We’re famous for our water here on Earth. We’re probably the envy of the solar system. And we consider ourselves blessed and lucky to be on a planet with a bunch of water on it. As though we just showed up according to plan and it could have gone either way.

We do have a lot of water. Supposedly we got all or most of it by having asteroids and comets slam into us. And it must have taken a hell of a lot of them, because most of the earth is covered in water that’s over my head. I’m not tall, but still. What with one thing and another, most of it is salty. We can’t drink it, for long, anyway. We just use it to store our seafood in, and our plastic. We can’t drink it because we’d have to flush the salt out of our systems using more water than we can possibly take in. There are critters that do a better job. Seabirds, for instance, take in plenty of salt water incidentally and then they sneeze out the salt. And koalas get by only on the water they get from eucalyptus leaves. They conserve energy by sleeping most of the time, and unlike some people I know or (in some cases) am, they’re careful not to drool while they’re doing it.

But we humans are pretty much up the creek, as it were, without fresh water. If we don’t have fresh water to drink, we dry up until we’re flat and our sides are stuck together, or we would, if we didn’t have seizures and die first. And there isn’t that much fresh water. Only 2.7% of the water on Earth is fresh, and the vast majority of that tidbit is in glaciers, and those are busy going away. Less than one percent is in the soil or underground, and less than a hundredth of one percent is in lakes and rivers.

Good news, though. They’ve just figured out that there is a whole bunch more water deep inside the earth, over 250 miles in, maybe as much as all the oceans hold together. It’s not navigable, or anything. It’s sludged up in the minerals. They figured it out because of a diamond someone found that had water in it. Diamonds are formed under pressure and they are literally blasted out of the earth’s crust through skinny diamond volcanoes called kimberlite pipes. Most of the good diamonds were formed shallower, say, 150 km down. This one had been through the wringer. It was all banged up from traveling so far. And it had this little occlusion of minerals in it that contained water, rendering the diamond itself nearly worthless to gem dealers, and priceless to geologists. They reason that wherever the ocean floor dives below the continents it shlorps water along with it.

Nobody’s drilling for that deep water anytime soon. We’ve got all we can manage to drill into the really shallow aquifers for fossil water, such as in the Oglalla Aquifer in Texas, which is nearly drained by now, way past replenishing. We didn’t so much use that water for drinking, either, even though we really, really need it. We raised wheat and hamburger and lawns and other stuff. There’s so much you can do with water. You, personally, need to take in about a gallon of water a day, but you can make your poop go away with twenty. You can make a pint of beer with 42. 304 gallons of water will score you a packet of M&Ms.

You can take million of gallons of fresh water and use it to crack open rocks around oil wells and get those last drops of oil and gas out. Most of that oil you’re going to burn right up, but even better, you can use some of it to manufacture plastic bottles in which you can put fresh water that is essentially free, add marketing, and turn it into a commodity that for some reason people will buy even though it costs 10,000 times as much as it does coming out of the tap. And then we still have that whole ocean to store the empty bottles in.

I don’t know, though. You get a planet that shoots diamonds into the sky, you’d think we’d take better care of it.