Wallagoot Bioblitz Click to enlarge image
Image: Greg McDonald
© Australian Museum
Habitat for Australian Hydrobiids
A typical habitat for Australian Hydrobiids, the largest group of freshwater molluscs Image: -
© Australian Museum

Due to its special qualities, water is an important resource and is used in many different ways.

All living things need water to survive. Humans can’t survive more than five to seven days without fresh water.

Water is important for the environment. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals and nutrients with it

Polluted water

If people pollute water or take too much fresh water from rivers or lakes, it can affect the animals and plants that rely on the water for their survival.

Polluted water is a health hazard. Access to clean water is important for health. Many people around the world do not have access to clean water supplies. Although water is a renewable resource (which means we can keep reusing it), it becomes difficult and expensive to reuse if it gets polluted.

Pollution can greatly affect freshwater environments because they are quite small compared to oceans. Some types of pollution found in freshwater bodies are:

  • poisons such as acids, chemicals and metals from mines that act directly on plants, animals and their food source
  • rubbish that does not break down, clogs the waterways and reduces the water quality
  • bacteria from wastewater (from flushing toilets, washing clothes or showering) that can harm our health