Watershed Math. Tippecanoe Environmental Lake & Watershed Foundation Holly LaSalle Watershed Coordinator. #1 How many acres of ground make up the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed? Answer: 76,846 acres #2 With 1 inch of rain, how many gallons of water fall on 1 acre of ground
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Watershed Math Tippecanoe Environmental Lake & Watershed Foundation Holly LaSalle Watershed Coordinator
#1 How many acres of ground make up the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed? • Answer: 76,846 acres • #2 With 1 inch of rain, how many gallons of water fall on 1 acre of ground • Answer: 27,138 gallons
The Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed is comprised of 76,846 acres. The watershed contains over 50 lakes. They are all connected either directly or through streams and ditches to the Tippecanoe River. Most of the watershed is farm ground, about 75%. • What makes the farmers crops grow? What do plants need? • Sun light • Nutrients, plant food, fertilizers • Soil, minerals, microbiotic life • And Water
Most of the water to grow crops comes from rain. How do we measure rain? By the inch. We can get ½, 1 or 2 inches of rain depending on the intensity of the storm or the length of time it rains. It is typical to receive 1 inch of rain during the crop growing season in the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed.
If we take 1 square foot of ground, 12” X 12” and have 1 inch of rain, we end up with .623 gallons of water. There are 43,560 square feet in each acre of ground. With a one inch rain that gives how much water per acre? • 43,560 X .623 = 27,137.88/acre
That is a lot of water! • A semi-tanker truck holds about 7,000 gallons. • How many tanker truck loads of water fall on an acre of ground with a 1 inch rain? • 27,138 ÷ 7,000 = 3.8 Tanker Trucks
Now consider the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed • We have an 1 inch rain. There are 76,846 acres in the watershed, times the 27,138 gallons per acre of 1 inch rain, that gives us how much water? • 76,846 X 27,138 = 2,085,446,748 gallons or 297,920 tanker truck loads of water
Not all that water runs off the ground when it rains. Some is used by the crops, trees and grasses. Some is soaked into the water table deep in the ground. Only about 37% of the water runs off into the rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. But that is still a lot of water. • 2,085,446,748 X .37 = 771,615,297 gallons or 110,230 tanker truck loads
If the trucks were to line up end to end they would stretch for 2296 miles, that would be from Warsaw to Orlando…… and back for only 1 inch of rain. • So when we talk about our watershed we are talking about a lot of water…… a lot of water!!!
Have you seen the Tippecanoe River? Stand and watch the water go by. There goes 1 truck load, there goes another…… • Some of the water that runs into the rivers, lakes and streams is polluted. What does pollution mean? Dirt, nutrients, oils and just plain junk that people may litter along the side of the road. The run off water picks up the pollutants and carries them into the lakes, rivers and streams, damaging the water, plants and animals.
Scientists tell us that run off water usually contains .000075 amount of pollutants per gallon. • So how much polluted water do we get from an 1 inch rain? • 771,615,297 gallons of run off X .000075 = 57,871 gallons of pollutants or again, about 8 tanker truck loads.
Now that does not sound so bad compared to the amount of water we have been talking about. But how many inches of water did it rain in the watershed last year? The weather service tells us we had 37.5 inches of rain. That gives us 309 tanker truck loads of pollutants year after year.
There are still other considerations: • Roughly 2% of the watershed is developed or commercial areas. Water run off from these areas can approach 85% with roof tops, driveways, parking lots and streets being 100%. Also the pollutant content of this water is much higher with automotive and household waste. One acre of housing development becomes equal to 11 acres of farm ground for water run off and up to 50 acres of pollution run off.
Then we have all those people out there, some 23,488 residents as well as those traveling through the watershed. • For washing, flushing, drinking and irrigation, they use 18 gallons per day or 1.5 billion pumped out of the ground, some of which enters the streams, ditches, lakes and waters of the watershed.
In Conclusion • What I am trying to impress is that the amount of water we are talking about in the watershed. • Over 78 billion last year from rain, another 1.5 billion form human pumping and over 2 million gallons of pollutants. • I would hope that these numbers make an impact to those listening, that it is up to you and I to make smart changes and choices to protect our lakes, rivers and streams to improve water quality for today and future generations.