The water we use each day in homes and businesses is fresh water, meaning it doesn’t come from an ocean. Only 3 percent of Earth’s water is fresh. The world’s fresh water comes from many different sources – some are nearby, and others on the other side of the world.
How Is Water Distributed?
Of the Earth’s water, 97 percent is saline while 3 percent is fresh water—meaning it has low concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids. Nearly 69 percent is held in glaciers and ice caps. Another 30 percent is groundwater that is held in underground soil and rock crevices, while the remaining one percent is surface water and other sources. Of that water considered to be surface water, 87 percent exists in lakes, 11 percent in swamps, and 2 percent in rivers.
Fresh Water Around the World
- The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90 percent of the fresh water that exists on the Earth’s surface. The ice sheet covers approximately 8.7 million square miles. The Greenland ice sheet also contains large volumes of fresh water. These two ice sheets account for more than 99 percent of the fresh water ice on the planet.
- The American Great Lakes account for 21 percent of the Earth’s surface fresh water.
- Lake Baikal in Russia is considered the deepest, oldest freshwater lake in the world. It holds about 20 percent of the Earth’s unfrozen surface fresh water, the largest volume in the world.
- Lake Victoria, which spreads across the African countries of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, is the second largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.
- Africa’s Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest freshwater lake, and holds the second largest volume of fresh water. It’s the longest lake, and extends across Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Vital Groundwater in Indiana
Indiana American Water customers spend their days on top of our most vital water source – groundwater, which supplies approximately 60 percent of the treated water delivered to homes and businesses for drinking, bathing, chores, and more. We are continually investing in the infrastructure improvements necessary to keep your homes and businesses supplied with quality water service. Over the last two years alone, Indiana American Water proactively invested more than $130 million in its water and wastewater infrastructure around the state.