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Water Trivia

cascading water

Water is life... and a lot of other things, too! This compilation of water-related quotes and facts illustrates some of the myriad ways water flows through the human experience.


Water Quotes

How could drops of water know themselves to be a river?  Yet the river flows on.
 —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.  —Mark Twain

True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes. —Edward F. Halifax

Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water.  Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it.  So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful.  Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.  —Lao Tzu

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium.  There is no life without water.
 —Albert Szent-Gyorgyl

In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.  —Rachel Carson

It is wise to bring some water when one goes out to look for water.  —Arab Proverb

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive features.  It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.  —Henry David Thoreau

Water flows uphill towards money.  —Anonymous saying in the American West

Filthy water cannot be washed.  —African Proverb

Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.
 —Blaise Pascal

Water is the driving force of all nature.  —Leonardo da Vinci

Any river is really the summation of the whole valley. To think of it as nothing but water is to ignore the greater part.  —Hal Borland, This Hill, This Valley

What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt -- it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.  —Hal Boyle

The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.  —Chinese Philosopher

We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields, and we ask that they teach us and show us the way.  —Chinook Blessing Litany

In a country where nature has been so lavish and where we have been so spendthrift of indigenous beauty, to set aside a few rivers in their natural state should be considered an obligation.  —Senator Frank Church from Idaho

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
 —Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.  —Leonardo da Vinci

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
 —Loren Eiseley, Four Quartets, The Immense Journey

There’s a river somewhere that flows through the lives of everyone.  —Roberta Flack

Rivers run through our history and folklore, and link us as a people.  They nourish and refresh us and provide a home for dazzling varieties of fish and wildlife and trees and plants of every sort. We are a nation rich in rivers.  
 —Charles Kuralt, On the Road with Charles Kuralt

You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.  —Heraclitus, 540 BC - 480 BC, On the Universe

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water.  Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.
 —Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher, 6th century B.C.

Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.
 —Luna Leopold, Hydrologist

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together.
 —Barry Lopez, Author

A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us. —Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

Rivers know this:  There is no hurry, we shall get there someday.  
 —A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.  —A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

We let a river shower its banks with a spirit that invades the people living there, and we protect that river, knowing that without its blessings the people have no source of soul.  —Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

To the lost man, to the pioneer penetrating a new country, to the naturalist who wishes to see the wild land at its wildest, the advice is always the same -- follow a river. The river is the original forest highway. It is nature’s own Wilderness Road.  —Edwin Way Teale

Who hears the rippling of rivers will not utterly despair of anything.
 —Henry David Thoreau
Engineering is the art of organizing and directing men and controlling the forces and materials of nature for the benefit of the human race.  —Henry G. Stott

Engineering is a great profession.   There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper.  Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy.  Then it brings homes to men or women.  Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life.  This is the engineer’s high privilege.  —Herbert Hoover

The ideal engineer is a composite … he is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems.  —N. W. Dougherty

Engineering is an activity other than purely manual and physical work which brings about the utilization of the materials and laws of nature for the good of humanity.  
 —R. E. Hellmund

Engineering is the professional art of applying science to the optimum conversion of natural resources to the benefit of man.  —Ralph J. Smith

Water Facts

Water covers nearly three-fourths of the earth’s surface

Most of the earth’s surface water is permanently frozen or salty

Over 90% of the world’s supply of fresh water is located in Antarctica

The earth’s total allotment of water has a volume of about 344 million cubic miles. Of this: 315 million cubic miles (93%) is sea water!  9 million cubic miles (2.5%) is in aquifers deep below the earth’s surface. 7 million cubic miles (2%) is frozen in polar ice caps.  53,000 cubic miles of water pass through the planet’s lakes and streams.  4,000 cubic miles of water is atmospheric moisture.  3,400 cubic miles of water are locked within the bodies of living things

If all the world’s water were fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon

The overall amount of water on our planet has remained the same for two billion years

Currently, 600,000 miles of our rivers lie behind an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 dams

The United States has 3,500,000 miles of rivers. The 600,000 miles of rivers lying behind dams amounts to fully 17% of our river mileage

The Missouri River is about 2,540 miles long, making it the longest river in North America. The Nile is the longest river in the world at 4,132 miles as it travels northward from its remote headwaters in Burundi to the Mediterranean Sea

The United States consumes water at twice the rate of other industrialized nations.  
1.2 Billion -- Number of people worldwide who do not have access to clean water.  
6.8 Billion -- Gallons of water Americans flush down their toilets every day

Each day almost 10,000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water

Most of the world’s people must walk at least 3 hours to fetch water

By 2025, 52 countries—with two-thirds of the world’s population—will likely have water shortages

The average single-family home uses 80 gallons of water per person each day in the winter and 120 gallons in the summer. Showering, bathing and using the toilet account for about two-thirds of the average family’s water usage

Eighty percent of the fresh water we use in the U.S. is for irrigating crops and generating thermoelectric-power

More than 87% of the water consumed in Utah is used for agriculture and irrigation
A corn field of one acre gives off 4,000 gallons of water per day in evaporation
It takes about 6 gallons of water to grow a single serving of lettuce.  More than 2,600 gallons is required to produce a single serving of steak
About 6,800 gallons of water is required to grow a day’s food for a family of four
About 39,090 gallons of water is needed to make an automobile, tires included
If all the water in the Great Lakes was spread evenly across the continental U.S., the ground would be covered with almost 10 feet of water
One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds