Nouns have several patterns. "Вода", in particular, is ending-stressed in singular except Accusative, and stem-stressed in plural and in the Accusative case when it's singular. I guess, moving stress makes it a bit easier to hear the contract immediately.
English has a ton of very short words: pot, pat, pet, pit, put, pup, pep, pap, pip, pop, bet, bit, bat, but, bot. Russian is a bit more generous.