Water: A not so trivial resource

Water is an essential element needed in our daily lives. But how much do we know about the water that surrounds us?

Water, water everywhere! Here in Michigan, that is indeed the case. Michigan has thousands of inland lakes and miles of rivers and streams all connected to the Great Lakes. But, if you talk to folks from other countries – or even California – you will find that water is a very precious commodity. It’s an essential part of everyday living that we literally cannot live without. The human body alone is made of 55-78 percent water. However, most people don’t know a lot about this resource that is required for life. Let’s play some water trivia to see how much you know about water by matching the follow facts and activities with the amount of water.


How many gallons of water are needed to:

  1. Manufacture one car                                                           A.1000 gallons
  2. Make a slice of bread                                                          B. 713 gallons
  3.  Produce one cotton T-shirt                                                C. 10 gallons
  4. Produce one gallon of milk                                                 D. 70 gallons
  5. Produce one hamburger                                                      E. 634 gallons
  6. Take a bath (not a shower)                                                F. 39,000+ gallons


Where is the Earth’s fresh water found?

  1. Glaciers                                                                            G. 30 percent
  2. Groundwater                                                                    H. 0.3 percent
  3. Lakes, rivers, streams                                                         I. 68.7 percent


  1. What percentage of earth’s water is fresh water?                 J. 70.9 percent
  2. What percent is salt water?                                                K. 3 percent
  3. What percentage of the Earth’s surface is water?                  L. 97 percent



How water is wasted

13. One drip per second loses how many gallons per year          M. 1460 gallons

  1. A running toilet can lose how many gallons per day              N. 3000 gallons
  2. Brushing your teeth each morning (per year)                        O. 200 gallons

Americans use approximately 100 gallons per day which adds up to 400 billion gallons of water used in the United States daily. In comparison, Europeans use about 50 gallons per day and sub-Saharan Africans use only two to five gallons of water a day.

Water is sometimes called the “universal solvent” because it can dissolve more substances than any other liquid. It is the only substance found and used naturally on Earth in three forms: liquid (lakes, rivers, ponds), solid (glaciers) and gas (water vapor)

If you drink bottled water, Reader’s Digest estimates that 25 percent of all bottled water comes from a municipal water supply; the same place tap water comes from. If you drink the recommended eight glasses of water daily and get it from bottles, you can spend up to $1400 a year while getting your water from the tap can cost as little as fifty cents per day or about $183 per year.

The next time you are eating that hamburger or grabbing out a T-shirt to put on, remember that a lot of water resources were used to make that item. Being aware of the many ways water is used may give you another perspective on the many ways we use water both directly and indirectly every day.


1. F; 2. C; 3. B. 4. A; 5..E; 6.D; 7. I; 8. G; 9. H; 10. K; 11. L; 12. J; 13. N; 14. O; 15. M 

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