How much of the Earth's surface is covered with water?

71% of the earth’s surface is water-covered, and the ocean holds about 96.5 per cent of all Earth’s water. Water also exists in the form of water vapour, rivers and lakes. The amount of water that exists as groundwater, rivers, lakes, and streams would constitute just over 10.6 million km3.

  • The earth has an abundance of water, but unfortunately, only a small percentage (about 0.3 per cent), is even usable by humans. The other 99.7 per cent is in the oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating in the atmosphere.
  • Surface waters can be simply described as the water that is on the surface of the Earth. This includes the oceans, rivers and streams, lakes, and reservoirs.
  • Glaciers and icecaps are referred to as storehouses for freshwater. They cover 10 per cent of the world’s landmass. These glaciers are primarily located in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Groundwater is defined as water that is found beneath the surface of the Earth in conditions of 100 per cent saturation

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