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Importance of Water

Historically, humans have settled near sources of water – it is a vital resource necessary for survival, contributing to human health, irrigation, and transportation.  Consider the locations where the Egyptians (Nile River), Mesopotamian civilizations (Tigris and Euphrates Rivers), and the Shang Dynasty (Huang He River) settled.

Exploration and the transportation of ideas, people, and goods have also been facilitated by water.  This natural resource has also served as a source of power and conflict, especially prior to the Industrial Revolution and the invention of steam power.

Humans can live without food for longer than they can without water.  Consider the significant role of water amidst natural disasters, for example in Haiti during the recent earthquake and its aftermath.

Energy-Water Relationship

Large amounts of water are needed to produce energy and significant energy is used to treat and transport water to consumers. The following illustration demonstrates this interdependency.