Only a small part is available

The image above shows pie charts representing the Earth's water supply. As can be seen in the top pie, the vast majority of the Earth's water is contained in the oceans and seas, and only 3% of the Earth's water is freshwater. Now looking at just the freshwater portion (middle pie), most of that (79%) is frozen in glaciers and ice caps at the North and South Poles, part (20%) is groundwater, and only 1% is accessible surface freshwater. From the bottom chart, of that small amount of accessible surface freshwater, 53% is in rivers and streams, and 8% in the atmosphere. So, water in freshwater lakes is about 52% of the 1% accessible water, of the 3% of the total which is freshwater, or about 0.015% of the total water in the Earth.


Credit: Earth Forum, Houston Museum of Natural Science

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