The Strange Truth About Water

Did you know that every single drop of water on earth has existed for billions of years? The water in the oceans, rivers, ice-caps, storm clouds, and even inside of us has been perpetually cycling through the planet since it first arrived.

According to geochemical studies, it has been said that water arrived on earth with asteroids from space. The molecules that form water were on an incredible voyage, likely for millions of years, before they reached our planet. And while water is such a familiar aspect of our world, larger bodies of water formed hundreds of millions of years after the planet took shape.

So aside from the notion that any and all drops of water we have encountered have been inside of oceans and dinosaurs – what else makes water so strange?

Breaking All the Rules

For one, water simply does not follow the ‘normal’ rules of chemistry. Given the properties of its makeup, water should exist as a gas. A water molecule is made from two very light atoms – hydrogen and oxygen. At the ambient conditions on the surface of the earth (temperature and pressure), this molecule should be a gas. For example, hydrogen sulfide is a gas even though it has twice the molecular weight of water.

Freezing and Floating

Another strange thing about water is that when it freezes, it expands. Most substances shrink when they transform from a liquid to a solid since molecules are packing more densely together. Think about what happens when you fill an ice tray with water. The next morning, ice is protruding out over the edge of the tray. On top of that, the frozen water floats. What happens when you drop any other solid into a liquid? It sinks. This phenomenon is called hydrogen bonding and occurs when polar ends with opposite charges of water molecules attract to other water molecules. The bond is not strong though and can be broken by heating the solid over 0 degrees Celsius.

Freezing Cold Hot

You might have noticed at some point or another that hot water freezes faster than cold water. This is known as the Mpemba effect. For hundreds of years, scientists and mathematicians have been trying to figure this out – but it was not until 2013 when something clicked. A research assistant at the University of Zagreb claims that convection currents in warm water cause it to cool more rapidly.

Up, Up and Away

Gravity – what goes up, must come down. Not necessarily with water though. Water molecules can float upwards against the force of gravity. This process is called capillary action.

Want to learn more about why water might just be the strangest thing in the universe? Check out this video produced by BBC.

Save Water in the New Year

Now that we’re into the New Year – are you sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions? While eating healthy, hitting the gym, and losing those holiday pounds are often high on the resolution list – it’s important to remember the importance of saving water. Did you resolve to save more water this year?

If you’re looking for helpful tips and ideas to save water, you’ve come to the right place. WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created an excellent resource to help you stay on track.


  • Take the “I’m for Water” pledge and commit to saving water throughout the year. If you’re just starting now, don’t worry! You can take the pledge any time.
  • Learn about how you can reduce water usage by first getting to know your water bill. Are you currently using too much?


  • Look into purchasing WaterSense labeled fixtures for your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and try reducing your shower time to save even more water.


  • Celebrate ‘Fix a Leak Week’ by checking pipes throughout the inside and outside of your house for leaks. Make sure no water is dripping in shower or drain pipes – if it is – be sure to remedy with pipe tape.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. Did it change?


  • Celebrate Earth Day! Lay mulch around your flowers and plants to prevent evaporation after watering.
  • Only water your lawn when needed.


  • April showers bring May flowers! If you’re concerned about keeping your grass and landscaping lush, be sure to check your watering system to ensure no water is being wasted.
  • Do you have an irrigation system? Look for an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program to help maximize efficiency.


  • Look for rebates should you choose to install WaterSense labeled solutions in your home.


  • With high summer temperatures, avoid watering your lawn and plants in the middle of the day. This will reduce quick evaporation of water.


  • Happy World Water Week! Celebrate by committing to wash your clothes only if you have a full load.


  • Calculate how much you can save by using WaterSense labeled products in your home.
  • Thinking about adding new landscaping to your yard this fall? Research native plants that don’t require a lot of water to survive.


  • During Energy Action Month, swap out any inefficient showerheads with ones that release fewer gallons of water per minute.


  • Check your toilet for leaks.
  • Consider getting a new WaterSense labeled toilet to reduce water usage by up to 60 percent.


  • Be sure to scrape leftover food from your plate into the trash to avoid wasting water rinsing dishes off.
  • Get an early start on your resolutions and take the I’m For Water pledge again!

Are you up for the challenge this year? Making small changes each month can truly make a difference. Help save water this year and every year by committing to using and wasting less today!