Water, Water Everywhere

Water is essential for life as we know it. It's more than just what we drink and bathe in, water makes us who we are and defines the world in which we live. Approximately 70 percent of the human body is water and almost three-fourths of the earth's surface is covered in water.

Test your knowledge of water facts or learn new information about the elixir of life with our Water Trivia Questions.

1. Where is the vast majority of the world's freshwater supply located?

The majority of the world's freshwater is in Antarctica. Over 90 percent of the earth's freshwater is found there. If all the world's water were to fit into a gallon jug, the freshwater available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon.

2. The earth's water supply makes up how many cubic miles?

The volume of the earth's water supply is 344 million cubic miles, 315 million cubic miles of which is seawater and 3,400 cubic miles is found within the bodies of living things.

3. How much of the brain is water?

About 75 percent of the brain is water and 83 percent of a person's blood is water.

4. Approximately how many tons of pollutants go into lakes and rivers each day in the United States?

About 500,000 tons of pollutants go into the nation's lakes and rivers each day. About 11 percent of this pollution comes from storm sewers and urban runoff.

5. How many people do not have access to clean water worldwide?

The estimate for the total number of people lacking clean water worldwide is 1.2 billion.

6. How much water does the average single-family home in the United States use during the summer? During the winter?

The average single-family home in the U.S. uses 120 gallons of water in the summer and 80 gallons in the winter. Two-thirds of this water is used for showering, bathing and using the toilet.

7. How many gallons of water do Americans flush down their toilets every day?

Approximately 6.8 billion gallons of water are flushed down the toilet each day in the United States. Conventional toilets in the United States use five gallons of water per flush. Common low flush toilets use three and one half gallons per flush. Ultra low volume toilets use one and one half gallons per flush and air-assisted toilets use one half gallon per flush. Running a tap for two minutes takes 3 gallons to 5 gallons of water. Showering for five minutes uses 20 gallons to 35 gallons; and a full bathtub requires approximately 60 gallons.

8. How much water does the average person need to drink per day?

The average person requires two quarts of water a day.

9. What annual percentage of water in the United States is used for general household purposes (such as cooking, drinking, bathing, flushing, washing, watering lawns, maintaining swimming pools, etc)?

About one percent of the nation's water is used annually for these and other household purposes.

10. What percentage of freshwater in the United States is used for irrigating crops and generating thermoelectric-power?

Eighty percent of the freshwater in the U.S. is used for crops and for thermoelectric power.

The majority of these trivia questions and answers were compiled with help from WaterSavingTips.org. If you have answers that differ, and you have a source for your information, please send it to dcorbin@stevenspublishing. You can also send any other water facts that you'd like to share.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2002 issue of Environmental Protection.

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