Water is one of the most important natural resources as it is an essential prerequisite for origin, existence and evolution of life. It is the only inorganic liquid that occurs naturally on earth. Water covers more than 70% of earth’s surface and only 1 to 3% of it is fresh or potable water on which entire biodiversity depends for their growth, development and morphogenesis.
In our great epic Sri Ramcharitmanas, the importance of water is highlighted as ‘
“क्षिति जल पावक गगन समीरा।
पंच रचित अति अधम शरीरा।।”
Ayurveda also considers water (जल: अमृत) as one of Panch Mahabhutas (Panchmahabhutas constitutes human body). Importance of water is highlighted in Yajurveda also.
Water has been on the planet earth long before any form of life evolved but since life developed in water, it is the universal medium of all organisms. Water as a regulatory fluid supplies hydrogen and oxygen to the body of all organisms. Being a universal solvent it is a medium to carry minerals containing all the essential elements. All physico- chemical properties of life are regulated by water.
Water is also the external medium of all aquatic life forms. Reversible physical states of water conserves and regulate biodiversity like cooling temperature by condensation and evaporation in terrestrial habitat, making highly insulating house of snow in polar regions and forming thermo insulating layer above the aquatic habitat. Water surfaces are poor reflectors of solar radiation and therefore serve as a good sink for solar energy. Water is unparallel among other forms of fluid because its thermal capacity or specific heat capacity is the highest which protects organisms against freezing temperature outside and hot air waves. Biogeochemical cycles require water in many steps which helps in flow of energy and matter.
Water guided the pattern of civilization because in stress environment it fulfilled the minimum requirement like drinking, agriculture, transportation, thermal insulation and other purposes. Indiscriminate and unmanageable use of either natural resource directly or indirectly influences the favorable composition of water resources qualitatively and quantitatively. As water performs a candid motherhood for not only the origin of life but saves every forms of life required directly or indirectly in past, at present and hopefully for the future. The global concern towards the supply of potable water makes surveillance of drinking water, an obligatory exercise. The continuous and vigilant public health assessment and overview of the safely and acceptability of potable water is essential. Regular monitoring and exhaustive analysis of different physico-chemical parameters are essential to know the health of water.
On a global scale, total quantity of water available is about 1600 million cubic km. The hydrological cycle moves enormous quantities of water about the globe. However, much of the world’s water has little potential for human use because 97.5% of all water on earth is saline water. Out of remaining 2.5% fresh water, most of which lies deep and frozen in Antarctica and Greenland, only about 0.26% flows in rivers, lakes and in the soils and shallow aquifers which can be readily used.
By the year 2025 global per capita availability of freshwater is projected to drop to 5,100 cubic meters as another 2 billion people join the world’s population. Even then, this amount would be enough to meet human needs if it must be distributed equally among the world’s population. The goal of sustainable development may be achieved by managing, protecting and conserving water resources for future generation. The need of hours is to start saving each and every drop of water. Let our motto be "Save water, Save Life and Save World".
Dept of Biotechnology
A. N. College, Patna