Blue Planet

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – February 1, 2012 – Comment

My job often calls for me to consider potential improvements in water treatment methods, or to examine techniques for delivering water in a more energy-efficient way, or even to explore new water recycling technologies.  But sometimes, I can’t help but step back and simply wonder at the majesty of water itself.

Water defines our planet.  From the moment that man traveled outside the confines of this globe, he has marveled at the blue sphere that is his home. Essential to life itself, the flow of water has shaped the earth.  This flow has carved mountains, dug canyons, defined continents and coastlines, shaped landscapes, and revealed scenic wonders.

The flow of water can be immensely beneficial – bringing life and prosperity to parched regions.  But it can be equally destructive – as tsunami, hurricane, typhoon, and flood bring disaster in their wake.

The man-made flow of water is equally spectacular.  From the dawn of humanity, capturing and harnessing the power of water has defined and driven civilizations.  The provision of safe, potable water and sanitation are among the great milestones of civilization. Water is power – not only hydroelectric, but also as the engine of commerce, agriculture, and prosperity.

Water is special.  Its hydrogen bonding results in fluid viscosity, even as temperature affects the nature and characteristics of water.  Water is beautiful.  Flow, pressure, friction, treatment, rainfall and hydrology yield their mysteries through the fundamental science of water.

As wonderful as water is – the amazing part is how little we (at least in North America) value it.  At just a penny a gallon, clean, treated, safe, reliable, refreshing drinking water is a tremendous bargain.  What would our world be without water?  Barren.  Lifeless.

So tip back a tall one – of tap water – and toast with me the wonder of water!