All life that inhabits the planet needs water . It is the most valuable resource in the world as it is the food source for everything from the food you eat, to the cotton you use, to the energy you depend on every day. Habitats of freshwater such as lakes , rivers , streams , wetlands and aquifers are home to an incredible amount of biodiversity worldwide: over 10% of all known animal and approximately 50% of all species of fishthat we know today. Yet despite the massive role that water plays for people and nature, it is a surprisingly limited resource . Less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh and accessible .
What is fresh water?
Fresh water is that which contains very few amounts of dissolved salts and comes from precipitation and water vapor that comes from lakes, rivers and groundwater, or from the melting of snow or ice .
- How it is produced
- Where do we find fresh water
- Freshwater fish
- Fresh water shortage
- Because it’s called fresh water
- Featured freshwater rivers
The main characteristics of fresh water are the following:
- It is one of the most important aquatic ecosystems on the planet.
- Fresh water is called because their concentrations of salt are minimal.
- They have approximately 1% of sodium chloride .
- They discharge their waters into the oceans from the mouths of rivers.
- They cover approximately 1/5 of the total water on the planet .
- They have abundant amounts of mineral nutrients
- Their size varies and they have sediments at the bottom of their waters.
How it is produced
Fresh water can be produced through different means, rain is probably the most important of them and it is the product of the evaporation of the water that is on the earth and that has become rain. The groundwater is the largest source of fresh water on the planet but can not be consumed by humans. The ice , either by the melting of the polar icecaps or the falling snow is another source of fresh water, although it is not fully consumable can be treated for this purpose.
The types of fresh water that we can find on the planet are the following:
- Ponds and lakes: which can vary in size and are scattered throughout the land. Many ponds are seasonal , and along with lakes they may have limited species diversity as they are often isolated from each other and from other water sources such as rivers and oceans.
- Streams and rivers: bodies of water that flow moving in one direction . They can be found everywhere and usually end up in the ocean . The characteristics of a river or stream tend to change as its journey unfolds until it reaches the sea.
- Wetlands : are areas of stagnant water in which aquatic plants inhabit. Marshes, swamps, and bogs are wetlands and have the highestspecies diversity of all ecosystems , as well as amphibian, reptile, and bird species.
There are three different types of freshwater environments or ecosystems:
- Wetland ecosystem : these are the regions that are flooded or saturated with water in a certain part of the year.
- Lentic ecosystem: these are areas of low flow or still water , such as ponds, reservoirs, lakes or swamps.
- Lotus ecosystem: areas where water has a significant movement such as springs and streams or rivers.
Where do we find fresh water
The planet’s fresh water can be found in rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, groundwater, ice, snow, and glaciers.
Some of the important freshwater fish are as follows:
- Bocachico: very commercialized in Latin America although it has many thorns on its body.
- Cachama: it is quite large and weighs 35 kilograms, widely used in food and fishing.
- Salmon: one of the most sought after fish for food.
- Catfish: It is found in America although they are native to Europe and are known by the name of catfish.
- Trout: It is found in Europe and Asia but countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and North America have been included . It is easy to breed and has a very good flavor.
Fresh water is vital to our lives and as such it has many uses. It is used in domestic uses that involve food, cleaning, washing and hygiene. It is a source of sports and entertainment activities such as windsurfing and swimming. It is widely used in the area of agriculture to irrigate crops in livestock to feed the animals and clean the facilities.
It is also used in industrial use in factories, workshops, construction and manufacturing industry. Probably one of the main uses of water is as a source of energy since it is an ideal method for the production of electrical energy . And finally, it is also used as a means of communication .
The sources from which we can obtain fresh and fresh water are rain , groundwater that can be desalinated and converted into drinking water, ice and polar caps , rivers , lakes, ponds, streams and natural springs.
The main fresh water reserves in the world are found in:
- Burma : has 1,080 cubic kilometers of water. Rivers originate in the mountains, but more than 80% of the water is received by rain .
- Venezuela : has approximately 1,320 km3 of water and many rivers end in the Orinoco , the third largest river in Latin America.
- United States : with 2,480 km3 of water and has plenty of rivers and lakes although some countries suffer from droughts.
- China : has 5-6% of the world ‘s water reserves but having the highest population density on the planet, its water distribution is extremely uneven.
- Canada : has 7% of global renewable freshwater resources and less than 1% of the world’s population.
Fresh water shortage
Water scarcity can be defined as a lack of sufficient water , or not having access to safe and healthy water supplies . Water scarcity generally occurs in areas of the planet where rainfall is scarce and where there are more episodes of drought .
The shortage of fresh water occurs when we have insufficient reserves to guarantee the medium and short-term supply of the liquid. The water reserves in the swamps rise and fall depending on the rains.
The problem of fresh water scarcity is serious for people , agriculture and industry . This is one of the main challenges that humanity will have to face in the coming years. The climate change and the destruction of ecosystems by irresponsible man has made access to the fresh water drinking is one of the concerns of most countries of the world, especially those water resources and economic more limited .
Its importance lies in the fact that it is a vital liquid for the proper development and maintenance of life on the planet, it is the basis of all forms of life as well as for daily activities , in industry and agriculture .
All animals and plants need water to survive and without it they would not be able to carry out the biological processes necessary for physical fitness and growth.
Because it’s called fresh water
Fresh water has no smell , color or taste, which means that it contains very low concentrations of the minerals found in salty sea water, although it generally has a certain amount of some dissolved minerals such as calcium , silica , magnesium or iron . We can say then that the water is sweet because the dissolved salts are not stored in them because they are carried out to the seas very quickly and they do not remain in the fresh water for long.
Featured freshwater rivers
Some of the main freshwater rivers that we find on our planet are:
- Danube, Seine, Volga, Mississippi, Missouri, Amazon, Rio de la Plata, Orinoco, Euphrates, Amur, Nile, Congo, Senegal, Limpopo.