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Uploaded:2018-04-19
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There's so much water in the ocean, but why can't we drink it? Jessi and Squeaks talk about the difference between ocean water and the water you drink at home,

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SOURCES:


https://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-seawater.html
http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/water.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-dont-we-get-our-drinking-water-from-the-ocean/
[ INTRO ].

Squeaks and I were just reading about the drought that happened not too long ago in. California, in the United States.

In a drought, people start running low on fresh water to drink, usually because it didn’t rain enough. Then, Squeaks had a great question. If you look at a map of the US, you can see that California is right next to the Pacific.

Ocean. And there’s soooo much water in the ocean! So Squeaks wanted to know: why can’t we just drink the ocean?

Well, the main problem is that the water in the ocean isn’t at all the same as the water that comes out of your faucet at home, or from a drinking fountain. Because ocean water has a lot of salt in it. The salt in the ocean is pretty much the same kind of salt that we put on our popcorn when we have movie night at the Fort!

But ocean water is super salty. It has way more salt than our popcorn does. And that’s why we can’t drink it!

Our bodies need just the right amount of both water and salt. To stay healthy, we need lots of water, and not too much salt. Your body has lots of different parts to make sure that it keeps the right balance of salt and water—all of the time!

The most important body parts for this job are your two kidneys. They’re right here in your body — in your lower back. The main thing your kidneys do is to make urine, otherwise known as pee.

If you have too much salt in your body, your kidneys move some of it into your urine, and then you just pee it out! That’s part of why you might feel thirsty after having lots of salt, like when you eat a big bucket of popcorn. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you should drink more water so it can make more urine to help you get rid of the salt.

Afterwards, you have less salt in your body, and the balance between water and salt inside you goes back to normal. So, when we’re having some salty popcorn, the salt is no problem! Our kidneys get rid of it for us.

Drinking salty ocean water would be a problem though. There’s a limit to how much salt your kidneys can put into your urine. There’s so much salt in ocean water that you wouldn’t be able to get rid of it all properly.

That means there would be too much salt in your body, and drinking more of the ocean water wouldn’t help — it would make the problem even worse! So even though drinking the ocean sounds like it might be a great way to get more water to drink, we can’t. We need the fresh, non-salty water that comes from places like lakes.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should worry if you’re at the beach and you accidentally swallow a mouthful of water when you’re playing in the waves. But you definitely don’t want to drink a glassful. You might be wondering, why don’t we just find a way to get /rid/ of salt in the ocean water so we can drink it?

And that’s also a great question! We do have some ways to take the salt out of ocean water. It’s just very hard to do.

Bigbuildings with machines inside them, called water treatment plants, help some people in the world get the water they need to drink by getting rid of the salt in ocean water and turning it into fresh water. But these plants take a lot of time and money to build and keep running, so there aren’t very many of them. It’s too expensive.

Scientists are trying to find better ways to get salt out of the water that don’t cost as much money, though. So hopefully someday we’ll be able to use a lot more of the ocean’s water for drinking! Until then, we can all do our part to help save the water people can drink by not wasting it.

Even doing little things like turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth can help! Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort! [ OUTRO ].