Water is a material unlike any other. I will go on record to say that, whilst a few other substances may have a one or two unusual properties, no other known substance has as many, or as to as great an extent in toto, than does water. If anyone can think of any other substance that has as many aberrant properties, please let me know.
Because of the unique set of properties, water is usually declared to be essential for life. I do not know if I would go quite that far, because that sounds more like dogma than science to me. However, I would agree that any nonaqueous form of life would be extraordinarily bizarre to us, and might not even be recognized as a lifeform.
Water is such a basic part of daily life that the ancients thought that it was a fundamental element. Whilst they were incorrect, it is so different than anything else that it deserves a place of its own in our understanding of things.