This entry describes the unequal distribution of freshwater resources on Earth and how it impacts populations’ access to water, their economic development, and global geopolitics. Such countries include Israel, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Saline water in oceans, seas and saline groundwater make up about 97% of all the water on Earth. Marcia S. Matz, M.A. That leaves only about 1 percent of Earth’s fresh water as readily available for human use. Anica Miller-Rushing, M.Ed. Approximately 69 percent of Earth’s freshwater is locked away in the form of ice in glaciers and polar ice caps, and another 30 percent of Earth’s fresh water is under the surface in the form of groundwater. Only 2.5–2.75% is fresh water, including 1.75–2% frozen in glaciers, ice and snow, 0.5–0.75% as fresh groundwater and soil moisture, and less than 0.01% of it as surface water in lakes, swamps and rivers. It is unexpected and somewhat inconceivable that less than three percent of Earth's water is fresh water. Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D. Educational Psychology and Technology Tara G. Treiber, B.A. In photographs taken from space, we can see that our planet has more water than land. The earth’s freshwater includes water in streams, rivers, ponds, bogs, lakes, icebergs, glaciers, ice sheets, and groundwater among others. Scroll through our resources above and click to download the book or individual chapters. Beth A. Covitt, Ph.D. Environmental Education and Conservation Psychology The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90 percent of the fresh water that exists on the Earth’s surface. Of the fresh water available on earth, only 31% is accessible for use. How Much Of The Surface Of The Earth Is Covered By Glaciers? Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. The question as to whether there is a freshwater crisis or not is contextual because social, environmental, political, and economic forces dictate water availability in different areas. This situation leaves approximately 0.007% of freshwater which is easily accessible for daily use. Beth A. Covitt, University of Montana Only about 0.3 percent of our fresh water is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers, and swamps. How can we be more responsible with this crucial resource and its ecosystems? Fresh Water Around the World. Availability of global freshwater remains an active debate topic. Over 68 percent of the fresh water on Earth is found in icecaps and glaciers, and just over 30 percent is found in ground water. That leaves only about 1 percent of Earth’s fresh water as readily available for human use. 2/3 of that 3% is locked in ice caps. Jenny D. Ingber Even then, just 1 percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. Only about three percent of Earth’s water is freshwater. Over 68 percent of the fresh water on Earth is found in icecaps and glaciers, and just over 30 percent is found in ground water. Distribution of Earth's Water. As the population grows, it not only puts pressure on freshwater systems but also other natural features that maintain supply and circulation of water. Code of Ethics. Some people have always had plenty of freshwater for whatever use, whereas, in some areas, water remains a scarce commodity. So only 4% of earth is freshwater. Only 3% is freshwater. Natural Sciences: Ecology Question: What percentage of the Earth’s water is freshwater? An adequate supply of freshwater in the future depends on conservation measures in place.
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