Written By Karl VonBerg.

Posted on April 7th, 2021.

Tagged with NYC Watershed.

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Who else might have drunk the water you drank today? Where in the world did it came from? South Africa? Hong Kong?

Is the water you drank today the same water your grandma drank?  How about the same water a young girl from the Seneca Nation drank 300 years ago?  How about the same water a dinosaur drank?  Who else drank it?


Have you ever thought about the journey that water takes before it ends up as streamflow, like in this headwater stream?

How old is the water we have today? In general, scientists feel the majority of the water we have on earth has been around a really long time. There is information about water being made* or unmade** but not in major amounts compared to the existing water.


Cannonsville Reservoir in the Catskills, which supplies NYC with drinking water

Have you ever thought of where the water you drink comes from?  I don’t mean what stream, river, lake, reservoir or well, but where in the world did it come from to get into your water supply?

Think “water cycle” to find some answers.


The Water Cycle

Let’s check out some water off the coast of northwest Africa, where the hurricanes that move into the southeast U.S. start:

  • A weather mass picks up some evaporated water from the ocean off the coast of Morocco in northwest Africa.
  • And carries it into the Gulf of Mexico where it slams into Mississippi as a hurricane.
  • And then the remnants of that hurricane blow northeast into Kentucky.
  • Where it rains down on a woods.
  • A coyote drinks that water out of a stream.
  • The coyote urinates it into the woods.
  • A tree’s roots take it up.
  • It evaporates into the sky.
  • That weather mass blows northeast to the Catskill Mountains of NYS.
  • Where, that water from Morocco, ends up raining down.
  • And that water flows into the NYC water supply and down to NYC.
  • Where a thirsty girl gets a drink of water that came from the ocean off the coast of Morocco.

And where did that water come from before it was in the ocean off the coast of Morocco?  Well, that is for you to discover.  My point is, the water you drink can come from thousands of miles away and the source of that water can be amazing. 

What if the dirty, stinky water from a city in a third world country with no sewage plant gets cycled back into the sky and ends up falling near where you live and becomes the water you drink? 

And after you drink it where does it go?

It becomes part of the water cycle and who knows whose glass of water it will end up in.

And the cycle goes on and on.

Just something to think about when you drink a glass of water. 


*Some scientists have done experiments that create water under very high temperatures and pressures similar to what exist in the upper mantel of the earth. Some tests reveal 3 times the amount of water in our oceans exists in this upper mantel.

**The basic elements of water (hydrogen and oxygen) can be broken apart and some hydrogen may escape into space. Some scientists believe we have lost some water via this mechanism called methanogenesis.

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