Water Lecture Notes.docx

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Environmental Science
Environmental Science 1021F/G
Geoff Stewart

Water Lecture Notes Hydrologic Cycle  Always exists, changes in form & location o Solid liquid gas o Cloud, land, ocean/lake, soil Infiltration = soil surface into soil Percolation = mvt through soil layers  Cause of BC temperate forests: Rocky Mountains - clouds gather off ocean, move up over mountains & come down to release moisture on warm other side Water Supply  We only have groundwater supply available for use o A potentially renewable resource  Recall watershed concept - topographically-determined area where water drains into land Zone of Aeration = soil has space for air, and some water in between Zone of Saturation = soil is 100% filled with water in between spaces Water table = delineation between aeration & saturation zones Aquifer = required for sustenance in communities relying on well-water  Porous, water-saturated soil where groundwater flows  Naturally occurring, created through time by geological changes  Unconfined = large surface area where water supply can be recharged  Confined = only one small point of recharged (soil is impenetrable along most of aquifer length)  Fossil = ancient aquifers; no recharge  Lateral = recharged by open body of water  Natural = recharged by precipitation Types of water use  Withdrawal o Water is taken out and at least some is returned within same watershed (at point of origin) o Thermal pollution = water is warmed, changes certain species habitat (hurts temp-sensitive fish)  Can prevent natural freezing in winter required for ecosystem  Consumptive o Water isn't returned at point of origin Domestic use of water = everything you encounter on daily basis (home, school, work, restaurants, recreation) Our next big crisis after the fossil fuel issue at present will be a water crisis  We have never lived w/o water What water used for: Industrial use  Power plants for cooling purposes (leads to thermal pollution) Domestic use (water used to run daily life, house usage = water used in home)  Showers/bathing  Toilet flushing (30% of home water use) o One area use of freshwater can be reduced significantly Use of Water in Canada  Transportation o Mostly West & East coasts, into St. Lawrence Riv. o Will open up into Arctic waterways with sea ice melting  Has its own implications  We`re a water-rich country (in terms of groundwater, wetlands - 25% of all in the world, protects from flooding) Water scarcity  Greater pop. Affected by water scarcity Causes: 1. Dry climate 2. Drought  Unexpected reduction in precipitation 3. Dry soil  Doesn't hold water  May not all water infiltration  No plants = no clouds 4. Demand  Water stress = overuse of water  Water scarcity = more extreme demand, overuse & abuse of resource Situations  US west coast & farther east, physical water scarcity (no water there)  Economic water scarcity = not able to get water (but it's available physically) by cost or politics  Diverted waters for other purposes & overuse lead to major rivers drying up Ways to increase freshwater supplies 1. Dams & reservoirs  Provide recreation areas  Controls water, able to access power  Downstream control of flooding  Increases water lost to evaporation  Land flooded for reservoir is lost  People displaced  Pesticide residue released - soil isn't scraped out - into water source  Release of GHG from plant material now flooded  New physical barrier between land wildlife populations  Less genetic diversity in populations  Less protection from disease  Lead to inbreeding  Nutrient-rich sediments displaced when waters released from dam  Sediment build-up elsewhere  Soils lost upstream 2. Transferring water one area to other  Displaces people  Changes ecosystems 3. Tapping groundwater  Potentially renewable  Accessible all the time  Can be used anywhere  Pretty cheap  Depletes aquifer
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