Water is a very important inorganic compound that is a part of a complex, deeply interconnected system. Without water one is unable to function. According to research an average individual can go up to a month without food however, can only last 7 days without water. The importance of water can even be seen within our very own bodies; water regulates the bodies temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, etc.

The Importance of Water in The Environment
Nearly 97% of the worlds water is undrinkable or salty, while 2% is locked in the form of glaciers or ice caps, leaving less than 1% as drinkable or useable. In South Africa water is very scarce and rainfall is unreliable thus affecting flora, fauna, businesses, and residents. Trees and plants play a huge role in maintaining the natural order of the water cycle; the process of removing trees and plants is knows as deforestation.

Deforestation is a major issue which affects the natural water cycle causing less and less water that can be used. Cutting down trees and removing of plants cause more carbon dioxide concentrations as they are a source of oxygen, they remove toxins, and this directly affects the water cycle. Due to the water cycle being so deeply interconnected, whatever we put into the ground or pump into the sky ends up in our water which then ends up in our plants, food and bodies.

The Water Cycle
The water cycle is the continuous movement or circulation of water between the Earth and the atmosphere. Water evaporates into water vapor, condenses to form clouds, and then falls back to earth as snow or precipitation. Infiltration, runoff, groundwater, and transpiration are all major processes within the water cycle that move water across and through the ground. This cycle is critical because it provides water to all living organisms and governs global weather patterns.

Deforestation Affecting the Water Cycle
In relation to deforestation, the hydrological cycle relies heavily on trees to soak up water from the atmosphere. Trees serve as reservoirs, absorbing water from the soil and distributing it through its leaves, a process known as transpiration. The increased moisture in the air causes cloud cover, which leads to rain and the continuation of the water cycle. As more trees are cut down, evaporation rates are hindered, depleting the moisture in the air, and altering the water cycle’s balance. A constant cycle of low humidity, dry air, and low rainfall will ultimately result in a drought-prone, desert-like climate.

Women standing on dry soil and fishing gear, global warming and water crisis

A lot of aspects in the water cycle are impacted by deforestation, including infiltration and runoff. Normally, tree roots absorb rainwater, maintaining sufficient infiltration and low levels of runoff. Deforestation, on the other hand, encourages the opposite effect: less infiltration and more runoff. There is nothing to hold the soil cover without trees and plants. Soil erosion rates are increasing, raising concerns about flooding, and increasing the likelihood of pollutants entering nearby water reservoirs.