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Our ecosystem—how do humans, plants and animals use water?

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

sprinkling water on plants in garden

All living things need water to live. We drink water every day. Fish live in water. Plants need to be watered. What happens when you forget to drink water? What would happen to fish in an aquarium if you took out all of the water? What would happen if you forgot to water your plants?

adult's body made up of water

Humans are dependent on water for all of our needs, such as washing, cleaning, cooking and growing our food. An adult’s body weight is made up of 60% water. Water allows humans to eliminate wastes, regulate body temperature and transport nutrients, vitamins and minerals throughout the body.

Much of our fresh water is used outdoors for watering lawns, flower beds and vegetable gardens, as well as washing cars and filling swimming pools. Water is also used by humans for industries to generate electricity, manufacture goods, and transport people and products. Because we are dependent on water for all of our needs, it is critical that we maintain fresh, clean water.

painted turtles on shore

Many plants and animals live in water or must be near water to survive. For example, fish must live in water to survive because they get oxygen from the water. Beavers live in the water for part of the time but must breathe the air outside of the water to survive. Water lilies must have their roots in the mud at the bottom of the pond, but also need sunlight to survive. Some plants, like algae, live in the water all of the time.

water droplet on end of plant

Every living thing needs water to survive. We can easily cut down our water use to make sure there is always enough to go around. And we can be mindful when using water to ensure we aren’t damaging the quality of our water.

Small actions = big impacts. Visit our website to learn what you can do to protect our precious freshwater resources.

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