National Geographic Online
About Conservation

Image: Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Photograph by Bill Ross/CORBIS
Fresh Water

Most of us take clean, fresh water for granted. We use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, showering, washing the car, irrigating farmlands, manufacturing—all kinds of things. Astronauts have called Earth the “blue planet” because so much of its surface—more than 70 percent—is covered by water. So why not take water for granted? Here’s the rub: Only about 3 percent of Earth’s water is fresh, and most of this water is frozen in icecaps and glaciers. As the world’s population grows, so does our demand for fresh water. Here’s another rub: Some areas of the world have plenty of fresh water, and other areas have little. The more we learn about water, the better off we’ll be to meet the challenge of ensuring an adequate supply of fresh water to all Earth’s people. So click below for activities that help us learn about fresh water and ways to conserve this precious resource.

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