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How Much Drinkable Water Is There?

Water is an abundant resource on Earth, but the amount of drinkable water is only a fraction of the world’s total water supply. It is estimated that only about 3 percent of the world’s water is actually drinkable. This is because about 96 percent of water is found in the oceans and must be processed before it can be used for drinking. In addition, a portion of the world’s drinkable water is in the form of ice at the polar caps, making the water basically inaccessible and leaving less than 0.4 percent of the Earth's drinkable water available for people to use.

More facts about water:

  • The human brain is 75 percent water — the same percentage found in most types of living trees.

  • Humans can go only about a week without water before dying. This assumes that the individual is in top physical condition. By contrast, humans can manage to go without food for about 30 days before passing away.

  • Water expands when it freezes. Generally, the water will expand by about 9 percent as it freezes. Frozen water is less dense than water and many other liquids, which is why ice cubes float in drinks.

Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon322435 — On Feb 27, 2013

Because there is so much water on Earth, although it is a limited resource, for now 0.4 percent is plenty to fulfill the current population's needs.

By anon270243 — On May 21, 2012

How are billions of people getting water then?!

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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