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Chapter 17 Water use and management

17.1 Water resources

1. Hydrologic cycle constantly redistributes water
More than 1.4million km cubed of water on planet
Every year about 500,000km cubed evaporates from oceans
Water cycles through hydrologic cyle
Plants absorb groundwater pump into atmosphere (transpiration)
= transport plus evaportation
Solar E drives hydrologic cycle by evaporation surface water
(becomes rain or snow)
Rainfall slight in deserts & @ high latitudes
Rainfall full tropical areas & coastal mountains
2. Water supplies are unevenly distributed
3 principle factors control global h20 deficits and surpluses
global atmospheric circulation creates regions of persistent
high pressure and low rainfall (20degrees to 40degrees north
and south of equator)
proximity to water sources influences precipitation = winds
over oceans bring moisture to land VS. areas far from oeans
are usually relatively dry
topography: mountains act as cloud formers and rain
o air goes up mountain air pressure decrease and air
cools air passes mountaintop and descends to other
side air pressure rise and warm air = increase ability
to hold moisture
rain shadow: dry, leeward side of a mountain range receive LITTLE
ex) mountain waialeale (Hawaii) one side mountain gets
12m of rain and other side gets 46cm (just few km away from
other side)
prevailing winds from east
forests cleared = falling rain quickly enters streams and returns to
water distribution: interacting compartments in which water resides,
sometimes briefly and sometimes for eons
residence time: length of time water typically stays in a compartment
on average = a h2o molecule stays in ocean for about
3,000yrs before it evaporates and starts through hydrologic
cycle again
3. Oceans hold 97% of all water on earth
Oceans cover 71% of planets surface
Contains ore than 97% of all liquid h2o in the world





90% worlds biomass in ocean

ocean= CRUICIAL role in monitoring/moderating earths temp
tropical seas = surface waters are warmed by sun, diluted by
rainwater and run off by/from land and aerated by wave action
higher latitude = surface h2o cold, saltier and much more dense
dense h2o sinks bottom of deep ocean basins and flows toward
Glaciers, ice, and snow = most surface fresh water
24% of all water that is fresh, 87% is in glaciers, etc.
alpine glaciers + snowfields supply h2o to billions of people
drought conditions already have reduced snowfall
warnings that glaciers could vanish in few decades
ground waters stores large resources
groundwater: next largest reservoir of freshwater held in the ground
infiltration: precipitation that does not evaporate back into air or
runoff over the surface percolates through soil and into spaces of
permeable rocks (all a process)
zone of aeration: upper soil layers that hold both air and water
depending on soil layer,etc = may be very shallow or deep
zone of saturation: lower soil layers where all spaces are filled with
water make up zone
water table: top o zone of saturation (not flat, undulates)
aquifers: porous layers of sand, gravel or rock lying below the water
artisen well: pressurized aquifer intersects the surface or if it is
penetrated by a pipe
recharge zones: areas where water infiltrates into an aquifer
most aquifers refill @ slow rate
urbanization, road building, etc, often block recharge zones
and prevent refill of important aquifers
Rivers, lakes and wetlands cycle quickly
Most rivers if not constantly replenished by precipitation, meltwater
from snow and ice or groundwater begin to diminish in few weeks
Discharge: the amount of water that passes a fixed point in a given
amount of time (liters or ft cubed)
Wetlands: lush plants growth stabilize soil and holds back surface run
off, allowing time for infiltration into aquifers and producing even
year long stream flows
When wetlands disturbed = their natural water absorbing
capacity is reduces and surface waters run off quickly
resulting in floods and erosion during raining reason
Disastrous effect on biological diversity and productivity
The atmosphere is among the smallest of compartments
Atmosphere= smallest of major water reservoirs

Has most rapid turnover rate

Movement of water through air provides mechanisms for providing
fresh water over land masses and replenishing terrestrial reservoirs
17.2 Water availability and use
Renewable water supplies: made up in general of surface runoff plus
the infiltration into accessible freshwater aquifers

1. Many countries suffer water scarcity or h2o stress

Water scarcity: occurs when the demand for the water exceeds the
available amount or when poor h2o quality restricts its use
Water stress: occurs when renewable water supplies are inadequate
to satisg essential human or ecosystem needs
Drought: extended period of consistently below average precipitation
that a substantial impact on ecosystems, agriculture and economics
2. Water use is increasing
Human water increasing 2x faster than pop growth
Demand in developing countries (water use)
Stabilize in industrial countries (water use)
Water withdrawal: total amount of water taken from water body
Water consumption: loss of water due to evaporation absorption or
3. We use water for many purposes
Agriculture = 709% of total water withdrawal
Takes lots of water for raising animals
4. Domestic and industrial water uses tend to be far less than agricultural
Dishwasher =1.4%
Bath = 1.7%
Other = 2.3%
Leaks = 13.7%
Faucets = 15.7%
Showers = 16.7%
Laundry = 21.6%
Toilets = 26.7%
Urban/domestic of h2o gorwn 50% in 1960 to 2000
Wealthy country person use = 500to 800L per day
Developing country person use = 30 to 150L per day
17.3 Freshwater shortages
1. water scarcity is a growing problem
Water withdrawal expected to continue to grow as more land is
irrigated to feed an expanding pop
2. Groundwater is being depleted

Groundwater is the source of nearly 40% of fresh water for

agricultural and domestic use in usa
Americans and 95% of rural pop = depend on groundwater
groundwater being withdrawn faster than natural recharge can
replace it
excessive pumping for irrigation and other uses = removed so much
water that wells have dried up
local level = cone of depression in water table
subsidence: withdrawal of large counts of groundwater causes porous
formations to collapse
salt water intrusion: widespread consequence of aquifer depletion
3. diversion projects redistribute water
dams and canals store and redistribute water for farms and cities
o environmental costs efficiency, cost, and loss of ecosystems
o 90% of dams built in 20th century
o costs of relocating villages, lost fishing/farming and water
losses to evaporation
4. Dams often have severe enviro and social impacts
dams = hydroelectric power and water
international rivers (enviro and human rights organization)
o dams projects have forced more than 23 million people from
their homes/land people still suffering from that
big dams in seismically active areas trigger earthquakes
dams lethal to/for migrating fish (cant move upstream)
5. Sedimentation limits reservoir life
More than 10million metric tons of sediment collect every year
behind dams
6. Climate changes threaten water supplies
Reduced precipitation and high evaporation rate
Severe droughts
17.4 Water conservation
1. increase water supplies
increase freshwater by/is desalination of ocean water
13,080 desalination plants produce more than 12 billion gallons of
water a day (45 million L)
o desalination is 3x or 4x more expensive than most other
sources of freshwater provides a welcome water source
(where no access to fresh water )