b'Chapter 1 A Water Primer Our Beautiful Blue PlanetF rom outer space, the earth appears blue. Over three-quarters of its surface area is covered with water. Water is a miraculous substance. It is the universal solvent; just about every element can mix ordissolve in it. Over most of the globe, water exists in its liquid state. In constant motion and dissolving everything in its path, water is the lifeblood of our dynamic planet. This vast cycling and recycling process is called the water cycle. The Water Cycle: What Goes Around Comes Around!The water cycle is the journey water takes as it circulates from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere and back again. Energy from the sun evaporates water from the oceans, rivers and lakes.Plants also lose water by transpiration.Water vapor eventually condenses, forming tiny droplets in clouds.When the clouds meet cooler air, precipitation (rain, sleet or snow) is triggered and water returns to the sea and land, and the process begins again.Water falling on the land either infi ltrates into the soil, fl ows downhill as runoffinto the wetlands, ponds and streams or evaporates back into the air.Once underground, water is either absorbed by plants and trees at the surface, or soaks deep enough to reach and recharge the underground sediments that are saturated with water, the aquifer.The surface of the groundwater in the aquifer is the water table.Water terminology glossaryon page 12Page 11bluepages.indd 11 8/26/2009 1:49:22 PM'