You can live for three weeks without food, but only three days without water.
Of all the water on earth, 97% is saltwater. The other 3% is freshwater. Wikipedia tells us that of that freshwater, 1.5 to 1.75% is frozen, about 0.5 to 0.75% is groundwater; and less than 0.01% is surface water in lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Some is moisture in the soil and some is in the atmosphere. (Some is in us!)
Water is a closed system. The water we have now is the same water the dinosaurs slopped around in. And it's all the water we will EVER have on the planet. It keeps recycling – it evaporates, condenses, falls as rain or snow, and replenishes lakes, rivers and oceans. Some trickles through the ground into underground aquifers.
Groundwater aquifers are a major source of drinking water, agricultural irrigation, and manufacturing use; but humans are draining and polluting them far faster than they can regenerate. There is a fact sheet on aquifers on the website of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation.
We'd never throw gold into the garbage. Yet we pollute and waste water, which has no substitute. The government and the media have done a lousy job of informing the public what a dangerous situation we are in. A wildfire is seen as an emergency, and it is . . . but so is the state of our water. It's not dramatic enough to rate headlines, but WATER IS LIFE, period.
This is why I started my series on water. A small effort, to be sure, but you know what they say about pictures being worth lots of words.