17 TYPES of WATER - classification, names, characteristics and photos

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The famous water cycle or hydrological cycle It shows us how there are different types of water according to its state and properties. However, the total number of types of water that we can find on planet Earth is much broader and more varied, including varieties in the water according to its distribution, chemical treatments and uses, among other parameters. In this way, associated with the different types of water that we can find in natural and artificial ecosystems, many guides have currently been developed focused on good water management practices, which allow sustainable use of water, be it whatever kind.

If you want to go deeper into this interesting topic, continue reading this article by Ecologist Verde on the types of water that exist on the planet.

Types of water - summary

To present the water classification as complete as possible, in this section we offer a list of different types of water that exist on the planet according to different parameters, such as the state and salinity of the water, the types of water according to its distribution and the different varieties of water according to its chemical composition and its use and management.

  • Solid water
  • Liquid water.
  • Water steam.
  • Saltwater.
  • Brackish water.
  • Sweet water.
  • Surface water.
  • Groundwater.
  • Drinking water.
  • Soft waters.
  • Hard waters.
  • Mineral water.
  • Alkaline water.
  • Distilled water.
  • Raw or raw waters.
  • Waste water (black).
  • Waters for domestic use (gray).

In the next sections we will see one by one, the different types of water according to the parameter used for its classification.

Types of water according to its state and salinity level

One of the most surprising characteristics of water is its ability to change state according to the temperature, pressure and other parameters that affect its structure. A) Yes, according to your state, we can differentiate between these types of water:

Solid water

It appears in the form of snow, ice and hail, which accumulates in many regions of the planet, such as the ice of the amazing glaciers and the perpetual snow of the high mountain peaks. Solid water accounts for 2.10% of the total water on Earth. To discover more about solid water, we recommend you to know this post on How snow and hail are formed.

Liquid water

It constitutes the great reservoir of water on the planet, encompassing different distributions and properties, being the essential component of aquatic ecosystems. It is distributed both on the surface of the planet (giving rise to surface waters of rivers, lakes, mangroves, etc.), and in the subsoil, forming the so-called underground waters (aquifers and natural wells).

Soda water or water vapor

Water in a gaseous state is found in the atmosphere, representing only 0.001% of the total water that exists on planet Earth. We advise you to take a look at this other article on What is water evaporation with examples.

On the other hand, the water salinity level it is another of the main factors that allows differentiating different types of water:


As its name suggests, it has a high concentration of salts, higher than 10,000 mg / l. It is the water that constitutes the seas and oceans of the planet. Learn more about salt water with this other article on What are saltwater aquatic ecosystems.

Brackish water

The concentration in this type of water is average, between 1,000-10,000 mg / l. Examples of brackish water aquatic ecosystems are marshes and estuaries of rivers at their mouths to the sea.

Sweet water

The concentration of salts in fresh water is very low (less than 1,000mg / l). This is the water that makes up the rivers, lakes, mangroves, aquifers and glaciers, among other freshwater ecosystems on the planet. If you want more information about this type of water, click on this link to our article on Freshwater Aquatic Ecosystems.

Types of water according to its chemical composition and uses

At present, more and more chemical treatments are applied to bodies of water to be able to consume them or use them for a specific purpose. Let's first look at the different types of water that exist according to their composition and treatments applied chemicals:

Raw or raw waters

They are those bodies of water that have not suffered any type of alteration of their chemical composition, such as the water of the streams and that of the natural wells.

Distilled water

Through distillations, the raw water is purified, lacking mineral salts. It is widely used in laboratories and in some aspects of home cleaning. If you want to discover more about this type of water, we recommend you consult this other post on What is distilled water for and how to make it.

Drinking water

It is the water suitable for human consumption and for domestic animals. Depending on the amount of mineral salts it contains, drinking water can be made up of soft water (with few minerals) or hard water (large amount of carbonates). Mineral water (enriched with healthy minerals) and alkaline water (very good for rapid rehydration in athletes) are also distinguished. Learn more about What is drinking water and its characteristics with this other Green Ecologist article.

On the other hand, according to the use and management of water used by humans these can be:

  • Sewage or black water: they come from the waste fluids of the sewage of streets and cities.
  • Gray wastewater: Gray water is those for domestic use that can be reused, that is, they can be recycled and reused for other purposes, within the sustainable and ecological use of water. Here you can see How to reuse water.

How much fresh water is there in the world

The total fresh water on the planet is around the 2,5%, compared to 97.5% of salty water that constitutes the vast seas and oceans.

This type of water constitutes each and every one of the fresh water sources surface and underground, so that the water of rivers, lakes, lagoons, streams, springs, mangroves, glaciers, aquifers and natural wells, appears represented within that small percentage of the world's fresh water.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of waterWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.

  • De Stefano, L. & Llamas, R. (2012) Water, Agriculture and the Environment in Spain: can we square the circle ?. Water Observatory of the Botín Foundation, Complutense University of Madrid, pp: 5-23.
  • Vrba, J. & Lipponnen, A. (2007) Groundwater Resources Sustainability Indicators. IHP VI Series on Groundwater, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Volume 14, pp: 3-21.
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