Water is the new oil, scientific facts about life giving water as society understands the dilemma of shortages

Water is the new oil, scientific facts about life giving water as society understands dilemma of shortages

Those of you that are familiar with my work will know that for nearly 4 decades I have publicly stated that today as in the past we fight battles over access to oil, soon those same wars will erupt over humanities hunger for clean water, this subject takes much of my thoughts in the studio. This the great fate of humanity has been a core element of my artistic manifesto seeking to explore the conversation from the very beginning.

HDR footage from the 'Swarm' series 2008-2012 & 'Transparency of a dream' 2013-2016

As the years have passed, in my lifetime alone I have seen global rivers choked to death from polluting chemicals leeching in and killing off the natural interconnected chains. Today we still see powerful farm lobbyists keeping governments from acting or even tabling the discussion. One only has to look to New Zealand for the profound sets of facts proving the same where the purest of glacial melt waters pass through flatlands downstream and through mass animal agriculture land that has pushed chemicals into the grasslands feeding these massive meat factories and subsequently into water supplies killing off vast stretches of its once famous clean river waters and polluting its inhabitants to become what is now some of the most polluted waters in the developed world. To this date New Zealands tourism office still uses the 100% Pure advertising campaign which it started back in 1996, something of a joke to the locals that live there. (view supporting data from ABC News report march 2021)

intesive cattle feed lots seen here produce high levels of nitrates that leech into the water table

At the same time we have been polluting our oceans with chemical and physical waste with plastic pollution now at biblical levels, and commercial overfishing that is smashing fish stocks into all but a memory; all for the profit of today at the expense of tomorrow.

 Te Ara Waipā and Waikato rivers meet as nitrates choke the life and clarity of the water

Well tomorrow is here and as the reality strikes home across the globe, my work has become focussed on sharing my documented findings with you through my continuing artistsic interventions. 

Water is such an important medium for me to continue exploring. Its environmental signature is a conversation that I have made a lifelong commitment to; that of fresh clean water unencumbered to all living species, and, clean oceans enabling their vital ecosystems to thrive; right now across vast areas around the globe they are barely surviving.

Below I present a series of insightful scientific facts and visual guides showing you just how extraordinary water is and why we must protect it no matter what the cost, wihtout which our future faces a terrible fate.

Thank you for reading please lets stay connected.



No liquid behaves quite as oddly as water. It exhibits a raft of unusual behaviours, many of which are essential for life as we know it. 

- Water is the only element which is naturally found in all 3 states. Ice (solid) in the polar regions, Vapour (gas) in the air and liquid on the ground. Actually water is the only molecular substance to exist on Earth in all 3 states, without human influence or outside of the laboratory.

- The biochemical reactions that sustain life need a fluid in order to operate. In a liquid, molecules can dissolve and chemical reactions occur. And because a liquid is always in flux, it effectively conveys vital substances like metabolites and nutrients from one place to another, whether it's around a cell, an organism, an ecosystem, or a planet. Getting molecules where they need to go is difficult within a solid and all too easy within a gas-vapor-based life would go all to pieces.

- Water freezes at 32° Fahrenheit (F) and boils at 212°F (at sea level, but 186.4° at 14,000 feet).

- Water is unusual in that the solid form, ice, is less dense than the liquid form, which is why ice floats. Water is called the "universal solvent" because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.

- Picturing water as a liquid that can form complex molecular structures could explain many of its unusual properties.

- Water is most dense at 4 °C.

- Water has an exceptionally high specific heat capacity: it takes a lot of heat energy to raise water's temperature by a given amount.

- Specific heat capacity is at a minimum at 35 °C but increases as the temperature falls or rises, whereas the heat capacity of most other liquids rises continuously with temperature.

- Water is particularly difficult to compress.

- Water's compressibility drops with increasing temperature until it reaches a minimum at 46 °C, whereas in most liquids, the compressibility rises continuously with temperature.

- The speed of sound in water increases with temperature up to 74 °C, after which it starts to fall again.

- Water molecules diffuse more easily, not less easily, at higher pressures

- Unlike many liquids, water becomes less viscous, not more viscous, at higher pressures.

- Picturing water as a liquid that can form complex molecular structures could explain many of its unusual properties.

- Increasing the pressure increases the amount by which water expands on heating.

- Properties such as viscosity, boiling point and melting point are significantly different in "heavy" water - made from the heavier hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium - compared with their equivalents in normal water.

- Unlike most other liquids... when water molecules freeze, water expands and becomes less dense. Most other frozen liquids are denser than their melted selves and thus sink. If it sank, ice, being unable to melt because of the insulating layer of water above it, would slowly fill up lakes and oceans in cold climates, making sea life in those parts of the world a challenging prospect.

- While other substances form liquids, precious few do so under the conditions of temperature and pressure that prevail on our planet's surface. In fact, next to mercury and liquid ammonia, water is our only naturally occurring inorganic liquid, the only one not arising from organic growth.

- At sea level, water boils at 212°F, but thousands of feet down in the ocean, the pressure can keep water liquid at over 650°F as in deep ocean hydrothermal vent.

- Everything is soluble in water to some degree. Even gold is somewhat soluble in seawater.

thank you for reading, please lets stay connected.

discover more about my explorations with water on the journal.