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Water Resources and Water Pollution

Water Resources and Water Pollution

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Water Resources and Water Pollution

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  1. Water Resources and Water Pollution Chapter 11


  3. Where is the water?

  4. Freshwater is an irreplaceable resource that we are managing poorly • A person could survive for only a few days without water.

  5. Functions or Services of Water • Water is needed to supply us with: • food, • shelter, • and meet our other daily needs and wants. • Water helps to: • sculpt the earth’s surface, • moderate climate, • and remove and dilute wastes and pollutants.

  6. Water is one of our most poorly managed resources. • People waste and pollute it. • We charge too little for making it available.

  7. How do people waste water? •

  8. What is the relationship between human activities and the water cycle?

  9. How are people affecting the water cycle? • The water cycle is disrupted by: • pollutants. • withdrawing water from underground and surface water supplies faster than it is replenished (overpumping).

  10. The water cycle

  11. The Urban Water Cycle

  12. Groundwater • Ground water - precipitation that infiltrates the ground and percolates downward through spaces in soil, gravel, and rock until an impenetrable layer of rock stops it—one of our most important sources of freshwater. Know!

  13. The zone of saturation is where the spaces are completely filled with water. The top of this groundwater zone is the water table. Water table

  14. Ground water

  15. Aquifers • Aquifers: underground caverns and porous layers of sand, gravel, or bedrock through which groundwater flows—typically moving only a meter or so (about 3 feet) per year and rarely more than 0.3 meter (1 foot) per day. • • • Know!

  16. surface water • Surface water is the freshwater from precipitation and snowmelt that flows across the earth’s land surface and into lakes, wetlands, streams, rivers, estuaries, and ultimately to the oceans.

  17. Where is the water going?

  18. Water Shortages • •

  19. Freshwater shortages will grow • The main factors that cause water scarcity in any particular area are: • a dry climate, • drought, • too many people using a water supply more quickly than it can be replenished, and • wasteful use of water.

  20. Water Stress Around the World More than 30 countries—mainly in the Middle East and Africa—now face water scarcity. By 2050, 60 countries, many of them in Asia, with three-fourths of the world’s population, are likely to be suffering from water stress.

  21. Freshwater shortages will grow • By 2025, at least 3 billion people are likely to lack access to clean water.


  23. Aquifers • Aquifers provide drinking water for nearly half of the world’s people. • Most aquifers are renewable resources unless their water becomes contaminated or is removed faster than it is replenished by rainfall.

  24. Aquifers are being overpumped • The world’s three largest grain producers—China, India, and the United States are overpumping many of their aquifers.

  25. Withdrawing groundwater has advantages and disadvantages

  26. Groundwater overdrafts in the United States

  27. Overpumping of aquifers has several harmful effects • As water tables drop, farmers must drill deeper wells, buy larger pumps, and use more electricity to run those pumps. Poor farmers cannot afford to do this and end up losing their land.

  28. This has increased the gap between the rich and the poor in certain areas.

  29. Harmful effects of Overpumping • Withdrawing large amounts of groundwater causes the sand and rock in aquifers to collapse. • Subsidence - When the land above an aquifer subsides (sinkhole). • Once an aquifer becomes compressed by subsidence, recharge is impossible. • In addition, land subsidence can damage roadways, water and sewer lines, and building foundations. • Groundwater overdrafts near coastal areas can pull saltwater into freshwater aquifers. Know!

  30. Subsidence from overpumping


  32. Reducing freshwater waste has many benefits • An estimated 66% of the freshwater used in the world is unnecessarily wasted. • It is economically and technically feasible to reduce such water losses to 15%, thereby meeting most of the world’s water needs for the foreseeable future.

  33. Reducing freshwater waste has many benefits • Reasons so much freshwater is wasted: • Government subsidies that keep the cost of freshwater low. • Lack of government subsidies for improving the efficiency of freshwater use.

  34. We can cut freshwater waste in irrigation • About 60% of the irrigation water worldwide does not reach the targeted crops. • In most irrigation systems, water is pumped from a groundwater or surface water source through unlined ditches and about 40% is lost through evaporation, seepage, and runoff.

  35. Ways to reduce freshwater waste in irrigation

  36. We can cut freshwater waste in industry and homes • Flushing toilets with freshwater is the largest use of domestic water in the US. • Standards have required that new toilets use no more than 6.1 liters (1.6 gallons) of water per flush.

  37. We can cut freshwater waste in industry and homes • Fixing leaks • Homeowners should using drip irrigation and replace lawns with native plants that need little freshwater.

  38. Florida Yard

  39. We need to use water more sustainably


  41. Some areas get too much water from flooding • To reduce the threat of flooding for people who live on floodplains: • Rivers have been narrowed and straightened (channelized), equipped with protective levees and walls, and dammed to create reservoirs that store and release water as needed. (this has caused other environmental problems).

  42. Some areas get too much water from flooding • Since the 1960s, human activities have contributed to a sharp rise in flood deaths and damages, meaning that such disasters are partly human-made.

  43. Human activities that have contributed to flooding: • Removal of water-absorbing vegetation, especially on hillsides, which can increase flooding and pollution in local streams, as well as landslides and mudflows. • Draining and building on wetlands, which naturally absorb floodwaters.

  44. A hillside before and after deforestation

  45. Tree plantation Diverse ecological habitat Evapotranspiration decreases Evapotranspiration Roads destabilize hillsides Trees reduce soil erosion from heavy rain and wind Overgrazing accelerates soil erosion by water and wind Winds remove fragile topsoil Agricultural land Agricultural land is flooded and silted up Gullies and landslides Tree roots stabilize soil Heavy rain erodes topsoil Vegetation releases water slowly and reduces flooding Silt from erosion fills rivers and reservoirs Rapid runoff causes flooding Forested Hillside After Deforestation Stepped Art Fig. 11-20, p. 254

  46. We can reduce flood risks • To improve flood control, we can rely less on engineering devices such as dams and levees and more on nature’s systems such as wetlands and natural vegetation in watersheds.