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Water Resources.docx

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McMaster University
Environmental Science
Luc Bernier

ENVIR SCI 1B03 February 11, 2014 Water Resources What are available Water Resources? • Ocean water, freshwater • Most freshwater is in the form of glaciers and icebergs • Surface water and most are in lakes and soil moisture • We rely on 1% (surface fresh water) of 2.5% (freshwater) of water in the world • Freshwater is unequally distributed across Earth’s surface • Most of the Nordic countries, Canada and Brazil (amazon) have most freshwater o Influences economy o Developing world: 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and a large portion of this problem is because of the climate – the water is not available naturally • A person in Canada has 20 times more water available than a person in China What are Wetlands? • Canada has a lot of water because of lakes and an abundance of wetlands • Are where the land is saturated to a depth of a few cm for at least a few days/year, and may break the surface • There are different components that determine whether an area is a wetland – hydrology, vegetation and the soils • Wetlands have a lot of nutrients – major sources of nutrients in the environment o Low nutrient supply is not associated with the development of wetland soils • Junction between open water and soils • Involved in flood protection – sponges for water and prevent flooding, slowly release water in dry periods • Are of groundwater recharge because they are fully saturated • Important in nutrient cycle – carbon storage because of relatively low oxygen content, cycle is slower • Protecting endangered species – key to protecting biodiversity • Wetlands near urban areas are under the greatest stress yet they are the most valuable for recreational purposes o Southern Ontario, approximately 50% of wetlands have been drained to develop suburbs o Rural areas where crops are being produced are also under stressed because the land is drained of water to make into croplands How is Water Used? • Global withdrawal rate is growing exponentially but varies worldwide: 70% used for irrigation – up to 80% evaporates • Consumptive use: water is removed from an aquifer or surface body of water and it is not returned, or if returned, the water is chemically different – polluted • Non-consumptive use: water is not removed or only temporarily removed and the water is returned in the quality • There are wide variations in terms of how water is going to be used • About 87% of water in India is used for agriculture,
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