Water Distribution on Earth

The majority of Earth's water is salt water.  Salt water makes up 97% of our water.  The remaining 3% is fresh water.  The 3% of fresh water is divided through ice, groundwater, lakes, rivers, and water vapor.  

The chart above shows the distribution of fresh water throughout Earth.


Oceans make up a greater percentage of Earth than land does.  The oceans make up 70% of our Earth.  Different parts of the ocean has different names, including Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern.  Though they have different names, the oceans are all connected.  Oceans make up 97% of the water on Earth.


Located in the ocean, there are floating chunks of ice called icebergs.  They are made of frozen fresh water.  The icebergs that are in the southern Pacific and southern Atlantic oceans are broken off from the massive sheets of ice that cover Antarctica.  There are also icebergs in the Arctic Ocean.  Ice makes up 76% of the FRESH water.

Lakes and Rivers

Lakes and rivers make up 0.34% of the fresh water supply.  Lakes are large bodies of water surrounded by land, while rivers are a large stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another stream.  Rivers and lakes are one of the many reservoirs during the water cycle.


Some of the freshwater on Earth is located underground.  During precipitation, some of the water may soak into the ground through cracks and pores.  After a while, the water reaches a layer of rock that it is unable to move through.  This water that fills those cracks in the underground soil and rock is called groundwater.  Groundwater makes up a total of 23%, including the shallow and deep groundwater.

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