What is the elixir of human life

Water: elixir of life

Why is water so important?

Water is the raw material of life: every organism consists of a certain percentage of water, and it needs water to survive.

Life even comes from water - more precisely, from sea water. In the prehistoric oceans, small organic molecules formed those complex compounds that eventually gave rise to living organisms. From the first primitive forms of life, a great diversity of species with many impressive representatives developed; however, for the first 3 billion years, life was tied exclusively to water. And in a certain sense, life has never moved away from water, because all vital processes in the cells take place in an aqueous solution.

What percentage is our body made up of water?

Man is a "water being" because his body consists largely of water. The water content varies with age: while 70–80% of the body weight of a newborn is water, the proportion falls over the course of life - in people older than 85 it is only 45–50 %.

The blood, most of which circulates in the vessels, consists of over 50% water. Most of the water is inside the body's cells in the so-called intracellular space, the rest, around a third, in the extracellular space, i.e. outside the cells.

Why does our body need water?

The human metabolism only works when there is enough water available to the body.

Water regulates the cardiovascular function and digestion, is a solvent for salts and minerals, and a means of transport for nutrients and degradation products. It is also of central importance for the heat regulation of the human body. Under normal circumstances, about 2–3 liters of water are lost in the course of a day through sweating, breathing and excretions. This loss has to be compensated for through food and, above all, through drinks, because the body reacts to even the smallest changes in the water balance with serious disturbances.

When are we thirsty?

With a loss of fluid of about 0.5%, a feeling of thirst arises, which becomes increasingly stronger as the water content of the body decreases. At 2% the physical and mental performance is already reduced, at a decrease of 5% the body temperature rises. A desire for water of 10% of the body weight causes severe symptoms such as blood thickening, circulatory failure, confusion. A deficit of more than 20% inevitably leads to death from kidney and circulatory failure: a person can survive for about four weeks without food, depending on their fat reserves, but only a few days without water.

How do plants use water?

As for humans and animals, water is also indispensable for plants. It is also the main component of the fluid in the cells, which in turn build the tissues and organs of plants.

The water also has a key role in photosynthesis, is a solvent for the essential nutrients and takes over the transport of substances. The uptake usually takes place via the roots from the ground. The water with the minerals and salts dissolved in it is absorbed by the xylem, the conductive tissue, and primarily transported to the leaves by the capillary forces. The driving force is, so to speak, the sun: through the stomata of the leaves and the action of sunlight, a certain amount of water is lost through evaporation - there is a suction of perspiration with a suction effect on the xylem. Like blotting paper soaked in liquid, water rises continuously from the underground parts of the plant to the top. As a result of this transpiration process, a large part of the water that has seeped into the ground is returned to the atmosphere.

How do plants survive extreme drought?

For example, cacti have only very sparsely formed leaves - the spines that keep water loss through transpiration as low as possible - or thick stems, the tissue of which stores water and can release these supplies again when needed. Some desert plants have long roots to tap deep underground water sources, while others have roots just below the surface to absorb surface moisture. Still other plants survive as seeds, which sometimes lie dormant in the ground for years until seeping rain causes them to germinate and bloom within a very short time.

Why do animals survive in the desert?

Because animals have also developed a variety of methods with whose help long dry periods can be survived. The majority of desert animals are nocturnal as it is colder at night and there is less water loss.

Camels, for example, have adapted extremely well to the lack of water. You can lose up to 40% of your body fluid undamaged and compensate for this loss of water by drinking once. Water excretions are minimized as much as possible, and excreta are extremely concentrated. In addition, fat stores from their humps can be converted into water through cellular processes.

Why do fish need water?

Without water, the fish would no longer get any "air" and would suffocate.

Fish can absorb up to 90% of the oxygen dissolved in water with their gills. The water flows into the mouth, passes the gill chambers and the gills and exits again through the gill flaps. The flow is regulated by opening and closing the mouth. For many deep sea fish (e.g. sharks, mackerels) it is sufficient to swim with their mouths open, but they have to keep moving.

Is drinking water becoming scarce?

From the point of view of undisturbed nature, everything is fine, because there is an abundance of water on earth.

Fresh water, which is crucial for life on earth, only accounts for less than 3% of global water reserves, but the available resources would be more than sufficient. However, due to the naturally uneven distribution, the wasteful use of humans and pollution, there are more and more bottlenecks in the water supply worldwide. One solution: water must be understood by international politics as a commodity worth protecting.

Is water just a luxury good today?

All over the world, the precious water is handled carelessly: Saudi Arabia, for example, uses 210% of its own water resources. The oil-rich country can afford to run golf courses and swimming pools in the middle of the desert - at least financially. Mass tourism has led to water emergencies on the holiday islands of Mallorca in Spain and Koh Samui in Thailand. For the tourists, water has to be regularly transported from the mainland. After all, they use up to five times more water than they normally need at home.

What is the precious liquid used for?

Worldwide, industrial companies require 20% of the water, private consumers use 10%. At 70%, by far the largest proportion of water is used in agriculture. Half of it is still lost, as it were, unused, because z. For example, farmers simply flood fields in order to water them instead of supplying each individual plant with the necessary amount of water. In order to use global water reserves in a sustainable manner, they must be better managed. Otherwise, according to a United Nations report, humanity would be threatened in the long term.

Did you know that …

the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus in the 6th century BC. BC realized that the existence of all things is due to water?

the independent water court has met every Thursday in Valencia since 960? It is the oldest permanent court on earth. Eight men represent the various areas with the irrigation canals built by the Moors to supply water to the Huerta of Valencia, a fruit and vegetable growing area. This is where the water is distributed and if there is a dispute about irrigation, justice is done. Today the tribunal is also a popular tourist attraction.

Did you know that …

humanity today uses 45 times as much water as it did 300 years ago?

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have a reliable supply of clean water?

Approximately 25 million people probably die every year due to water pollution, especially in developing countries?

International Water Day is celebrated every year on March 22nd on the initiative of the UN? This is to point out the vital importance of the resource.

the years 2005 to 2014 have been declared the decade of »water - source of life«?