science myths

    Published: February 11, 2015

    This One Science Fact Will Blow Your Mind

    How much water is on the earth? Water covers two thirds of the planet—approximately 326 million trillion gallons worth. The mind simply can’t wrap its head around that number. It’s too big to grasp.

    The video below by Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame puts this enormous number into perspective. He tells a story about Buckminster Fuller, an inventor and architect with a keen awareness of our planet’s fragility.


    When Fuller gave talks, he displayed a metal sphere, 30 inches in diameter. The sphere represented the earth. He then asked the audience to estimate how much space all the water on the planet would take up on the sphere.

    After he got a number of guesses, Fuller blew a breath of air onto the sphere. Condensation from his breath collected on the metal. That condensation represents the entirety of the planet’s water, included the deepest of our oceans. Suddenly, 326 million trillion gallons doesn’t look like much—just a thin layer of moisture clinging to a rock hurtling through space.

    David Gallo, oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, uses a slightly different analogy. Imagine if the world was the size of a basketball. Every drop of water on earth would fit into a Ping-Pong ball. Now consider that 97% of the water in that Ping-Pong ball is saltwater, and therefore undrinkable. 70% of the remaining 3% of freshwater is trapped in the icecaps, and what little remains—a mere 1% of the earth’s total—is readily accessible for human use.

    Water isn’t available in abundance—it’s a fragile, limited resource we must protect. It’s this thought that drives Pelican Water in our commitment to provide the most efficient, environmentally sustainable water filtration and water softening systems possible. Because when it comes to water, we can’t afford to lose a drop.