You may want to be careful about leaving the faucet running as you brush your teeth, because there might not be quite as much of that wet stuff around as you thought. An interesting graphic from the US Geological Survey provides a surprising view of just how much water there is on our little blue planet.
The image above shows the volume of all water on earth. The largest of the three blue spheres represents all water, fresh, salt and otherwise. It is 860 miles in diameter and stretches from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Topeka, Kansas. As the USGS says, “The sphere includes all the water in the oceans, ice caps, lakes, and rivers, as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant.”
The much smaller blue sphere, about the width of Kentucky, represents the total volume of fresh water on the planet. That’s the stuff humans and other animals need to live. Looks pretty tiny, no? The third sphere, which hovers over Atltanta, Georgia, is even smaller. It represents the volume of water in lakes and rivers, where most people get their water every day. Pretty dinky when you talking 6 billion people.
The image is a good reminder of just how delicate life is here on planet Earth, and how careful we need to be with the limited resources of our natural world. Let’s hope we don’t run out of the wet stuff any time soon.