Not as Wet as It Looks
Photograph by Peter Essick
As the South Nahanni River sweeps through northwestern Canada, it reminds us that fresh water aboundsfor those who have access to it. Canada has less than one percent of the worlds population but a tenth of Earths surface fresh water. Most people live without such bounty. Though the planet has 333 million cubic miles (1.39 million cubic kilometers) of water, 97.5 percent of it is too salty to use. Of the water that remains, nearly 70 percent is tied up in glaciers and ice sheets, and 30 percent is groundwater, much of it beyond reach in deep aquifers. Whats left for the planets 6.2 billion people? Less than .01 percent of Earths water.