You are on page 1of 31

Freshwater Resources and

Water Pollution
Properties of Water

 Molecules of water: H2O

– 2 Hydrogen atoms
– 1 Oxygen atom
 Polar molecule
– One end slightly positive
– One end slightly negative
Properties of Water
 Hydrogen bonds that result from water’s
polarity responsible for many of water’s
– High heat capacity
(Moderates climate)
– Universal solvent
The Importance of Water
 All living things need
 Composes majority of
the body of organisms
 Habitat for many
 Helps regulate climate
 Shapes earth’s surface
 Dilutes & degrades
Water on Earth
 About 97% Earth’s water is salty–less than 1%
of the planet’s water is available fresh H2O

 Fresh water is distributed unevenly

 2025: 1/3 human population will live in areas
lacking fresh water
Water, water, everywhere?
 Comparison of
population sizes and
shares of the world’s
freshwater among the
continents. (Only 7
countries account for
60% of global water
Water Wars

 Many countries in the

Middle East, which
has one of the world’s
highest population
growth rates, face
water shortages.
Water wars cont…

 Most water in this dry region comes

from the Nile, Jordan or Tigris rivers.
 Countries are in disagreement as to who
has water rights.
 Currently, there are no cooperative
agreements for use of 158 of the
world’s 263 water basins that are
shared by two or more countries.
The Hydrologic
Surface Water

 Streams, rivers, lakes, ponds,

reservoirs, wetlands
 Runoff replenishes surface water
 Watershed
 Area of land drained by a single river

 What watershed do we live in?

 Supply of fresh water found under
Earth’s surface--recharged when water
at surface infiltrates into the ground
 Stored in under
ground aquifers
 Discharged into
rivers, springs,
Infiltration - Process of water percolating
through the soil and into cracks and
permeable rocks.
Zone of Aeration -
Upper soil layers
that hold both air
and water.
Zone of Saturation
Lower soil layers
where all spaces are
filled with water.
Water Table -
Top of zone of
Precipitation Unconfined Aquifer Recharge Area
Flowing Evaporation and transpiration
Confined artesian well
Recharge Area Evaporation

Infiltration Runoff

Well requiring a pump

Unconfined aquifer
Water table

Less permeable material Confined aquifer

such as clay
Confining permeable rock layer

• Recharge Zone - Area where water infiltrates

into an aquifer.
-Recharge rate is often very slow.
-Presently, groundwater is being removed
faster than it can be replenished.
 Aquifers - Porous layers of sand, gravel,
or rock lying below the water table.
Water Resource Problems
 Too much water
 Too little water
 Poor-quality water
Changes in Surface Runoff
 Prior to 1970 about 10%
of stormwater became
 Now 55% of stormwater
is transported as runoff
as development exceeds
75% of the permeable
soil area
Stormwater Runoff
(greatest contributor to nonpoint
source pollution) contains:
 Nutrients*
 Metals*
 Suspended solids*
 Pesticides
 Hydrocarbons
 Microorganisms

*Present in nearly 100% of stormwater

Too Much Water
 Heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt, removal of
vegetation, and destruction of wetlands cause
 Floodplains, which usually include highly
productive wetlands, help provide natural
flood and erosion control, maintain high water
quality, and recharge groundwater.
 To minimize floods, rivers have been narrowed
with levees and walls, and dammed to store
Human activities have contributed to flood
deaths and damages
Too Little Water
 Arid & semiarid lands (growing in
extent -- desertification)
 Irrigation required to produce food
 Greatest use of
water (71%)
Aquifer Depletion
 Removing groundwater faster than it is
 Lowers water table
 Land subsidence
 Saltwater intrusion
 Salt water seeps into
fresh water
 Occurring in

South Florida
Overdrawing Surface Waters
 Damaging to ecosystems
 Wetlands dry up (Everglades)
 Estuaries become too salty (FL Bay)
 Worldwide, the demand for water is growing
as the human population and indvidual
consumption continue to grow exponentially
 Water wars

Arial Sea
Water Management

 Goal: sustainable supply of high quality

 How do we supply water?
 Building dams (ex: Columbia River)

 Diversion (ex: Colorado River)

 Desalination (ex: FL Keys) - very

expensive to build & operate plants
Water Conservation: Agriculture
 Single largest user of water worldwide
 Much lost to evaporation or seepage
 Solution: drip irrigation
 Perforated pipes distribute water

 Goes straight to plants

 Reduces water use

Water Conservation: Municipal
 Solutions:
 Use gray water

 Education: modify habits

 Water-saving fixtures

& Appliances
 Repair leaks

 Cisterns & rain barrels

 Water gardens
Water Pollution
 Physical or chemical change in water
that adversely affects the health of
humans or other organisms
 Global problem
 Build up of nutrients in a body of water
 Naturally occurs slowly
 Humans cause imbalances
by creating pulses of
nutrients due to over-
fertilizing crops & lawns
and raising animals in
confined areas

Nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus-containing

compounds that are essential to life in small quantities
but harmful in excess.
Sources of Water Pollution
Point source: specific spot

Nonpoint source
 Enters over a large area

 Runoff (agriculture or,

urban lawns) or
atmospheric deposition
Groundwater Pollution Sources
Controlling Water Pollution
1. Source Reduction (Pollution Prevention)
 Cheapest and most effective way to
reduce pollution is to avoid producing
it or releasing it into the environment.
 Design products that do not pollute

 Soil Conservation

2.Ban release of pollutants

3.Reward purchasing environmentally
preferable products (e.g. rebates)
The End