Water Essay, Research Paper
Water Fresh water is one of our most important natural resources becauseit’s needed for survival and there is no substitute for it. Unlike energy,which has many alternative forms there are no alternatives for water. Mostof our earth is covered by water, but only a tiny amount is available forfresh water. The amount of accessible fresh water varies from country tocountry and region to region. The United States has abundant amount ofwater, but many regions have shortages and this is where groundwater comesin. Groundwater is very important to these parts of the world, it is usedfor farming and drinking in these areas. Groundwater helps these area’stremendously and has to be used in normal quantities as they are liable torun out which causes many problems such as sinkholes, human displacement,and for soil to be totally drained of water useless for agriculturalpurposes. Even though tapping aquifers is a very practical idea it hassome set backs as it can have disaterous eff!ects if polluted or over used. Groundwater originates as water or melting snow that seeps intothe soil and finds it’s way down through cracks and spaces in rock untilit is stopped by a impermeable layer of rock, where it forms asgroundwater. the porous layers of underground rock in which thegroundwater is stored are called aquifers. Theseaquifers can either be confined or unconfined. The aquifers that arereplaced by surface water directly above them are called unconfined. Confined aquifers are water deposits that are stuck between two layers ofimpermeable rock, this is sometimes called artesian wells. The water inartesian well is under extreme pressure and is often the most popularchoice for wells as you can estimate the amount of water in them and bevery accurate.There are many advantages to using groundwater for house water andfarming in many parts of the world. In a desert there are very few waterways and this makes living here near impossible. With underground watersupplies you can access water which does not take up surface water whichtakes up valuable farming land. In small countries this is particularlyimportant as the more area for farming the better. When surface water such as rivers and lakes are used for house anddrinking water many lakes water levels are lowered to dangerously lowlevels which could kill many types of animal species in these areas. Thewater has an abundance of minerals in it which are lost when the waterlevel goes down which can not be leached into the soil from lakes andrivers. When living in large metropolis areas such as Tucson, Miami,Phoenix, and Memphis where there are not many lakes located in the middleof the large cities and thus they have to get there water from somewhereelse. Without groundwater many cities in this area would not exist asthere is no fresh water sources nearby causing them to have to drill forwater. The use of groundwater also helps nature as it helps in theprevention of flooding. When area’s need water they look to surface waterand if there is none they use groundwater. If there is not much water inan area they will damn the water source and it will flood the land killingmany animals and there homes. By using grroundwater they save animals homes and get good drinking water. Groundwater also has it’s problems. There may be more problemsthan advantages as so much can happen if groundwater is used excessively. When an aquifer is drained enough the earth around it will start to loseit’s support causing sinkholes. these can cause lot of damage to personalproperty and endanger human life. In Winter park, Florida a sinkholeoccurred that was 400 hundred feet wide and 125 feet deep. Sinkholes canhappen in seconds and often have no warning to when they are going toappear. Many regions that experience sinkholesdo not feel the full effect of sinkholes. this is because the land sinksover periods of time which most people can not detect but studies haveshown in the last 40 years in Texas have shown that lands on the Ogallala
aquifer have sunk of levels up to 21 m. The overuse of an aquifer near coastal areas can cause salt waterintrusion which happens when a aquifer is depleted faster than it canreplenish itself, so water from the oceans filter into the systems. Saltwater intrusion happens in area such as Florida, Texas, Loiusiana, andsouthern California are feeling the effects of this as much of theredrinking water has been eliminated. Salt water intrusion is very bad as itmakes the drinking water too saline to drink or farm with. If a water istoo salty there is only so much you can purify and it still may be toosaline. The process of filtering the water is long and costly processwhich most people are not willing to pay for. When the water is full ofsalt it kills the soil around it by accumulating in the soil making thecrop production of the soil go down and in some cases it makes the soilvirtually ungrowable. This has tremendous side-effects on people as it mayinterfere with there farming career. Most areas depend on aqu!ifers and if they are too saline they are not drinkable or useable meaningtheyhave to get there drinking water from somewhere else. This process is verycostly as water is hard to transport in large quantities and it is a veryineffective method of getting water to an area. Maybe the most major downfall of groundwater is how easily it canget polluted. May large aquifers are starting to become very polluted fromany chemicals being dumped into rivers that flow down and leach downthrough the soil and settle in the earth. Pesticides being used onagricultural areas find there way into groundwater, sewage, industrialwaste, and garbage dumps all contribute to this problem. This is aproblem which will not just go away as the dirtied water, will just sitthere and collect more pollutants never riding itself of these chemicals. This is a major problem in the Great Reef aquifer which stretches fromSouthern California to Colorado. Large amounts of industrial waste are putinto the system in California and the chemicals spread through the watereffecting people who live in he Colorado area. Pesticides that are havewidespread use in California also have the same effect as they are used infruit farming and they also end up in the reservoirs. The poll!ution of the aquifers has a tremendous effect on the people getting therewater supply as these chemicals in the water can cause cancers, birthdefects and serious illnesses for people who drink, and bathe in the waterregularly.The pollution in the aquifers have a chain effect meaning that whatever isput inthem from somewhere else it can effect people that had nohing to do withthe pollution in the first place. Considering that over 50 % of the United States gets it’s drinkingwater from aquifers we know that it is maybe our most valuable resource onthe planet even though it can not be measured in dollars and cents. Waterlevels in the aquifers are predicted to drop if further mass consumptioncontinues in the United States which may prove to be disasterous to theability of having enough fresh water for it’s growing popualtion andindustry. In the last 35 years groundwater consumption has gone from 21billion to 89 billion gallons in a day. If this rate of consumptioncontinues at the current level three of the largest aquifers will be atdangerously low levels in 100 years. Much action needs to be taken toprevent the groundwater from being polluted and depleted as so much of oureveryday lives depends on it. Right now there are almost no signifigantprojects to conserve this resource which is a shame as soon people may bepaying major dollars for water as it will need to be clae!aned so heavily and if that does not work we will have to drink water thatis full of chemicals and sewage. The idea of water being gone maybe a bitalarmist but if nothing is done to balance the water being taken out in itmay be too late to donything about it. Groundwater is a great resource if used properly, ifit is notused properly it can have a tremendous effect on our lives. I think thatgroundwater is worth the hastle but we need to practice better conservatonmethods.