Water affects soil formation, structure, stability and erosion but is of primary concern with respect to plant growth. Water is essential to plants for four reasons:
- It constitutes 85%-95% of the plant’s protoplasm.
- It is essential for photosynthesis.
- It is the solvent in which nutrients are carried to, into and throughout the plant.
- It provides the turgidity by which the plant keeps itself in proper position.
In addition, water alters the soil profile by dissolving and redepositing minerals, often at lower levels, and possibly leaving the soil sterile in the case of extreme rainfall and drainage. In a loam soil, solids constitute half the volume, air one-quarter of the volume, and water one-quarter of the volume, of which only half will be available to most plants.