Huge Water Reservoir Discovered in Space, But Not Enough on Earth


Scientists have found a vast reservoir of water, equal to 140 trillion times all the water on Earth. Unfortunately, it’s 12 billion light years away, and surrounds an enormous black hole. The water is not exactly accessible: it is in the form of vapor, 300 trillion times less dense than Earth’s atmosphere, spread across hundreds of light years. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Matt Bradford observed, “The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water. It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”

The discovery of so much water, so far away, is tantalizing. Water scarcity affects livelihoods and lives around the world; 1.2 billion people live in areas of water scarcity, and over a billion more lack access to clean water. Scarcity is also affected by energy generation: power plants account for 40% of fresh water withdrawals in the U.S.

Water scarcity and its importance are reflected in the investment sector as well. This month NASDAQ  launched four indexes to track companies involved in conserving and purifying water, signaling that global investors are realizing the opportunities and risks associated with water limits.  While investment is necessary to help companies scale to greater effectiveness, one can’t help being concerned that where there is money to be made, there will be vultures out to make a buck on the back of a life-giving natural resource.

According to the UN, there is enough freshwater on the planet to support six billion people, but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Water scarcity affects one-third of the human population.  In any day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is spent collecting and transporting water for domestic use. The wondrous discovery of massive oceans of water several galaxies away does not lessen appreciation for the finite water resources we have here on earth.

Image: Artist rendering of quasar where water reservoir was discovered. Courtesy: NASA/ESA

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Robert Moseley
Robert Moseley2 years ago

One way to save water is what I call a Navy shower. This comes from a time before nuclear powered ships. Back then during flight operations the steam catapults used a lot of water. So when we showered it was in three steps.1.wet down for one minute 2 soap down 3 rinse down for one minute. I do the same thing today. When washing dishes I wet a sponge with and put liquid Ajax into the sponge. I only use water to wet the dishes and turn off the water before I wash another dish. I also have a toilet that uses about half the water of a standard toilet. When I mop my floor I only use enough water to dampen the mop and use only enough water to rinse out my mop. This saves a lot of water!

Manuela B.
Manuela B.4 years ago

Facinating,I suppose men will eventually have to look for an alternative source of water,since we have polluted the existing water with trash.

Alec Steury
Alec Steury4 years ago

This is a fascinating astronomical find. The amount of water is staggering... It's literally incomprehesibe to imagine. All the water on Earth may be (probably is) from some kind of strange space phenomenon just like this. How amazing!

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn4 years ago

Finish perfecting fusion power, using a design that relies on piping in large amounts of seawater, desalinating it, piping the brine back to the deep ocean, and using a small portion of the desalinated water for fusion fuel (electrolysing it for deuterium hydrogen) while the rest is available to cool power plant systems and for use as drinking-grade water. Or we can pipe seawater to a big geothermal power facility and desalinate it there, again using the freshwater for both plant process water and drinking-grade water while the brine is sent back to the ocean.

Supathre Polsawutdi


Brianna K.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

As some have already shown....we have enough water. Plant life retains water, watching how we use water is important also.
Not every where can you drink the local waters. Some have naturally to many minerals in it, that is not good for the human body to consume daily. And of course there is also the fracking problem with our water.
Think before turning on the water. that will save millions of gallons of water right there.

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago


Charlie Parkinson

The sci-fi writers will love this....

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago