Humans Put Water to Work
Top: It takes 2,400 liters (634 gallons) of water to produce one hamburger! Bottom: Dams can supply water and generate power. But they also damage habitats.

You've probably had a drink of water or washed your hands today. But people use water for so many other purposes, like cleaning stuff, transportation, and generating hydroelectric power. Just as nothing can live without water, not much can be made without it, from cotton candy to cotton T-shirts.

Because water is so useful, most people live along coastlines, rivers, and lakes. Where fresh water is limited, people have used many technologies—like wells, dams, and canals—to store and move it.

Sometimes these technologies damage habitats. Other species have to compete with humans for water. This may help explain why so many creatures that live in fresh water are endangered.

We need to be smarter and more careful about how we use water in order to make sure that there's enough for all life on Earth.

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