©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER      Water is probably the most “taken for granted” thing that touches our lives,  even though it is one of the most important things to us.  We go to a sink and turn on a faucet and never think about the “miracle” it took to get it to us.      In ancient times, water represented the very essence of life.  In the King James version of the Bible, water is mentioned 714 times in 636 verses.  In Japan, before you can enter a Buddhist religious site, you must purify your body by rinsing your hands and the inside of your mouth with water.      In the British Isles, Iron Age inhabitants had a particular affinity to water.  Throughout the British Isles, there is evidence of artifacts being ritually thrown into bodies of water as offerings of some sort.  These water-logged discoveries are borne out by Roman accounts which confirm that the people of North-Western Europe revered bodies of water, considering them to be ‘gateways to their gods’.      The inhabitants of the Imerina region of Madagascar believed that blessings come from their ancestors.  Water is the primary symbol for a tsodrano or blessing.  Tsodrano literally means “blowing on water”.  A young person must ask a grandfather to bless him.  Water kept at the ancestral tombs is placed in a container with a coin and the elder blows the water onto the younger person saying ‘May you be rich, may you be strong, may you have seven sons and seven daughters’.  The number seven stands for good fortune.      Water was perceived as a gift from the gods because it rains from the heavens.  Holy water is said to cleanse the soul.  The water in Lourdes, France is said to be sacred because of its healing powers.      On the other side of the coin, too much water (flooding) and too little water (drought) was also caused by the gods as a punishment.  It seems that water has always been pretty powerful.      Today, with our advanced scientific knowledge, we know that water is one of the weirdest compounds known to humans.  The difference between the boiling point and freezing point of water is one of the largest ranges of any compound.  It is this span of temperature that mirrors the range of where life can exist, from bacteria to humans.  Water has a very high specific heat, which means it can absorb or lose much heat before its temperature changes.  This is important in maintaining body heat in mammals.  It also take a lot of energy before vaporization can occur.  For this reason, water evaporates slowly from ponds and lakes, where many life forms are dependant on a stable, warm environment.      Water is less dense in its solid state than in its liquid state, so that ice floats instead of sinking.  This property permits life to develop in polar and sub-polar regions where ice floats and allows life to continue living below the surface.       Water is a remarkable solvent, meaning that it can dissolve almost anything it comes into contact with including gasses such as oxygen and carbon dioxide making the water readily available for photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organisms to use.      Water also exhibits viscosity.  One can observe the effects of viscosity alongside a stream or river.  The water along the banks is nearly still, while the current in the center may be swift.  This resistance between the layers is called viscosity.  This property allows smaller fish to live near the shore, while larger fish are able to swim more efficiently in strong currents.  Viscosity is also responsible for the formation of eddies, creating turbulence that leads to good mixing of air in the water and more uniform distribution of microscopic organisms. How water provides all these properties is complex, but only emphasizes the importance of water to every organism on earth. MAHONING VALLEY WATER