Why Water Is Important to Life

Updated on September 24, 2019
watergeek profile image

Susette has a lifelong interest and practice with good physical and mental health, including the environment that sustains us all.


We know how important water is to human life and also, because of agriculture, how important it is to plant life. But what about the earth in general? How important is water to the ecological balance of the earth? What role does it play and what would happen if we were to lose it or it didn't exist?

There are already parts of the world where we can see how life would change, if there were no water. We can also see it somewhat from satellite photos of Mars, the moon, and other "dead" space bodies. And we can extrapolate from the properties of water, itself, and what we know of its effect on life.

Water is a constant reminder that life repeats. It's the only element that has a visible cycle.

Earth Without Water

Imagine earth without water. The soil, with no water in it and nothing growing on it, would be lifeless, dead, collapsed into dust, sand, clay or rock. In California's Central Valley where agriculture predominates and pulls water from the ground, this process is already beginning to happen. The earth used to be like a sponge, but where the groundwater has been sucked almost dry, like the Central Valley, the earth has collapsed and hardened. This is the process we call "subsidence."

Earth Would Look Like This:

Desiccated earth devoid of water. Taken in 2007 near Edwards AFB in California's Mojave Desert.
Desiccated earth devoid of water. Taken in 2007 near Edwards AFB in California's Mojave Desert. | Source

Now imagine the air without water. Clouds provide a buffer from the heating power of the sun. Without them it would pour down with no mercy. Dry air would suck out whatever moisture it could find, wherever it could find it, and the noses and soft tissues of any being that lived would shrivel. There would be no sweet scents, since moisture is what conveys smells.

The composition of the air would change too. All the methane currently stored in ice, bogs, and the ocean, would be released, thereby increasing the heating effect of the sun. The dust in the air would be blown hither and yon, with nothing to wash it down. Temperatures would swing from extreme to extreme, getting hotter as time went on.

The ground, because it would be rock, sand, or dry earth would have nothing in or on it to blunt the heat. The sun, pouring down without mitigation, would beat on the earth and heat it up. Any carbon-based thing would burn up during the day. At night it would freeze.

There would be nothing to soften the effect of volcanoes or to put out fires. There would be no cushioning effect against earthquakes. Any rubbing of tectonic plates against each other would be magnified far beyond what it is now - the trembling would create massive rock slides and crumbling both at the site and in remote areas affected. The surface of the earth would burn and grind itself into dust. Am I exaggerating? Most likely not. The article below talks about earthquakes and the softening effect of water underground.

The Hydrologic Cycle

Water is a life giver - even a life creator. It lies at the basis of our understanding of how life works. It also lies at the basis of how we understand our own personal lives. Of the four (or five) basic building blocks of life, water is the only one with a visible cycle, which we call the hydrologic cycle. Fire has no cycle that we can see, neither do earth or air. And we don't understand spirit (the ether) enough to know if it does or not. Water is a constant reminder that life repeats.

The hydrologic cycle works as follows: From it's most usable state, water evaporates and joins the air as water vapor. When the air cools, the vapor condenses and creates clouds, which help block heat from the sun. Colonies of the ice-nucleating bacterium, P. syringae, blown into the clouds by wind, help them to precipitate and fall as rain, snow, or hail. Much of the precipitation is stored on land as groundwater and lakes, snow and ice. From there water flows to the sea, where it joins the "primordial soup" again as ocean, ready to start the cycle anew.

Earth's Hydrologic Cycle
Earth's Hydrologic Cycle | Source

Here are many of the roles that water provides, both for the earth and for humans—that help produce the abundance of life we see around us every day. Without even one of these our lives would be far different.

Water Stabilizes Temperature

Water helps keep the temperature of the earth even—cooling it when it heats up and warming it when it cools down. When the temperature drops low enough, water freezes, releasing its own heat and warming the frigid air. When the temperature rises high enough, water evaporates, taking some of the heat with it and cooling the hot air. It also cools the heat of volcanoes and wildfires, via moisture released from burning vegetation, which forms clouds that cool the air and then release rain. And water in the ground cools the surface of the earth during the day and warms it at night.

Without water the air and earth would vacillate between extreme hot and extreme cold every day, everywhere, with a gradual increase in temperature as time goes on. Part of the problem with global warming could be that we are using up too much land water and throwing rain away into the sea.

Water Cushions & Softens

Just as water in a waterbed has a cushioning effect with any movement, so it also has when buried in the earth. This cushioning is good protection during an earthquake, proven in seismic studies, when the groundwater slows down seismic waves and dampens their effects.

Water also softens the soil, making it easier for rain to percolate through to refill the aquifer—the earth's underground storage space. When stored groundwater is sucked up and not replaced, the soil gradually condenses and becomes hard. Then water slides off the top, instead of being absorbed, and the earth loses its storage place and its shock protector.

Where the earth is receptive, rainwater sinks down through it to be stored in the aquifer.
Where the earth is receptive, rainwater sinks down through it to be stored in the aquifer. | Source

The softening effect of water is also evident in the way it prepares seeds to grow. Many seeds have hard covers that keep them from growing until water is present. Water softens the seed cover enough for the little shoots to break out, then the soft soil, mixed with organic matter, provides a perfect medium for the shoots to grow into full-fledged plants.

Without water most seeds would be too hard to grow, and the ground would be too hard or sandy to absorb and hold rain. Without water storage, droughts would kill, and earthquakes would be severe.

Water Enables Transportation

Throughout the earth and the bodies of living things, water is used to transport both nutrients and wastes. On land, water transports nutrients and rich soils from the mountains to lower altitudes on the way to the sea. In the ocean, water currents disperse nutrients throughout the world.

Water transports boats of all sizes filled with people, mail, and physical goods. Taken in the West Indies, 1985.
Water transports boats of all sizes filled with people, mail, and physical goods. Taken in the West Indies, 1985. | Source

Humans use waterways to transport goods via boats and barges. Water in plant sap and blood transports nutrients and wastes to and from cells. In the human and animal brain water transports electrical charges, which allow us to think clearly.

Without water there would be no dispersal of nutrients, electrical messages, or mass transit of goods and services that help life prosper.

Water Cleans and Breaks Down Wastes

Rain cleans whatever it passes through (air, the earth's surface, soil), which is why everything smells fresh after a rain. It carries down dirt, debris, minerals, and toxins, washing all into the sea. Once in the ocean, algae and other microbes break the debris down (except plastic) into basic food components that can be used to support life. The ocean thereby becomes a primordial soup, filled with nutrients of all kinds. From the ocean life was born.

Water also plays a cleansing role in our own bodies, as it passes through the cells of our body and transports wastes to the kidneys. The kidneys send some of the water back into our blood vessels, and the rest carries toxins to our bladder, where it collects until there's enough to let go.

Without water the earth and our bodies would be unable to break down wastes.

Water Enables Reproduction

Water is a key component of birth—the reproductive cycle of all animals mimicking the life-spawning ocean. In mammals, sperm are carried by water to impregnate the egg. Once impregnated, all nutrients in a female's body that a baby will need are carried by water (amniotic fluid) to the womb, before leftovers are distributed to the mother. Babies are born with a gush of water and are immediately fed with water that is nutrient rich. Birds produce eggs that are mostly water mixed with nutrients for the growing life inside.

Without water there would be no reproduction, hence continuation of life as we know it.

Babies of mammals grow inside a bubble filled with nutritious water called the amniotic sac. The water cushions them and helps propel them out of the womb at birth.
Babies of mammals grow inside a bubble filled with nutritious water called the amniotic sac. The water cushions them and helps propel them out of the womb at birth. | Source

Water Provides a Home

In addition to being the soup from which life emerged, the ocean and other water bodies act as home for more life than what lives on land. Mammals, fish, birds, insects, trees, plants, algae, krill, and many other forms of life either live directly in water or are wholly dependent upon it for survival. This includes the tiny iceworms, copepods, and diatoms that inhabit trillions of minuscule tunnels in icebergs and their undersides, providing food for whales and fish that migrate to the poles to eat.

Without water life would lose its primary food source.

Krill are tiny organisms that grow on the surface of the sea in plankton. Whales and ocean fish of all kinds depend on krill as a basic component of their diet.
Krill are tiny organisms that grow on the surface of the sea in plankton. Whales and ocean fish of all kinds depend on krill as a basic component of their diet. | Source

Water Helps Make Things

Water and carbon dioxide are the two key components of plant photosynthesis, which is how plants make their food. Bees use water to make honey, flowers use water to make nectar, trees use water to make pitch, spiders and snakes use water to make venom, and termites mix saliva with mud to make their homes.

Humans use water to make paint, dyes, inks, all kinds of drinks, and we bottle it straight. We use it for paper, fabrics, food processing, chemical compounds, and the manufacture of hundreds of other products essential to modern living.

Without water, plants and many insects and arthropods could not survive, nor would humans have developed the foods and industries we have.

Caring About Water

To humans, as creators of our own lives, water is our servant. We use it to grow crops and livestock, to cleanse and keep ourselves healthy, to stimulate ideas for products, and to transport those products. We use its cycles to remind us that our own lives also work in cycles.

But if we abuse water, like masters have a tendency to do with servants, if we don't care for it and preserve it, we will end up destroying ourselves. We need the rain forests, the swamplands, the open rivers and lakes, the estuaries, icebergs, snow tops—water in all its natural forms we need. And so does the rest of life.

Recent research has shown that tropical jungles create their own rain. We need them to stay alive, so we can thrive.
Recent research has shown that tropical jungles create their own rain. We need them to stay alive, so we can thrive. | Source

If, instead of commanding it, we could conceive of ourselves as a partner or an intelligent component of water's own rain and storage cycle, it might encourage us to be more respectful of what water can do and more careful of the way we utilize it.

With water, we thrive. Without water, there is no life. We must learn to value, conserve, and take care of the water we have.

Questions & Answers

  • I need to start a project on the importance of water. Where should I start?

    Start by reading the articles referenced in other answers I've given. Then do some brainstorming. Get a paper and pen and write in the center "importance of water." Circle it. Now close your eyes and breathe deeply for a second to get centered.

    What does that phrase remind you of? Draw lines out from your center circle and write single words or short phrases that come up when you think of the term "importance of water." You might write at the end of one line, "drinking." At the end of another, "keeping plants alive" and so on.

    If drinking reminds you of other things, like health or blood flow or something else, draw a circle around "drinking" and add more lines out from it, putting the new words at the end of each line.

    Then go back to the very center again and do the same with the next word that "importance of water" reminds you of. You'll end up with something that looks like a big spider web.

    Now, look at the entire web. Do you like the way it's organized? The web helps you organize your paper. You can use it for an outline that flows naturally from the way you think. Each main word can be the title of a section, and all the words are radiating out from it can be the information that goes into that section.

  • I need to write an essay on the essence of water, sanitation, and hygiene to human life. What are some practical examples?

    Children in third world countries who are skinny and dehydrated, often with flies hovering around their eyes, are good examples of kids without access to water. You see photos of them in the news all the time. Also look up what's happening to the folks living in Flint, Michigan, who've been dealing with lead in their water for several years. There was an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease there recently, for which government officials are now being sued. Try this article, for starters: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dr...

  • I want to start a project on treating sewage water. I need powerful and trustworthy websites to search through. Can you help me?

    Let's see what I can find . . . here's a site from West Africa that has great information on sewage treatment that is easy to understand.


    North Dakota is a state in the US that has a lot of farms and rural homes. Here is a reliable source of information for home sewage treatment systems by ND State University.


    YouTube is always a good resource. Here's a fun video you could use from Australia, if your project is an online one.


    Here's a video for small, on-site sewage treatment.


    And, of course, there's always Wikipedia.


    Hope this helps.

  • I have to write a paragraph on what is the importance of water on earth. Where should I start?

    Try imagining rivers as the lifeblood of the earth. How do they feed its plants, animals, and humans?

  • What should I say in a paragraph that explains why water is important to the Earth?

    This article you just read has several parts to it. One of the first parts talks about the effect that water has on the earth, and what the Earth would be like without it. All you have to do is summarize what you read here in one paragraph. As you summarize, you may think of a few other examples. If you do, add them, so your paragraph is original. If you're not sure about one of the examples you thought of, do a little search and see what you find. Then add that bit to your paragraph. Be sure to include links to this article and the other one (if you find one you like).


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    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      3 months ago from Pasadena CA

      You should find the answer in this article about how water affects the human body. Throughout the article it talks about what water does for the cells. You can do a [control-F] find on the word "cell" to help you locate specific information. https://hubpages.com/education/The-Healthy-Human-W...

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      I have to write the importance of water molecules in cell

      Can you guide me?

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      6 months ago from Pasadena CA

      @manpreet—Thank you for reading. If you have a question, please use the Q&A inbox above. There may be others who want to know the same thing, and they won't find the answer in the comments section, but they will in the Q&A section. Thank you.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I have to write a story on the topic " story of water"

      what do I write?

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      10 months ago from Pasadena CA

      Thanks, Ekisa, and good luck with your studies!

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Thanks iam a student doing environmental health big up I have liked the page.

    • profile image

      salih mussa 

      14 months ago

      es of mammals grow inside a bubble filled with nutritious

      water called the amniotic sac.water have been many people who have drink and washed so agricultural products.Water is a life giver - even a life creator. It lies at the basis of

      our understanding of how life works

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Hooo good information

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      16 months ago from Pasadena CA

      Hi Hejumacla––There's a question and answer section just above these comments where you can have your question answered. Please key in your question there. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Hi everyone,

      I'm a student proposing my topic on groundwater potential map.I want to know more why groundwater is important and what techniques i may require to start with?

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      16 months ago from Pasadena CA

      Thanks nextprotips, I'll check it out. And in return you might like this article I wrote about the body's many uses of water: https://hubpages.com/education/The-Healthy-Human-W...

    • nextprotips profile image


      16 months ago from New York

      Great article man. Water is the most important element in our life. We can't live a single day without it.

      Recently i have written a blog post which is relevant to your topic . it's about The warning signs that your body is lacking water . You may like this article.

      Here is the article link : https://nextprotips.com/12-warning-signs-that-your...

      And keep writing good articles for us. Thank you

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      18 months ago from Pasadena CA

      True, wassup. I lived in Lancaster CA in the Mojave Desert for six years as a teenager, then another 12 years in later life. There are some beautiful things about living in a desert, but most of those require at least a little water . . . like roadrunners and jackrabbits, Joshua trees and manzanita bushes, and the few farms that grew deep-root crops. Now I live where there is enough water to have tall trees and green neighborhoods. We still get coyotes, which I love, and I do miss the roadrunners, but this place is preferable to the desert. On the other hand, to live in a wasteland????

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      huh, imagine living in a desert

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      21 months ago from Pasadena CA

      You're welcome!

    • profile image

      haider prince 

      21 months ago

      it was very helpfull and in detail.it helped me complete my presentation thanks

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      thanks i can complete my presentation

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      so good....totally have learned how important and amazing water is.

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      22 months ago from Pasadena CA

      @Mr. Happy––Yes, I have heard that water has memory, but don't know much more than that. I should look it up. Yes, and I have lived in a desert and it is the way you describe it. Thanks for reading, Mr. Happy, and commenting in such an interesting way!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      22 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Imagine earth without water." - That's a really ugly sight: bare rocks everywhere, sand, stone, all hard perhaps minus the sand and dust found in some spots. I think my lips are starting to crack just writing about it. And I think I see some grass in that photo You have. Without water, those would not even be there.

      "Fire has no cycle that we can see, neither do earth or air. And we don't understand spirit (the ether) enough to know if it does or not. Water is a constant reminder that life repeats." - This is a fascinating observation. Very, very interesting - I will look into this and I might be back.

      "We're only just getting the hang of the recycling portion." - Sadly, yes lol

      "Without water the air and earth would vacillate between extreme hot and extreme cold every day" - I've never been in a desert but I suppose that is why they say that in deserts it is very cold at night and very hot during the day.

      "Bees use water to make honey" - Haha! I love honey but I didn;t know this. I actually stopped reading and had to look into it. Very interesting, it seems that they indeed do use water to make honey. Thanks for sharing that bit.

      "Without water, plants and many insects and arthropods could not survive, nor would humans have developed the foods and industries we have." - "Many"? Would it not be fair to say that there would be no living Being, without water? Like, nothing/nobody.

      So, You got an amazing article here. Thank You so much for putting it together. I love Water! That's why I came to read this. Have You heard that water has memory? Just curious.

      Alrighty, You have a good one and thanks again for your writing. Cheers!

    • profile image


      23 months ago


    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Good info really useful . Atleast now onwards people should know the value of water

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      2 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Hi Dinaya––I have answered your question already with one of the questions asked above. Plus the whole article is about why water is important to life. What I suggest now is that you learn proper punctuation. Your comment is what we call a run-on sentence, where words follow words and you can't tell where one thought begins and where it ends. Learn how to capitalize letters and use punctuation (periods, commas) and you will improve your writing skills tremendously.

    • profile image

      Dinaya Madhurya 

      2 years ago

      I learn I lot about water it's really good and awesome I wish you could answer all my questions right now please tell me how to write why is water important to life I am in grade 7

    • profile image

      Actual Gaming 

      2 years ago


    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      2 years ago from Pasadena CA

      When they first started doing it they didn't know they were. When they realized it, it wasn't a big deal, because the ocean was so vast that they figured their pollution would just blend in. Eventually everyone's pollution started accumulating and disturbing ocean life. Then they all had to find (what felt like) viable excuses. A few people stopped. The rest thought one of two things: Why should I when all these big businesses are doing much more than I am? On the big business end it was, "We don't have the money to make the adjustments we need to." Then the government got involved, due to pressure from those who acknowledged the danger, and they started fining the big companies, which then helped them save money by filtering their wastes before discarding. Actually, I've written another hub about this very topic. Here's the link: https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Water-Pollutio...

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      why do people even pollute the ocean?

    • profile image

      Gerald Munashe Dube 

      2 years ago

      this is the best hub. i also cant imagine life without water because water is life. thanks to the creator who made it to be abudant.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      real good information about water helped me learn alot

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      2 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Yes. Leonardo da Vinci said, "The driving force of all life is water." And David Bowie said, "I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir." (lol)

      The more we appreciate water and treat it well, the more we'll have access to in perfect balance.

    • profile image

      Yassin Hassan 

      2 years ago

      God's great sincerity, as he said in his book "Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing"

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I love this article . It is full of information.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I love this article it's full of information thank you very much

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      4 years ago from Pasadena CA

      That's true . . . for ALL of life too, not just us.

    • aosproducts profile image

      AOS Products 

      4 years ago from new Delhi India

      Without water you can't think about of Life, its fully combination of Hydrogen and Oxegen that most useful for lives.

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 

      4 years ago from United Countries of the World

      H2O is really important. Because of H2O we, humans, are able to discuss about its importance :-). There would be none to discuss about it if there was no water.

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      6 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Thanks Jen and biochemi - When I first started writing hubs about water, people were wondering how long it would last. But the more I wrote, the more I found to write about. As you recognize, the water is so essential to life and healing, that there pretty much isn't any without it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well biochemically water is the life. If you look at the glucose molecule u can see there is six OH and H groups ( which represents water molecule) are attached to six carbon atoms in one is to one ratio. Simply we can say glucose or even fructose and all the sugars in similar way are the hydrates of carbon and therefore called as carbohydrates. In the same way lipids (in fact fatty acids) and amino acids also contain OH and H groups attached to carbon. All these indicate the importance of water molecules in life. Life cannot exist without water.

    • Jen Card profile image

      Jen Card 

      7 years ago

      Watergeek, Thank you for this educational hub. I knew some of what you mentioned but was enlightened by so much more! Thank you. Water is an element of life that will in time show us who is the boss! There is an amazing book by Masaru Emoto "The True Power of Water" you might enjoy. It tells how there is a life force within water itself. It also shares the abilities that water possess and when we connect with water as a "partner" (as you mentioned) the healing is amazing! Thank you again for this informative article. I look forward to viewing more of your work. ~Jen

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      7 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I've been wondering, also, how much our lack of regard for water on this planet has contributed to climate change (both warming and cooling). It's something I'm exploring now with a book I'm writing. More info in hub form coming up!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I could not imagine life without water. Heck, there wouldn't be life without water! Excellent hub! Well researched and laid out.

    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 

      7 years ago from New York

      I like how you contrasted with a void of water to give us a meaning of the importance of water.

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      7 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Thanks Lilly - I have started writing about the role of water in our bodies too - maybe that will wake people up. Thanks, also, for your dedication to this great work.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      7 years ago from Central Oregon

      This is a topic dear to my heart, I have dedicated my life to human rights, and environmental activism. As you are aware the two are often entertwined. I agree not many are willing to change their thinking to care for it. Most people do not want to know the hard realities. Write on!

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      Susette Horspool 

      7 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I hope so, Lilly. There are a lot of people who know how important water is, I think, but not many who are willing to do something to care for it. Thanks to both of you for reading and commenting.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from Central Oregon

      Thank you for writing this Hub. Water is life, and perhaps awareness will cause earthlings to take better care.

    • whonunuwho profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Good hub...imagine the atmosphere of Mars and you would have a pretty good idea of what the planet would be like without water. Water is the essence of all earthly life forms and without it, we ,and all other living thing would perish.


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