The importance of water for life can be analyzed from different areas and at different biological scales. From the relevance of the water cycle in the correct balance of ecosystems, as well as its value as a source of natural resources for human beings, the precious “blue gold” plays a really important role in the development of life on Earth. Protecting, respecting, and conserving each and every one of the water sources that exist on the planet is a task that we must fulfill, in order to maintain the survival of both human beings and the rest of the living organisms that populate the Earth…
If you want to know exactly why water is important for living beings, in this article you will find all the details.
What is water
Water is the most abundant component in cells and organisms. Likewise, on planet Earth, it represents 71% of its total surface. To understand why water is so important and fundamental for the development and survival of all living organisms, it is necessary to analyze its Physico-chemical properties:
- Solvent action.
- Electric conductivity.
- Cohesion force between its molecules and adhesion.
- High surface tension.
- High specific heat.
Thanks to the structure and polarity of water (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom), water molecules have a lot of affinity for each other and are capable of cohesion with each other, thus favoring the high surface tension of water, its high point of boiling, its heat of vaporization and the specific. In turn, the surface tension makes it possible for the water to move by capillarity in an upward direction, from the ground, towards the plants, subsequently becoming part of the chemical composition of different organisms.
Why is water important for living things – summary
As we know, water is essential for life. As we have seen in the previous section, the physical-chemical properties of water are responsible for the importance of water for living beings, and for the planet as a whole, necessary to guarantee its biological balance and survival. More specifically, we could say that water is important for:
- The structure and function of cells.
- The growth and development of the vital functions of living beings.
- The correct balance of ecosystems, both aquatic, terrestrial and aerial.
- The health and well-being of the human being.
The importance of water in cells
About 75% to 85% of the weight of a cell is water, and many cell types depend on an aqueous or water extracellular medium. In this context, the property of water as a universal solvent is relevant for the formation of cell membranes and other associated organelles.
In addition, it highlights the fact that all cells inhabit water environments, either submerged or bathed in fluids from other living organisms, or distributed directly in the water itself (either in an ocean, lake, river, etc. ). For this reason, the role that water molecules play in the structure and functioning of cells is fundamental, being considered, together with carbon, the most important chemical element in cell development.
Importance of water for living beings and ecosystems
The importance of water for life is reflected in the need that living beings and the planet’s ecosystems have for it to exist. The presence of natural or artificial sources of water is synonymous with life, since the water that supplies animals, plants, and other living organisms comes out of them, incorporating water molecules into their physiology to grow and survive. In addition, many living beings have developed different physiological adaptations to survive in situations of severe droughts and prolonged water stress, such as latent periods and the formation of spores and other resistance structures that allow some invertebrate animals, plant seeds, fungi, and bacteria.
Regarding ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are closely related to the water cycle and the presence of water resources, since both the soil and water bodies depend on it for their ecological balance.
Importance of water for humans
Human beings have had a close relationship with water since the beginning of our existence, and like our own biological evolution, this relationship with water has evolved throughout history and civilizations. At present, the integral management of the water that we make use of must be responsible, equitable, fair, and sustainable management since “blue gold” is increasingly scarce and difficult to access.
Human beings need water to meet our vital food and hygiene needs, but we also need it to obtain basic resources, such as fishing, gallery or riverbank forests and irrigated crops, as well as in industrial and of the urbanized territory. It also highlights the importance of water for humans, taking into account the evacuation and treatment of waste.
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