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"Water is a common "chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of "life. In typical usage, water refers to its "liquid form or "state, but the substance also has a "solid state, "ice, and a "gaseous state, "water vapor or "steam. About 1.460 "petatonnes (Pt) (1021 kilograms) of water covers 71% of the "Earth's surface, mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in "aquifers and 0.001% in the "air as "vapor, "clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and "precipitation.

"Saltwater "oceans hold 97% of surface water, "glaciers and polar "ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as "rivers, "lakes and "ponds 0.6%. Some of the Earth's water is contained within "water towers, biological bodies, manufactured products, and food stores. Other water is trapped in ice caps, glaciers, aquifers, or in lakes, sometimes providing fresh water for life on land.

Water moves continually through a "cycle of "evaporation or "transpiration ("evapotranspiration), "precipitation, and "runoff, usually reaching the "sea. Winds carry water vapor over land at the same rate as runoff into the sea, about 36 Tt per year. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute another 71 Tt per year to the precipitation of 107 Tt per year over land. Clean, fresh "drinking water is essential to "human and other life. However, in many parts of the world — especially "developing countries — there is a "water crisis, and it is estimated that by 2025 more than half of the "world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. Water plays an important role in the "world economy, as it functions as a "solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70% of "freshwater is consumed by "agriculture.

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Satellite photo from August 2003 after five years of "drought, reaching near-record lows. Note the difference in colors between the northern and southern portions of the lake, the result of a railroad "causeway.

The "Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the "U.S. state of "Utah, is the largest "salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest "terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For instance, in 1963 it reached its lowest recorded size at 950 square miles (2,460 km²), but in 1988 the surface area was at the historic high of 3,300 square miles (8,500 km2). In terms of surface area, it is the largest lake in the United States that is not part of the "Great Lakes region.

The lake is the largest remnant of "Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric "pluvial lake that once covered much of western Utah. The three major tributaries to the lake, the "Jordan, "Weber, and "Bear rivers together deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year. As it is "endorheic (has no outlet besides "evaporation), it has very high "salinity (far saltier than "seawater) and its mineral content is steadily increasing. Due to the high density resulting from its mineral content, swimming in the Great Salt Lake is similar to "floating. Its shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy "lake-effect snows from late fall through spring.

Although it has been called "America's "Dead Sea", the lake provides habitat for millions of native birds, "brine shrimp, "shorebirds, and "waterfowl, including the largest staging population of "Wilson's phalarope in the world. "Read more...

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Did you know...

""DYK Question Mark

... that the "International Water Management Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary last year?

... that the "International Water Centre celebrated its 5th birthday last year?

... that the "National Rural Water Association represents more than 26,242 water and wastewater utility members?

... that ""water bears" are small, segmented animals that can survive in a dehydrated state for nearly 10 years?

... that there are at least 15 different forms of crystalline "ice?

... that "water memory is a controversial "homeopathic concept, which holds that water is capable of containing "memory" of particles dissolved in it?

... that there are more particles in a glass of water than grains of sand on earth?

... that there is a new definition for Earth's water cycle that includes the three "interactive" cycles: cosmic water cycle; atmospheric water cycle, and oceanic water cycle (new ocean recycled from center of Earth about every 7 million years) The Water Channel TV

Water Rights

  • "The "Arizona Court of Appeals recently upheld a decision that the Arizona Department of Water Resources has the right to issue instream flow permits and affirmed the principle that instream flow and "in situ water rights need not be diversionary." [1]

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