Water is the main component of life. Water helps life to flourish. It is the lack of water in other planets that do not allow life to survive. Clean Water can safely be said to be the most valuable resource.
There are various sources from which we get water. Uses of water are innumerable. We can broadly classify applications of water as direct use and indirect use.
Some of the most common uses of water for direct purposes are:
Drinking and household use: About 60% of our body is made up of water. We need water to drink and to perform all bodily functions. Portable water or drinking water should be clear, colourless, and odourless.
It should be devoid of dissolved gases and mineral salts, germs and bacteria, and suspended impurities. Other than drinking water, water uses include bathing, cleaning, washing – clothes, utensils, mopping, etc.
Uses of water in industry and commerce:
There are very few industries and which do not require water to run its factories and units. However, some industries are water-intensive. These includes
Uses of water in Garment and textile industries
Garment and textile industries are one of the most water-intensive sectors. Water is primarily used for the dyeing process and wet processing. To manufacture a pair of jeans, around 7600 liters of water are required.
Uses of water in Meat production industries
Meat processing and packaging industries use almost a third of the water footprint of total agricultural production. Water is essential for cleaning and packaging.
Uses of water in the Beverage industry
This industry produces juices, soda, beers, and other drinks. Water is required in the drinks itself and the additives added in these drinks since these additives (sugar, coffee, fruit, barley are farm products these itself use a considerable amount of water to produce).
60 – 1241 liters of water are used to produce 2 liters of soda.
Seventy-five liters of water are used to make a pint of beer.
One hundred and forty liters of water are used to make products used in a single coffee cup.
Uses of water in Automotive manufacturing Industry
The automobile industry takes a whopping 147631 liters of water to produce an average domestic vehicle. Primary water is used in:
• Surface treatment and coating
• Paint spray booth
• Air conditioning systems
Many other manufacturing industries use water during the production process to create their products or cooling their equipment used in manufacturing. Uses of water in industries are mostly fabricating, washing, processing, cooling, or transporting the goods.
Water is also used in smelting facilities petroleum refineries industries manufacturing chemical products. A large amount of water is used in food industries and paper industries.
Uses of water in power plants
Electricity generating plants use water to generate electricity. Electricity is generated from power generators that need cooling. These types of power plants are called thermoelectric or “thermal” plants. These plants heat water to produce steam for electric generation.
Water is also essential to hydroelectric power plants, which use dams and other reservoirs to capture the kinetic energy from water.
Uses of water in Fuel Extraction and Production:
Water is required to drill and mining natural gas, oil, and other minerals.
Fuel Refining and Processing
Oil, natural gas, and uranium, required for refining before they can be used as fuels. Substantial amounts of water are used for the process.
Thermoelectric power stations emit mercury, particulates, sulfur, CO2(Carbon dioxide), and other contaminants. Significant amounts of water are required to operate pollution control technologies.
Uses of water in Agriculture
Agriculture alone consumes water more than any industry. Sources of water for agriculture are rain and irrigation. At many places, crops are grown in tandem with rainfall. It stands true for developing nations.
However, some of the methods of watering are wasteful. A lot of water is wasted while irrigating fields using.
• Canal irrigation – canals carry water to the fields from the source, and in doing so, more water than required are used. This is because it is not possible to control the quantity of water flow to the field.
• Sprinkler irrigation is a modern method of irrigating fields but wastes water a lot because more water evaporates than it reaches the crops.
• Flood irrigation- flood irrigation is a wasteful method as areas are flooded. Excess water drains off top fertile soil making the land less fertile for further cultivation.
Drip irrigation can be used to reduce the wastage of water. Drip irrigation uses pipes and tubes to deliver water to the roots directly in a small amount. This reduces wastages of water by evaporation and drainage of excess water.
Uses of water in Aquaculture or pisciculture
Overfishing and the need to feed the growing population resulted in the necessity to grow fishes in captivity. Pisciculture involves only the rearing and culture of fishes. At the same time, aquaculture is culture and breeding of fishes and other aquatics organisms like prawn, oysters, etc. Aquaculture is essential to feed the necessary protein to growing millions.
Uses of water in Recreational Purpose
People use pools, lakes, and lagoons to swim and do various water activities like fishing, boating, and canoeing. Artificial lakes and ponds are used for sports like water volleyball, synchronised swimming, water Zumba, etc.
Scuba diving is a unique experience in places with coral reefs where marine life in their natural habitat can be seen.
A golf course may not require water for the game itself, but a considerable amount of water is needed to keep the fields lush green.
Uses of water in Ecology
Ecological use of water is small yet growing use of water. Water is used judiciously for the protection of water bodies and animals and plants dependant on it. The creation and conservation of water bodies help promote plant species’ growth and the place’s ecological balance.
Uses of water in healthcare
Water is used to sterilise equipment. Distilled water is used to prepare medicine and food for patients. Water is an essential component for various medical processes like dialysis etc.
Uses of water are innumerable and cannot be comprehensively listed and hence all efforts must be made to save water.