By contributing writer Marci
Water is essential for life. Nothing can survive without it.
The water that we drink today is the same water that has kept living things alive since living things were created! The water that dinosaurs drank might have been the same water that rained upon the Mayans while they built their great temples, or maybe the same water Columbus sailed upon.
The point is that water is very important and we only have a finite supply. We need to take care of that supply.
The biggest threat to our water supply on earth is water pollution. Water pollution occurs when harmful substances are released into water. This can be caused by sewage, industrial waste, or agriculture.
Pollution can be intentional or accidental. Factories might knowingly dump their waste products into water supplies to get rid of it. On the other hand, rain water can carry toxic substances from roads, work sites, and gardens into water streams.
This polluted water can be harmful to the organisms in the water causing fish and water plants to die. People who drink this water can get sick and possibly die, also. That is why it is so important to both reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our water supply and to remove what pollutants do get into our water.
Nature’s Water Purification System
In our homes, we might have water filters or buy filtered water. Municipalities have water treatment facilities that clean sewer water before releasing water back into nature. These facilities and filters clean water by removing harmful substances and leaving pure water behind.
Nature has it’s own water purification system. It is called the water cycle.
Water on the earth in oceans, lakes, streams, and even plants, evaporates and forms water vapor. As the water vapor forms, it leaves minerals and pollutants behind. As the water vapor rises into the atmosphere, it cools and turns back into tiny water droplets. These droplets form clouds.
The rain that falls from these clouds is essentially pure and free from pollutants.When the rain falls to earth, it starts the whole water cycle again.
Water Cycle Experiment
You can create a small model of the water cycle and see nature’s water purification system in action.
- a large glass bowl
- 2 quarts of water
- 4 cups of dirt
- a cup or glass shorter than the sides of the bowl
- plastic wrap
- a rock or two
- the sun
Mix the water and dirt in the large bowl and stir it well. In the middle of this mess, place the cup or glass. If the cup floats, place a clean rock or other small weight in the cup.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a rock in the middle of the plastic wrap just above the bowl. Put the bowl in the sun for a few hours.
After the time has passed, you should see water droplets formed on the plastic wrap. The rock should have directed some of the condensated water into the cup.
Carefully, remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and gently remove the cup. Pour the contents of the cup or glass into a glass or jar. Look at the water. Does it look like the dirty water from the bowl?
The water in the bowl evaporated and left the pollutants behind. The water vapor cooled and condensed on the plastic wrap turning back into water. The clean water was collected in the cup.
That’s just how nature does it!