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Chapter 14 Water

Chapter 14 Water

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Chapter 14 Water

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  1. Chapter 14Water

  2. Aquifers: Porous, water-saturated layers of sand, gravel, or bedrock that can yield an economically significant amount of water.
  3. Desalination: Purification of salt water or brackish, (slightly salty) water by removal of dissolved salts.
  4. Floodplain: Flat valley floor next to a stream channel. For legal purposes, the term often applies to any low area that has the potential for flooding, including certain coastal areas.
  5. Groundwater: Water that sinks into the soil and is stored in slowly flowing and slowly renewed underground reservoirs called aquifers; underground water in the zone of saturation, below the water table.
  6. Natural recharge: Natural replenishment of an aquifer by precipitation, which percolates downward through soil and rock.
  7. Reliable runoff: Surface runoff of water that generally can be counted on a stable source of water form year to year.
  8. Surface runoff: Water flowing off the land into bodies of surface water.
  9. Surface water: Precipitation that doesn’t infiltrate the ground or return to the atmosphere by evaporation or transpiration.
  10. Water table: Upper surface of the zone of saturation, in which all available pores in the soil and rock in the earth’s crust are filled with water.
  11. Watershed/ Drainage basin: Land area that delivers water, sediment and dissolved substances via small streams to a major stream (river).
  12. Zone of saturation: Area where all available pores in soil and rock in the earth’s crust are filled by water.
  13. Why is water so important, how much freshwater is available and how much of it are we using? Water keeps us alive, moderates climate, sculpts the land, removes and dilutes wastes and pollutants, and moves continually through the hydrologic cycle. Only about .024% of the earth’s water supply is available. We currently use more than half of the world’s reliable runoff of surface water.
  14. What causes freshwater shortages and what can be done about it? Main factors causing water scarcity are dry climate, too many people using and wasting the reliable supply of water, lack of money to drill deep wells and build dams, storage reservoirs and water distribution systems. We can help prevent shortages of freshwater by not wasting water and having private companies buy and manage the water.
  15. What are the advantages and disadvantages of withdrawing groundwater? Advantages Disadvantages Aquifer depletion from over-pumping Sinking of land from over-pumping Polluted aquifers for decades or centuries Saltwater intrusion into drinking water supplies near coastal areas Reduced water flows into surface waters Increased cost and contamination from deeper wells Useful for drinking and irrigation Available year-round Exists almost everywhere Renewable if not over-pumped or contaminated No evaporation losses Cheaper to extract than most surface waters
  16. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using dams and reservoirs to supply more water? Advantages Disadvantages Displace people Disrupt aquatic systems Produce cheap electricity Reduce downstream flooding Provide year-round water for irrigating cropland
  17. What are the advantages and disadvantages of transferring large amounts of water from one place to another? Advantages Disadvantages Encourages unsustainable use of water in areas where water is not naturally supplied Makes unproductive areas more productive Turns water-poor areas into suitable places for growing food, grazing and other business activities. This will make businesses more likely to invest in the area and the econoomy with be strengthened.
  18. Can removing salt from seawater solve our water supply problems? This method cannot really solve our problem. Current methods of desalination are very expensive due to the high amount of energy needed to desalinate the water. Also, a large amount of briny wastewater is produced and it must be safely disposed of. Currently, desalination is practical only for water-short wealthy countries and cities that can afford its high cost.
  19. How can we waste less water? Redesign manufacturing processes Repair leaking underground pipes Landscape yards with plants that require little water Improve irrigation techniques Use drip irrigation Fix water leaks Use water meters Raise water prices Use waterless composting toilets Require water conservation in water-short cities Use water-saving toilets, showerheads and front-loading clothes washers Collect and reuse household water Don’t waste energy
  20. How can we use the earth’s water more sustainably? Cut waste Raising water prices Preserving forests and wetlands in water basins Slow population growth
  21. What causes flooding and what can we do about it? Flooding is causes by heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt, removal of vegetation and destruction of wetlands. We can reduce flood risks by controlling river flows, protecting mountainside forests, preserving and restoring wetlands, identifying and managing flood-prone areas and, if possible, choosing not to live in flood-prone areas.