great sources of water. No other issue has caused more military and legal battles than water rights.
To begin with, although 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, not all of it is drinkable. For example, the seas make up about 97 percent of this water. This leaves 3 percent classified as fresh. More than three fourths of this water, however, is locked solid in earth’s glaciers and polar ice caps. Another 14 percent is underground water in aquifers too deep to tap. The remaining water, estimated to be a minute 0.027 percent, flows through freshwater rivers, lakes, and streams, and in aquifers that can be tapped. The surface freshwater is recharged with rain and other precipitation, but because of the great depth of some aquifers, they cannot be recharged. Unlike giant turbines that can create electricity for home and industrial use, no new water can be manufactured. So when the water tap is turned on in the home for that special pot of tea or coffee, or for the invigorating hot tub or shower, and the great valves are opened in industrial establishments or to recharge swimming pools, the water must come from nearby rivers, lakes, or wells tapping the aquifers. Although the annual rainfall for the earth is plentiful, it does not fall on all parts of the earth in equal proportions. In some parts of the earth, rainfall may be more than abundant, whereas in others it may not rain for years. In the places where rain is scarce, great irrigation systems are necessary for farming, and these waters are pumped from aquifers where recharge is either nonexistent or insufficient. This has resulted in wells running dry.