Water Quotes

Collected here you will find approximately 100 quotes about water from a wide variety of sources. Some are old and some are new. Some emphasize science, while others are more humanistic. Note that these quotes are not presented in any particular sequence.

We hope that you will be inspired by these quotes to care more about our water and take action to protect the Cape Fear River. We also have a form at the end if you want to make any comments or add any quotes to our collection.

Haw River (11)

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

“This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley (Speaking of Lake Como, Italy)

“Still waters run deep. Shallow waters run dry frequently.” – Thomas County Cat, 1890

“When you see clouds gathering, prepare to catch rainwater.” – Gola People of Liberia

“Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world.” – Charles Mackay

“When snow falls, nature listens.” – Antoinette van Kleeff

Haw Ryver 1

“Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought.” – Dwight Morrow

“When one man drinks while another can only watch, Doomsday follows.” – Turkish Proverb

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” – Toni Morrison

“One could argue that a fractured, ad hoc, haphazard mish-mash of random, inconsistent, and stove-piped projects, administered by a hodge-podge of 36 congressional committees and more than 20 agencies in accordance with outdated and inadequate laws constitutes a national water policy. A de facto one. But with so many ignored aha moments followed by ever-more-frequent and disastrous uh-oh moments, it seems we could use a policy that’s not quite so dependent upon sandbags and firehoses.” – Elizabeth de la Vega

“The health of our waters is the principle measure of how we live on the land.” – Luna Leopold

“Water, that wonderful, flowing medium, the luck of the planet — which would serve humankind in so many ways, and which would give our planet a special character.” – Daniel Boorstin, The Discoverers

JordanDam - TJH (50)

“It is water, in every form and at every scale, that saturates the mind. All the water that will ever be is, right now.” – National Geographic, October 1993

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

“Of this we may be sure: Man must eat to live, and the problem of food will always be inextricably associated with water.”– Thompson King, Water, Miracle of Nature

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“I am inclined to believe that if there can be a meaningful human right to any material thing, surely it starts with access to minimum clean freshwater. ” – Steven Solomon – Water – The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization

“Water, whether still or in motion, has so great an attraction for the lover of nature, that the most beautiful landscape seems scarcely complete without it. There are no effects so fascinating as those produced by the reflexions in nature’s living mirror, with their delicacy of form, ever fleeting and changing, and their subtle combinations of colour.” – Montagu Pollock – Light and Water: A Study of Reflexion and Colour in River, Lake and Sea, 1903

“Rain! Whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains.” – Henry Ward Beecher, preacher and writer (1813-1887)

Cape Fear River (193)

“Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.” – St. Francis of Assisi in Canticles of the Sun

“He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.” – Baltasar Gracian

“Water is personal, water is local, water is regional, water is statewide. Everybody has a different idea, a different approach, a different issue, a different concern. Water is the most personal issue we have..” – Susan Marks; 2009

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain there would be no life.” – John Updike

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” – Jacques Cousteau

“The solution to our water problems is more rain.” – Attributed to Mark Twain

“Water is the lifeblood of our bodies, our economy, our nation and our well-being.” – Stephen Johnson, EPA Administrator, upon dedicating the new desalination plant at El Paso, TX, 2007

Raven Rock 4

“To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.” – Masaru Emoto in “The Hidden Messages in Water”

“Everyone understands that water is essential to life. But many are only just now beginning to grasp how essential it is to everything in life – food, energy, transportation, nature, leisure, identity, culture, social norms, and virtually all the products used on a daily basis.” – World Business Council for Sustainable Development

“All the waters run to the sea and yet the sea is not full, and from the place where they began, thither they return again.” – Ecclesiastes

“Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, From Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939

“If you gave me several million years, there would be nothing that did not grow in beauty if it were surrounded by water.” – Jan Erik Vold, 1970

“In their efforts to provide a sufficiency of water where there was not one, men have resorted to every expedient from prayer to dynamite. The story of their efforts is, on the whole, one of pathos and tragedy, of a few successes and many failures” – Walter Prescott Webb (The Great Plains)

Haw Eiver 3

“Water is the only substance on earth that is naturally present in three different forms – as a liquid, a solid (ice) and as a gas (water vapor).” – Author unknown

“Battles over water in the West are always about something more. At their most elemental, they are about survival.” – Bettina Boxall, 2007

“There is too little public recognition of how much we all depend upon farmers as stewards of our soil, water and wildlife resources.” – John F. Kennedy

“You could write the story of man’s growth in terms of his epic concerns with water.” – Bernard Frank

“Man is a complex being; he makes deserts bloom and lakes die.” – Gil Stern

“We think of our land and water and human resources not as static and sterile possessions but as life giving assets to be directed by wise provisions for future days.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“There has been a lot said about the sacredness of our land which is our body; and the values of our culture which is our soul; but water is the blood of our tribes, and if its life-giving flow is stopped, or it is polluted, all else will die and the many thousands of years of our communal existence will come to an end.” – Frank Tenorio, 1978

Cape Fear River (193)

“Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes – one for peace and one for science.” – John F. Kennedy

“A man from the west will fight over three things: water, women and gold, and usually in that order.” – Senator Barry Goldwater, AZ

“Water is King, and he is Knight who uses it successfully to make two blades grow where nature produced none.” – J. S. Sherman, 1894.

“Til taught by pain, men really know not what good water is worth.” – From “Don Juan” by Byron

“I have left almost to the last the magic of water, an element which owing to its changefulness of form and mood and colour and to the vast range of its effects is ever the principal source of landscape beauty, and has like music a mysterious influence over the mind.” – Sir George Sitwell (On the Making of Gardens)

“I have little need to remind you that water has become one of our major national concerns.” Ezra Taft Benson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. – (Opening sentence of the Foreword of the 1955 Yearbook of Agriculture – dedicated entirely to water)

Cape Fear River (51)

“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine

“In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.” – Rachel Carson

“Don’t you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it’s in the sea, and it’s homesick, and bound to make its way home someday.” – Zora Neale Hurston (1903-1960), American folklorist and writer

“Civilization has been a permanent dialogue between human beings and water.” – Paolo Lugari (Colombia)

“Water is the most basic of all resources. Civilizations grew or withered depending on its availability.” – Dr. Nathan W. Snyder

“If we could ever competitively, at a cheap rate, get fresh water from saltwater, ..(this) would be in the long-range interests of humanity which could really dwarf any other scientific accomplishments.” – John F. Kennedy

NewHope - TJH (11)

“Rain is a blessing when it falls gently on parched fields, turning the earth green, causing the birds to sing.” – Donald Worster, “Meeting the Expectations of the Land”, 1984

“Throughout the history of literature, the guy who poisons the well has been the worst of all villains.” – Author unknown

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – W.H. Auden

“A waster of water is a waster of better.” – Old Irish Adage

“Nothing on earth is so weak and yielding as water, but for breaking down the firm and strong it has no equal.” – Lao-Tsze

“In sweet water there is a pleasure ungrudged by anyone.” – Ovid, 13 A.D.

JordanDam - TJH (67)

“The noblest of the elements is water” – Pindar, 476 B.C.

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” – Loran Eisley, 1957

“Water helped ancient man learn those first lessons about the rights of others and responsibility to a larger society…. It became part of the moral and mental legacy parents passed on to their children.” – M. Meyer, “Water in the Hispanic Southwest”

“Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. It’s called rain.” – Michael McClary

“Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” – Unknown (widely attributed to Mark Twain)

“You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus

Haw River (6)

“Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim. Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods. In time and with water, everything changes.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“When you drink the water, remember the spring.” – Chinese Proverb

“Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learned how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it.” – William Ashworth, Nor Any Drop to Drink, 1982

Panther Point (24)

“Don’t empty the water jar until the rain falls.” – Philippine proverb.

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.” – American Indian Saying

“The stone in the water knows nothing of the hill which lies parched in the sun.” – African Proverb

“The highest good is like water. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.”- Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching, chapter 8

Cape Fear River (193)

“By means of water, we give life to everything.” – Koran, 21:30

“It is a fascinating and provocative thought that a body of water deserves to be considered as an organism in its own right.” – Lyall Watson, Supernature

“Water links us to our neighbor in a way more profound and complex than any other.” – John Thorson

“Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips.” – Jean Giraudoux

“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” – Widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Fayetteville (27)

Note that the following are all quotes specifically about rivers – their importance and history. All of the remaining pictures (and the one above) are from the Cape Fear River at various points.

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” – David Brower

“Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.” – Blaise Pascal

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

“I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable.” – T. S. Eliot

“Until I came to New Mexico, I never realized how much beauty water adds to a river.” – Mark Twain

Jordan Lake

“The trees reflected in the river — they are unconscious of a spiritual world so near to them. So are we.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“How could drops of water know themselves to be a river?” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Rivers depend for their existence on the rains and on the water within the earth, as the earth is hollow and has water in its cavities.” – Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (500-428 BC)

“If man fails to honor the rivers, he shall not gain life from them” – The Code of the Hammurabi

“Rivers have what man most respects and longs for in his own life and thoughts – a capacity for renewal and replenishment, continual energy, creativity, cleansing,” – John M Kauffman, “Flow East”

Raven Rock (12)

“I want my life to be a mountain stream that rushes down wild flowered slopes through pine glades into green valleys, I do not want culverts to contain my force or cement to channel my flow, nothing to break my life’s course with roots, stones and sand.” – Lowell McMullin

“Good luck and good work for the happy mountain raindrops, each one of them a high waterfall in itself, descending from the cliffs and hollows of the clouds to the cliffs and hollows of the rocks, out of the sky-thunder into the thunder of the falling rivers.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” – Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

“I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water…has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river.” – Roderick Haig-Brown

Cape Fear River (19)

“Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into a mountain’s belly, sculpted the land. Peeled back the planet’s history exposing the texture of time itself.” – Harry Middleton

“To trace the history of a river or a raindrop…is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again.” – Gretel Ehrlich (From Islands, The Universe, Home, 1991)

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (quoted by the Supreme Court in its decision in U.S. v. Republic Steel, 1960)

“We let a river shower its banks with a spirit that invades the people living there, and we protect that river, knowing that without its blessings the people have no source of soul.” – Thomas Moore

“To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things.” – John Haines

Haw River (7)

We invite you to contribute any other quotes that you may have found about water or rivers. Please complete the following form:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *