News & Stories

Soil & Water: a source of life

World Soil Day 2023

On World Soil Day 2023, let’s dig into the dynamic interactions between soil and water, which are absolutely essential for life on Earth—transporting nutrients and minerals in a way that creates fertile environments for plants and animals to thrive.

Water infiltrates soil through many different forces, including capillary action and gravitational forces, which impact soil moisture content and influence plant growth. These interactions are vital for nutrient cycling, root uptake, and overall soil health, profoundly affecting ecosystems and agriculture.


“Increasing soil organic matter content of soils, especially sandy and silty soils, leads to an increase in water retention. Organic matter in soil is like a sponge that absorbs and holds onto water. According to the USDA-NRCS, a 1% increase in soil organic matter will increase soil water holding capacity by 20,000 gallons per acre.”

—Lara Bryant (Deputy Director, Water and Agriculture, Nature Program)

At first glance, soil might appear as nothing more than dirt beneath our feet—but it is, in fact, a complex and vibrant ecosystem that merits careful attention and sincere respect.

This inconspicuous layer of Earth’s surface is full of life, from microorganisms to earthworms, all working harmoniously to create a fertile environment for plant growth. The quality of soil directly impacts the way we are able to produce food, while also playing a fundamental role in the overall health of the ecosystems we rely on.

Nutrient Cycling: Soil is home to billions of microorganisms, which are mostly undiscovered and remain poorly understood. These microorganisms efficiently break down organic matter, releasing vital nutrients that are essential for plant growth. As plants take up these nutrients, they in turn become the foundation of the food chain, sustaining all life on Earth.

Water Filtration: Soil acts as a natural filter for rainwater, removing impurities and pollutants as water percolates through the layers. This clean, filtered water then replenishes our aquifers—providing us with fresh water for drinking, agriculture, and countless other essential purposes.

Erosion Control: Healthy soils are a robust defense against erosion. They anchor plant roots, preventing soil from being washed away during heavy rains. Without this protection, fertile topsoil would erode, leaving behind barren landscapes and threatening food security.

Biodiversity Support: Soil is a haven for countless species, from earthworms to microscopic fungi. These organisms form the basis of terrestrial food webs, and their activities ensure the resilience and diversity of ecosystems.



Water is an indispensable resource that influences nearly every aspect of our existence—from the growth of plants to the health of ecosystems, and the well-being of all living organisms.

Sustaining Life: Water is essential for the survival of all life forms. It is a critical component of cellular processes and plays a fundamental role in maintaining the temperature and balance of the Earth’s ecosystems.

Agriculture: A massive amount of our global food supply depends on water for irrigation. Without sufficient water resources, crop yields would plummet, threatening global food security.

Biodiversity: Aquatic ecosystems, from rivers to oceans, support a staggering diversity of life. These ecosystems are home to countless species, many of which are still undiscovered. They also play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate and oxygen levels.



While soil and water are distinct elements, they are inextricably linked. The relationship between the two is essential for the maintenance of a healthy and balanced environment.

Soil Moisture: Water is a key component in the soil’s ability to retain moisture. Adequate moisture levels in the soil are vital for plant growth. The interplay between soil and water ensures the availability of water to sustain vegetation.

Watershed Management: Healthy soil plays a pivotal role in watershed management. It helps to control water runoff, reducing the risk of flooding and erosion. This, in turn, protects water quality downstream and ensures a sustainable supply of freshwater.

Carbon Sequestration: Both soil and water are involved in the global carbon cycle. Soil acts as a carbon sink, storing vast amounts of carbon, while bodies of water, such as oceans, absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Soil and water are the unsung heroes of our planet, silently supporting all life forms and ecosystems. Their intricate interactions and vital roles in nutrient cycling, erosion control, and biodiversity preservation make them invaluable sources of life.




At PUR, we see it as our responsibility to protect and conserve these precious resources, to ensure a sustainable and thriving future for generations to come. By understanding and appreciating the profound connection between soil and water, we can take meaningful steps towards preserving the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystems.

Contact PUR today to restore ecosystems and enhance soil health, across your value chain and beyond.

“In many of the project locations where PUR operates, water is becoming the most limited natural resource in agriculture production. Implementing regenerative agriculture practices—such as cover cropping, reduced tillage, and organic amendment application—can increase soil organic matter and water holding capacity. Which builds resilience into production systems during periods of drought or extreme weather events.”

—Paul Hrycyk (Global Regenerative Agriculture Lead, PUR)

Ted Killin

Dec 4, 2023


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