A Drop of Water
Water Molecule - The chemical formula for water is H2O. The molecule is comprised of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom (H2O).
A molecule of water is a phenomenal structure. Water molecules do not behave like typical molecules, and this makes the replacement of water virtually impossible. There is a sharing of electrons between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms (called a covalent bond), which makes this molecule very difficult to break. Due to this exceptionally strong bond, a great deal of energy can be released when the atoms are separated.
Groups of Water Molecules - Water molecules have a very strong attraction to one another and attach to each other with ‘hydrogen bonds’. These bonds are not very strong. However, once one molecule has attached itself to another, the speed with which another molecule will attach to the group is faster, and the next molecule is even faster, and so on. This results in a great structure forming at a rapid speed.
Water is unique in that it is less dense in its frozen state than when it is in a liquid or gaseous state.
Water - Essential for Life
The earth’s living creatures use and require water for almost every element of their lives. Water is necessary for cleansing and metabolizing the body; in fact, over one half to two thirds of our physical body is made of water!
Why water is important to humans:
Humans require a daily intake of water in order to remain hydrated.
Water is a solvent used for cleaning many things, including our bodies.
We use water to cook and prepare our daily meals.
Water is enjoyed recreationally, for swimming, boating, fishing, to name a few uses.
Water is essential for the existence of fish, a major food source for many people.
The hydrological cycle on earth is a never-ending movement of water. Powered by solar radiation, water continuously transfers from one location to another via various forms of ‘transportation’, such as evaporation and precipitation, to name a few.
A region of land that drains into a river, stream, or other body of water is known as a watershed.
Bodies of Water
There are several types of bodies of water. Some of the most common are oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.
Oceans - Most of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans. More than 70% of our planet is ocean. The Pacific Ocean is the largest, which is almost twice as large (in area) as the next largest ocean, the Atlantic. The Indian Ocean is the third largest, followed by our newest ocean, the Southern Ocean. The smallest ocean is the Arctic Ocean.
Seas - Seas are large bodies of salt water (although there are some seas that are fresh water). There are seas scattered around the planet. The three largest seas are the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and South China Seas.
Lakes - Lakes are usually freshwater bodies, but may be saline. They are relatively young bodies of water from a geological point-of-view.
Rivers - Rivers might be considered the water roadways of human civilization. They run above and below ground, and always flow downhill. Rivers move precipitation from high ground to lower ground, and usually end their journey in lakes, seas, and oceans.
Water Issues in Southern Alberta
The following links will be of interest to those seeking more information on water issues and concerns in Southern Alberta, Alberta, Canada, North America, and the world:
Oldman Watershed Council
Alberta Irrigation Projects Association
Castle Crown Wilderness
Alberta Environment (Water)
Alberta Wilderness Association
Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Water Research
Crown of the Continent
Environment Canada – Water Survey of Canada
International Joint Commission