Water Quotations


We need a global approach to this from all sides. We need to educate people, we need the scientists to create new technologies, we need the engineers to create the networks, we need every human being to be aware of how precious water is and save it. Everybody has to be involved in a very firm and assertive way.
-- Isabel Allende

 Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict.

-- Kofi Annan

As I travel around the world, people think the only place where there is potential conflict [over] water is the Middle East, but they are completely wrong. We have the problem all over the world.

-- Kofi Annan

"Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learned how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it."

-- William Ashworth

"Thousands have lived without love, not one without water."

-- W.H. Auden

The destruction of aquatic ecosystem health, and the increasing water scarcity, are in my opinion the most pressing environmental problems facing human kind.

-- Maude Barlow

Water is being depleted many, many times faster than nature can replenish it.

-- Maude Barlow

"Kids can help the environment by riding a bike. Always wear a helmet of course and stay in the bike lane. Take public transportation with your parents and your friends and see if you like that. That’s a good way to get around. Start a home garden, be energy efficient, turn off the lights and the water. All of those things are very good for the environment and good for your pocketbook. "

~ Ed Begley, Jr.

"Creating a world that is truly fit for children does not imply simply the absence of war. It means having the confidence that our children would not die of measles or malaria. It means having access to clean water and proper sanitation. It means having primary schools nearby that educate children, free of charge. It means changing the world with children, ensuring their right to participate, and that their views are heard and considered. It means building a world fit for children, where every child can grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity."

-- Carol Bellamy

"I have little need to remind you that water has become one of our major national concerns."

-- Ezra Taft Benson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1955

"If we lived in a desert and our lives depended on a water supply that came out of a steel tube, we would inevitably watch that tube and talk about it understandingly. No citizen would need to be lectured about his duty toward its care and spurred to help if it were in danger. Teachers of civics in such a community might develop a sense of public responsibility, not only by describing the remote beginnings of the commonwealth, but also how that tube got built, how long it would last, how vital the intake might be if the rainfall on the forested mountains nearby ever changed in seasonal habit ot amount. It would be a most unimaginative person, or a stupid one, who could not see the vital relation between the mountains, the forests, that tube and himself."

-- Isaiah Bowman

When we talk of flood control, we usually think of dams and deeper river channels, to impound the waters or hurry their run-off. Yet neither is the ultimate solution, simply because floods are caused by the flow of water downhill. If the hills are wooded, that flow is checked. If there is a swamp at the foot of the hills, the swamp sponges up most of the excess water, restores some of it to the underground water supply and feeds the remainder slowly into the streams. Strip the hills, drain the boglands, and you create flood conditions inevitably. Yet that is what we have been doing for years.

-- Hal Borland

The quality of water and the quality of life in all its infinite forms are critical parts of the overall, ongoing health of this planet of ours, not just here in the Amazon, but everywhere... The hardest part of any big project is to begin. We have begun. We are underway. We have a passion. We want to make a difference.

-- Sir Peter Blake (1948-2001)

We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.

-- David Brower

It takes 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain. As water becomes scarce and countries are forced to divert irrigation water to cities and industry, they will import more grain. As they do so, water scarcity will be transmitted across national borders via the grain trade. Aquifer depletion is a largely invisible threat, but that does not make it any less real.

-- Lester A. Brown, Michael Renner, Brian Halweil

The number of people displaced by dams is estimated at between 40 million and 80 million, most of them in China and India. The costs of dams were on average 50% above their original estimate. Some designed to reduce flooding made it worse, and there were many unexpected environmental disadvantages, including the extinction of fish and bird species. Half the world's wetlands had been lost because of dams.

-- Paul Brown

"We can use our scientific knowledge to improve and beautify the earth, or we can use it to ...poison the air, corrupt the waters, blacken the face of the country, and harass our souls with loud and discordant noises, [or]...we can use it to mitigate or abolish all these things."

~ John Burroughs

Acknowledging the physical realities of our planet does not mean a dismal future of endless sacrifice. In fact, acknowledging these realities is the first step in dealing with them. We can meet the resource problems of the world -- water, food, minerals, farmlands, forests, overpopulation, pollution -- if we tackle them with courage and foresight.

~ Jimmy Carter

"UNICEF is helping mothers realize their dreams for the future — a future in which the basic needs for a child’s survival: food, clean water and simple health care — are guaranteed."

-- Jane Curtin

"We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this. What are we waiting for? This is the commitment we need to make to the world, now."

~ Jean-Michel Cousteau

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.

-- Jacques Cousteau

"The air, the water and the ground are free gifts to man and no one has the power to portion them out in parcels. Man must drink and breathe and walk and therefore each man has a right to his share of each."

~ James Fennimore Cooper

"I have never believed we had to choose between either a clean and safe environment or a growing economy. Protecting the health and safety of all Americans doesn’t have to come at the expense of our economy’s bottom line. And creating thriving companies and new jobs doesn’t have to come at the expense of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, or the natural landscape in which we live. We can, and indeed must, have both."

~ Bill Clinton

"In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference."

-- Rachel Carson

Every human should have the idea of taking care of the environment, of nature, of water. So using too much or wasting water should have some kind of feeling or sense of concern. Some sort of responsibility and with that, a sense of discipline.

--The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

To the naked eye, our oceans are beautiful. But scientists tell us that all of the world's fisheries will collapse by 2048, unless we change how we manage them. Help protect our oceans so the next generation can also enjoy their bounty.

-- Ted Danson

Inanimate objects are sometimes parties to litigation. A ship has legal personality…The corporation…is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases…So it should be as respects valleys, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes – fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.

-- Justice William O. Douglas

"Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floor, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights."

-- Paul Farmer

* "When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water"

-- Benjamin Franklin

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.

~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

We must treat water as if it were the most precious thing in the world, the most valuable natural resource. Be economical with water! Don't waste it! We still have time to do something about this problem before it is too late.

-- Mikhail Gorbachev

The shortage of fresh water is the major ecological problem of this moment.

-- Mikhail Gorbachev

Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.

-- Mikhail Gorbachev

"Globalization was supposed to break down barriers between continents and bring all peoples together. But what kind of globalization do we have with over one billion people on the planet not having safe water to drink?"

-- Mikhail Gorbachev

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.”

-- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

"So many people that I've seen can't get clean water. It's a crime."

~ Jay-Z

"Well I'm not just gon' go and do rap songs. I wanna touch, and maybe help, and see what I can do in these areas.' As I start looking around me, looking at things in ways that I can become helpful, starting at the first thing, water. Something as simple as water."

~ Jay-Z

By 2015, according to estimates from the United Nations and the United States government, at least 40 percent of the world's population, or about three billion people, will live in countries where it is difficult or impossible to get enough water to satisfy basic needs. "The signs of unsustainability are widespread and spreading," said Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, Mass. "If we're to have any hope of satisfying the food and water needs of the world's people in the years ahead, we will need a fundamental shift in how we use and manage water."

-- Douglas Jehl

Clean water is a necessity that we can no longer take for granted. Each year more people die of water related diseases than any other cause of death on this planet. With a higher rate of suffering and mortality than diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, or war; or any two combined for that matter! An entire economy is growing around water. Those without money are suffering the most and risk severe illness from contaminated sources

-- Jewel

Solutions and technologies exist to provide clean, affordable drinking water anywhere in the world. These solutions will save lives, reduce financial burdens, foster peace, and relieve millions of people from worrying about their next drink of water.

-- Jewel

"No one has the right to use America's rivers and America's Waterways, that belong to all the people. as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one State, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people."

~ Lyndon B. Johnson

But we have not used our waters well. Our major rivers are defiled by noxious debris. Pollutants from cities and industries kill the fish in our streams. Many waterways are covered with oil slicks and contain growths of algae that destroy productive life and make the water unfit for recreation. "Polluted Water—No Swimming" has become a familiar sign on too many beaches and rivers. A lake that has served many generations of men now can be destroyed by man in less than one generation.

-- Lyndon B. Johnson

A nation that fails to plan intelligently for the development and protection of its precious waters will be condemned to wither because of its shortsightedness. The hard lessons of history are clear, written on the deserted sands and ruins of once proud civilizations.

-- Lyndon B. Johnson

"If we could ever competitively, at a cheap rate, get fresh water from saltwater, ..(this) would be in the long-range interests of humanity which could really dwarf any other scientific accomplishments."

-- John F. Kennedy

"We in Government have begun to recognize the critical work which must be done at all levels—local, State and Federal—in ending the pollution of our waters."

~ Robert F. Kennedy

"...if we want to meet the obligations of our civilization and our culture which are to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment as the communities that our parents gave us, we've got to start by protecting that infrastructure; the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the landscapes that enrich us."

~ Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"What we are fighting for is not just the fishes and the birds. We protect nature not for nature's sake but for our own sake because it's the infrastructure of our communities, and if we want to meet the obligations of our civilization and our culture which are to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment as the communities that our parents gave us, we've got to start by protecting that infrastructure; the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the landscapes that enrich us. We're not protecting nature for nature's sake. We're protecting it because it enriches us, yes, it enriches our economy and we ignore that at our peril. But it is also enriching us aesthetically, recreationally, culturally, historically and spiritually. Human beings have other appetites besides money. And if we don't feed them, we're not going to grow up…we're not going to become the kind of beings that our creator intended us to become."

~ Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Industrial agriculture now accounts for over half of America's water pollution.

~ Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. . . The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land."

~ Aldo Leopold

Multinational companies now run water systems for 7 per cent of the world's population, and analysts say that figure could grow to 17 per cent by 2015. Private water management is estimated to be a $200 billion business, and the World Bank, which has encouraged governments to sell off their utilities to reduce public debt, projects it could be worth $1 trillion by 2021. The potential for profits is staggering: in May 2000 Fortune magazine predicted that water is about to become 'one of the world's great business opportunities', and that 'it promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th'.

-- John Louma


"Civilization has been a permanent dialogue between human beings and water."

-- Paolo Lugari

"Water is finite and we have not done a great job of managing it in the past."

~ Sandra Postel

"For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports."

~ Sandra Postel

"What may be possible for a minority of humankind, albeit at great cost, simply cannot work for the humankind. Our kind of progress depends on lacerating the Earth,on gouging out its riches, on stripping is life-sustaining skin of soil and forest, on poisoning its pure air, on defecating copiously in its pure water... the single most important indicator of environmental decline is the extent to which the damage done is reversible. The most heinous ecological crime of all is for any one generation so seriously to assault the web of life that the damage done is literally irreversible for every generation that follows."

~ Jonathon Porritt

War over water would be an ultimate obscenity. And yet, unfortunately it is conceivable... Water has been a source over so many years of erosion of confidence, of tension, of human rights abuses, really, of so many in areas whose traditional water supplies have been controlled and depleted by occupational authorities. That must stop if we're going to be able to develop a climate for peace.

-- Queen Noor of Jordan

Water is the most precious, limited natural resource we have in this country...But because water belongs to no one - except the people - special interests, including government polluters, use it as their private sewers.

-- Ralph Nader, 1971

"...Good luck and Good work for the happy mountain raindrops, each one of them a high waterfall in itself, descending from the cliffs and hollows of the clouds to the cliffs and hollows of the rocks, out of the sky-thunder into the thunder of the falling rivers."

-- John Muir

"Water helped ancient man learn those first lessons about the rights of others and responsibility to a larger society.... It became part of the moral and mental legacy parents passed on to their children."

-- M. Meyer

"Rain is a blessing when it falls gently on parched fields, turning the earth green, causing the birds to sing."

-- Donald Worster

"You cannot have peace without human rights, democracy, gender equality, and clean water. Look to the root causes of war and you will find, in their reverse, the root foundations of peace."

-- Cora Weiss


Wisdom understands that in a world of ecological interconnectedness there is no such things as “away.” We don’t throw things “away,” we simply put them someplace where they defile the land, foul the water, pollute the air or change the earth’s atmosphere.

-- Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat

The trouble with water—and there is trouble with water—is that they're not making any more of it. They're not making any less, mind, but no more either. There is the same amount of water in the planet now as there was in prehistoric times. People, however, they're making more of—many more, far more than is ecologically sensible—and all those people are utterly dependent on water for their lives (humans consist mostly of water), for their livelihoods, their food, and increasingly, their industry. Humans can live for a month without food but will die in less than a week without water. Humans consume water, discard it, poison it, waste it, and restlessly change the hydrological cycles, indifferent to the consequences: too many people, too little water, water in the wrong places and in the wrong amounts.

-- Marq de Villiers


Over 1 billion people have no access to clean drinking water, and more than 2.9 billion have no access to sanitation services. The reality is that a child dies every eight seconds from drinking contaminated water, and the sanitation trend is getting sharply worse, mostly because of the worldwide drift of the rural peasantry to urban slums.

-- Marq de Villiers

I understood when I was just a child that without water, everything dies. I didn't understand until much later that no one "owns" water. It might rise on your property, but it just passes through. You can use it, and abuse it, but it is not yours to own. It is part of the global commons, not "property" but part of our life support system.

-- Marq de Villiers

Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights.

-- The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights

"Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man."

~ Stewart Udall

We used to think that energy and water would be the critical issues for the next century. Now we think water will be the critical issue.

-- Mostafa Tolba, former head of the United Nations Environment Program


A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

~ Henry David Thoreau

As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us: "With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas," or, "They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them."

~ U Thant

"Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water."

-- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine.

More than 5,500 large dams impede America's running waters, leaving less than 2 percent of the country's 3.1 million miles of rivers and streams flowing free. In the wake of these river alterations trails a record list of endangered aquatic species. Two of every three freshwater mussel species are heading for extinction, or are already there; half of all crayfish species are imperiled; more than a third of the country's freshwater fish are in trouble -- 17 of them missing outright.

-- William Stolzenburg

I have always been a big advocate of tap water—not because I think it harmless but because the idea of purchasing water extracted from some remote watershed and then hauled halfway round the world bothers me. Drinking bottled water relieves people of their concern about ecological threats to the river they live by or to the basins of groundwater they live over. It's the same kind of thinking that leads some to the complacent conclusion that if things on earth get bad enough, well, we'll just blast off to a space station somewhere else.

-- Sandra Steingraber

"The cleanup costs of polluting a river, injecting pesticides into the ground water, or putting noxious gases into the air have not been figured into the cost of the manufacturing or agribusiness that put them there in the first place. Historically, the economic incentive has been to pollute."

-- Gloria Steinem

"Water is the most basic of all resources. Civilizations grew or withered depending on its availability."

-- Dr. Nathan W. Snyder


"I have left almost to the last the magic of water, an element which owing to its changefulness of form and mood and colour and to the vast range of its effects is ever the principal source of landscape beauty, and has like music a mysterious influence over the mind."

-- Sir George Sitwell

Water is one of the most basic of all needs -- we cannot live for more than a few days without it. And yet, most people take water for granted. We waste water needlessly and don't realize that clean water is a very limited resource. More than 1 billion people around the world have no access to safe, clean drinking water, and over 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation service. Over 2 million people die each year because of unsafe water - and most of them are children!

-- Robert Alan Silverstein

Clean water is not an expenditure of Federal funds; clean water is an investment in the future of our country.

-- Bud Shuster, U.S. Representative

The wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water.

-- Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President for Environmental Affairs

We’ve poisoned the air, the water, and the land. In our passion to control nature, things have gone out of control. Progress from now on has to mean something different. We’re running out of resources and we are running out of time."

~ Robert Redford

Water, the Hub of Life.

Water is its mater and matrix, mother and medium.

 Water is the most extraordinary substance!

 Practically all its properties are anomolous, which enabled life to use it as building material for its machinery.

Life is water dancing to the tune of solids.

        -  Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1972)

 Water is the driver of Nature.

        - Leonardo da Vinci

 We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.

        - Jacques Cousteau

A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.

        -  Laura Gilpin  - From The Rio Grande, 1949

All the water that will ever be is, right now.

        - National Geographic, October 1993

If you gave me several million years, there would be nothing that did not grow in beauty if it were surrounded by water.

        - Jan Erik Vold, What All The World Knows, 1970

Water is H20, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one, but there is also a third thing that makes water and nobody knows what that is.

        - D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), Pansies, 1929

Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.

        - Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939

{Water is} the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips.

        - Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944), The Madwomen of Chaillot, 1946

When the well's dry, we know the worth of water.

        - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Poor Richard's Almanac, 1746

The crisis of our diminishing water resources is just as severe (if less obviously immediate) as any wartime crisis we have ever faced.  Our survival is just as much at stake as it was at the time of Pearl Harbor, or the Argonne, or Gettysburg, or Saratoga.

        -Jim Wright, U.S. Representative, The Coming Water Famine, 1966

High quality water is more than the dream of the conservationists, more than a political slogan; high quality water, in the right quantity at the right place at the right time, is essential to health, recreation, and economic growth. Of all our planet's activities--geological movements, the reproduction and decay of biota, and even the disruptive propensities of certain species (elephants and humans come to mind) -- no force is greater than the hydrologic cycle.

        - Richard Bangs and Christian Kallen, Rivergods, 1985

Between earth and earth's atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant; there is never a drop more, never a drop less.

    This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself.

        - Linda Hogan, "Northern Lights," Autumn 1990

Filthy water cannot be washed.

        - West African Proverb

 If you could tomorrow morning make water clean in the world, you would have done, in one fell swoop, the best thing you could have done for improving human health by improving  environmental quality.

        - William C. Clark, speech, Racine, Wisconsin, April 1988

 In every glass of water we drink, some of the water has already passed through fishes, trees, bacteria, worms in the soil, and many other organisms, including people. . . Living systems cleanse water and make it fit, among other things, for human consumption.

        - Elliot A. Norse, in R.J. Hoage, ed., Animal Extinctions, 1985

Estuaries are a happy land, rich in the continent itself, stirred by the forces of nature like the soup of a French chef; the home of myriad forms of life from bacteria and protozoans to grasses and mammals; the nursery, resting place, and refuge of countless things.

        - Stanely A. Cain, speech, 1966

Many estuaries produce more harvestable human food per acre than the best midwestern  farmland.

        - Stanely A. Cain, speech, 1966, testimony, U.S. House of Representatives,  Merchant Marine and Fisheries subcomittee, March 1967

{The estuary} is the point where man, the sea-his immemorial ally and adversary-and the  land meet and challenge each other.

        - U.S. Department of the Interior, National Estuarine Pollution Study, November 1969

Life originated in the sea, and about eighty percent of it is still there.

        - Isaac Aasimov, Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988

The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on earth, and perhaps his last chance to produce himself a rational species.

        - John L. Cullney, "Wilderness Conservation," September-October 1990

    The marsh, to him who enters it in a receptive mood, holds, besides mosquitoes and stagnation, melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.

        - Charles William Beebe (1877-1962), Log of the Sun, 1906

Wetlands have a poor public image. . . Yet they are among the earth's greatest natural assets. . . mankind's waterlogged wealth.

        - Edward Maltby, Waterlogged Wealth, 1986

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

        -  Lao-Tzu (600 B.C.)

Water, water, everywhere,

    And all the boards did shrink;

    Water, water, everywhere,

    Nor any drop to drink.

        -  Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798

For we needs must die, and are as WATER spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person

        -  II Samuel 14.14

That which is now a horse, even with a thought

 The rack dislimms, and makes it indistinct

 As water is in water

        -  Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 12, 1, 2

    By the shores of Gitchee Gumee,

    By the shining Big-Sea-Water,

    Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,

    Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis,

    Dark behind it rose the forest,

    Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,

    Rose the firs with cones upon them;

    Bright before it beat the water,

    Beat the clear and sunny water,

    Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

        -  Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, 1855

A little water clears us of this deed

        -  Skakespeare, Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2, 1.68

Gutta cavat lapidem (Dripping water hollows out a stone)

        -  Ovid, Epistulae Ex Ponto, Book 3, no. 10, 1. 5

Here lies one whose name was writ in WATER

        -  John Keats, Epitaph for himself, in Richard Monkton Milnes Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats, 1848, vol. 2

The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. Siddhartha looked into the river and saw many pictures in the flowing water. The river's voice was sorrowful. It sang with yearning and sadness, flowing towardsits goal..  Siddhartha...was now listening intently...to this song of a thousand voices...then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om -- perfection... From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny.

        -  Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, 1951

When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come."

        -  Leonardo da Vinci

  To trace the history of a river or a raindrop…is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall,  feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again."

        -  Gretel Ehrlich  - From Islands, The Universe, Home, 1991


    "THE River," corrected the Rat.

    "And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"

    "By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world,  and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together..."

        -  Kenneth Grahme - From The Wind in the Willows

I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water…has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river."

        - Roderick Haig-Brown

To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things.

        -  John Haines

You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.

        -  Heraclitus of Ephesus

What would the world be, once bereft of wet and wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."

        - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children's lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land."

        -  Luna Leopold

A river is the report card for its watershed.

        -  Alan Levere

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together."

        -  Barry Lopez

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops -- under the rocks are the words and some of the words are theirs.

        -  Norman Maclean - From A River Runs Through It

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined.Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into a mountain's belly, sculpted the land. Peeled back the planet's history exposing the texture of time itself.

        -  Harry Middleton

We let a river shower its banks with a spirit that invades the people living there, and we protect that river, knowing that without its blessings the people have no source  of soul.

        -  Thomas Moore

A river sings a holy song conveying the mysterious truth that we are a river, and if we are ignorant of this natural law, we are lost.

        -  From The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

Rivers are magnets for the imagination, for conscious pondering and subconscious dreams, thrills and fears. People stare into the moving water, captivated, as they are when gazing into a fire. What is it that draws and holds us? The rivers' reflections of our lives and experiences are endless. The water calls up our own ambitions of flowing with ease, of navigating the unknown. Streams represent constant rebirth. The waters flow in, forever new, yet forever the same; they complete a journey from beginning to end, and then they embark on the journey again."

        -  Tim Palmer - From Lifelines

When we save a river, we save a major part of an ecosystem, and we save ourselves as well because of our dependence--physical, economic, spiritual,--on the water and its community of life.

        -  Tim Palmer, - The Wild and Scenic Rivers of America

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet."

        -  Carl Sagan

All things are connected, like the blood that runs in your family…The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father." 1854 The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. You must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother.

        -  Chief Seattle

    I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always here; its roarshook both the earth and me.

        -  Wallace Stegner

To the lost man, to the pioneer penetrating a new country, to the naturalist who wishes to see the wild land at its wildest, the advice is always the same -- follow a river.The river is the original forest highway. It is nature's own Wilderness Road.

        -  Edwin Way Teale

I chatter, chatter as I flow to join the brimming river, for men may come and men may go, but I go on forever.

        -  Lord Tennyson- From The Brook, 1887

    Rivers must have been the guides which conducted the footsteps of the first travelers. They are the constant lure, when they flow by our doors, to distant enterprise and adventure, and, by a natural impulse, the dwellers on their banks will at length accompany their currents to the lowlands of the globe, or explore at their invitation the interior of continents.

        -  Henry David Thoreau

    It was a kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't even feel like talking loud, and it wasn't often that we laughed, only a little kind of low chuckle.

        -  Mark Twain

    When they went ashore the animals that took up a land life carried with them a part of the sea in their bodies, a heritage which they passed on to their children and which even today links each land animal with its origin in the ancient sea.Fish, amphibian, and reptile, warm-blooded bird and mammal - each of us carries in our veins a salty stream in which the elements sodium, potassium, and calcium are combinedin almost the same proportions as in sea water. This is our inheritance from the day, untold millions of years ago, when a remote ancestor, having progressed from the one-celled stage, first developed a circulatory system in which the fluid was merely the water of the sea. In the same way, our lime-hardened skeletons are a heritage from the calcium-rich ocean of Cambrian time. Even the protoplasm that streams within each cell of our bodies has the chemical structure impressed upon all living matter when the first simple creatures were brought forth in the ancient sea. And as life itself began in the sea, so each of us begins his individual life in a miniature ocean within his mother’s womb, and in the stages of his embryonic development repeats the steps by which his race evolved, from gill-breathing inhabitants of a water world to creatures able to live on land.”

        -  R. Carson - The Sea Around Us (1951)

    The quality of water and the quality of life in all its infinite forms are critical parts of the overall, ongoing health of this planet of ours, not just here in the Amazon, but everywhere... The hardest part of any big project is to begin.We have begun. We are underway. We have a passion. We want to make a difference.

        -  Sir Peter Blake (1948-2001) -last journal entry before being murdered by pirates on the Amazon River

    Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going,and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region.Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows,meditation and water are wedded forever.

        -  Herman Melville (1819-1891), Moby Dick, 1851

    Water is also one of the four elements, the most beautiful of God's creations. It is both wet and cold, heavy, and with a tendency to descend, and flows with great readiness.It is this the Holy Scripture has in view when it says, "And the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul, if it should have received the grace of the Spirit.

        -  John of Damascus (679?-749) Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

    Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it.People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.

        -  Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International quoted in Peter Swanson's Water: The Drop of Life, 2001BBC News, "Water arithmetic 'doesn't add up'," 13 Mar 2000

    And Allah has created from water every living creature: so of them is that which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet, and of them is that which walks upon four; Allah creates what He pleases; surely Allah has power over all things.

        -  Qur'an 24.45, M. H. Shakir's translation

    In a mucked up lovely river, I cast my little fly.

    I look at that river and smell it and it makes me wanna cry.

    Oh to clean our dirty planet, now there's a noble wish,

    and I'm puttin my shoulder to the wheel

    'cause I wanna catch some fish.

        -  Greg Brown, "Spring Wind" from Dream Café, 1992

    With respect to water, Canadians and Americans suffer from the same disease: We say thatit is priceless, but act as if it were absurdly cheap. Most North Americans pay far less for their water than even just the cost of supplying it, cleaning it up and returning it to the environment. Yet subsidizing water use is economically and ecologically disastrous.In fact, heavy subsidization of water in the US is the cause of any water "shortages" that may exist there.

        -  Editorial, The Toronto Globe and Mail, 23 May 1998

    My soul is full of longing

    For the secret of the Sea,

    And the heart of the great ocean

    Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

        -  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), The Secret of the Sea

    If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.

     -  Rachel Carson (1907-1964) accepting the National Book Award for The Sea Around Us, 1952

    The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book- a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice.  And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tellevery day.

        -  Mark Twain a.k.a. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910)

    Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans.It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.

        -  Herman Melville (1819-1891), Moby Dick, 1851

    I understood when I was just a child that without water, everything dies. I didn't understand until much later that no one "owns" water. It might rise on your property, but it just passes through.You can use it, and abuse it, but it is not yours to own. It is part of the global commons, not "property" but part of our life support system.

        -  Marq de Villiers, Water, 2000

    A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.

        -  Laura Gilpin, The Rio Grande, 1949

    All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.

        -  Ecclesiastes 1:7 from New International Version of The Bible

    I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river

    Is a strong brown god - sullen, untamed and intractable

    Patient to some degree, at first recognized as a frontier;

    Useful, untrustworthy as a conveuor of commerce;

    Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.

    The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten

    By the dwellers in cities - ever, however, implacable,

    Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder

    Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated

    By worshippers of the machine.

        -  T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) from Four Quartets

    So much water is pumped in and out of underground aquifers in the Los Angeles area that much of the landscape rises and falls more than 4 inches each year…

The immense annual groundswell caused by pumping practices is 100 times larger than normal seismic fluctuations. It is particularly notable in northern parts of Orange County, where 75% of all the water used is pumped from the ground.

The ground movement overshadows the more subtle tectonic forces at work along Southern California's countless thrust faults, the researchers said.

"It is actually quite astonishing," said geophysicist Gerald Bawden at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, who led the study team.

"The magnitude and extent of these motions are a product of Los Angeles' great thirst for water; they are unprecedented, and have not been observed elsewhere in the world."

        - Robert Lee Hotz and Kenneth Reich, "Aquifer Levels May Lift, Lower L.A. Land," Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug 2001

    The trouble with water—and there is trouble with water—is that they're not making any more of it. They're not making any less, mind, but no more either.There is the same amount of water in the planet now as there was in prehistoric times.  People, however, they're making more of—many more, far more than is ecologically sensible—and all those people are utterly dependent on water for their lives(humans consist mostly of water), for their livelihoods, their food, and increasingly, their industry. Humans can live for a month without food but will die in less than a week without water. Humans consume water, discard it, poison it, waste it, and restlessly change the hydrological cycles, indifferent to the consequences: too many people,too little water, water in the wrong places and in the wrong amounts.

        -  Marq de Villiers, Water, 2000

    Only one-third of the water that annually runs to the sea is accessible to humans. Of this, more than half is already being appropriated and used. This proportion might not seem somuch, but demand will double in thirty years. And much of what is available is degraded by eroded silt, sewage, industrial pollution, chemicals, excess nutrients, and plagues of algae. Per capita availability of good, potable water is diminishing in all developed and developing countries.

        -  Marq de Villiers, Water, 2000

    The real conflict of the beach is not between sea and shore, for theirs is only a lover's quarrel, but between man and nature. On the beach, nature has achieved a dynamic equilibrium that is alien to man and his static sense of equilibrium. Once a line has been established, whether it be a shoreline or a property line, man unreasonably expects it to stay put.

        -  G. Soucie, Smithsonian 1973

Don't throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water.

        -  Swedish proverb

The wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water.

        -  Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President for Environmental Affairs,quoted in Marq de Villiers' Water, 2000

A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

        -  Shakespeare (Hamlet)

    He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before -- this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All as a-shake and a-shiver -- glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

        -  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

    The cure for anything is salt water sweat, tears, or the sea.

        - Isak Dinesen

    Enough shovels of earth - a mountain. Enough pails of water - a river.

        -  Chinese Proverb

    If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water.

        - Bulgarian Proverb

    Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.

        - African Proverb

    The deeper the waters are, the more still they run.

        -  Korean Proverb

    The formula for water is H2O. Is the formula for an ice cube H2O squared?

        - Lily Tomlin

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