Category: Water- A Natural Resource


Seventh Standard

Subject:-General Science

Topic:- Water Natural Source

Subtopic:-Water Resources

Source:- Wikipedia

 

Water resources

 

A graphical distribution of the locations of water on Earth.

                       Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial,household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water. 97% of the water on the Earth is salt water. However, only three percent is fresh water; slightly over two thirds of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is found mainly as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air.

Fresh water is a renewable resource, yet the world’s supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing. Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world and as the world population continues to rise, so too does the water demand. Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world’s wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services for Water Education.  The framework for allocating water resources to water users (where such a framework exists) is known as water rights.

Sources of fresh water

1] Surface water

Surface water is water in a river, lake or fresh water wetland. Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation and naturally lost through discharge to the oceans, evaporation, evapotranspiration and sub-surface seepage.

Although the only natural input to any surface water system is precipitation within its watershed, the total quantity of water in that system at any given time is also dependent on many other factors. These factors include storage capacity in lakes, wetlands and artificial reservoirs, the permeability of the soil beneath these storage bodies, the runoff  characteristics of the land in the watershed, the timing of the precipitation and local evaporation rates. All of these factors also affect the proportions of water loss.

Human activities can have a large and sometimes devastating impact on these factors. Humans often increase storage capacity by constructing reservoirs and decrease it by draining wetlands. Humans often increase runoff quantities and velocities by paving areas and channelizing stream flow.

The total quantity of water available at any given time is an important consideration. Some human water users have an intermittent need for water. For example, many farms require large quantities of water in the spring, and no water at all in the winter. To supply such a farm with water, a surface water system may require a large storage capacity to collect water throughout the year and release it in a short period of time. Other users have a continuous need for water, such as a power plant that requires water for cooling. To supply such a power plant with water, a surface water system only needs enough storage capacity to fill in when average stream flow is below the power plant’s need.

Nevertheless, over the long term the average rate of precipitation within a watershed is the upper bound for average consumption of natural surface water from that watershed. Natural surface water can be augmented by importing surface water from another watershed through a canal or pipeline. It can also be artificially augmented from any of the other sources listed here, however in practice the quantities are negligible. Humans can also cause surface water to be “lost” (i.e. become unusable) through pollution.

Brazil is the country estimated to have the largest supply of fresh water in the world, followed by Russia and Canada.

2] Under river flow

Throughout the course of a river, the total volume of water transported downstream will often be a combination of the visible free water flow together with a substantial contribution flowing through sub-surface rocks and gravels that underlie the river and its floodplain called the hyporheic zone. For many rivers in large valleys, this unseen component of flow may greatly exceed the visible flow. The hyporheic zone often forms a dynamic interface between surface water and true ground-water receiving water from the ground water when aquifers are fully charged and contributing water to ground-water when ground waters are depleted. This is especially significant in karst areas where pot-holes and underground rivers are common.

3] Ground water

Sub-surface water, or groundwater, is fresh water located in the pore space of soil and rocks. It is also water that is flowing within aquifers below the water table. Sometimes it is useful to make a distinction between sub-surface water that is closely associated with surface water and deep sub-surface water in an aquifer (sometimes called “fossil water”).

Sub-surface water can be thought of in the same terms as surface water: inputs, outputs and storage. The critical difference is that due to its slow rate of turnover, sub-surface water storage is generally much larger compared to inputs than it is for surface water. This difference makes it easy for humans to use sub-surface water unsustainably for a long time without severe consequences. Nevertheless, over the long term the average rate of seepage above a sub-surface water source is the upper bound for average consumption of water from that source.

The natural input to sub-surface water is seepage from surface water. The natural outputs from sub-surface water are springs and seepage to the oceans.If the surface water source is also subject to substantial evaporation, a sub-surface water source may become saline. This situation can occur naturally under endorheic bodies of water, or artificially under irrigated farmland. In coastal areas, human use of a sub-surface water source may cause the direction of seepage to ocean to reverse which can also cause soil salinization. Humans can also cause sub-surface water to be “lost” (i.e. become unusable) through pollution. Humans can increase the input to a sub-surface water source by building reservoirs or detention ponds.

4] Desalination

Desalination is an artificial process by which saline water (generally sea water) is converted to fresh water. The most common desalination processes are distillation  and reverse osmosis. Desalination is currently expensive compared to most alternative sources of water, and only a very small fraction of total human use is satisfied by desalination. It is only economically practical for high-valued uses (such as household and industrial uses) in arid areas. The most extensive use is in the Persian Gulf.

5] Frozen water

Several schemes have been proposed to make use of icebergs as a water source, however to date this has only been done for novelty purposes. Glacier runoff is considered to be surface water.
Uses of fresh water

Uses of fresh water can be categorized as renewable and non-renewable . A use of water is consumptive if that water is not immediately available for another use. Losses to sub-surface seepage and evaporation are considered renewable, as is water incorporated into a product (such as farm produce). Water that can be treated and returned as surface water, such as sewage, is generally considered non-renewable if that water can be put to additional use. Water use in power generation and industry is generally described using an alternate terminology, focusing on separate measurements of withdrawal and consumption. Withdrawal describes the removal of water from the environment, while consumption describes the conversion of fresh water into some other form, such as atmospheric water vapor or contaminated waste water

1] Agricultural

It is estimated that 69% of worldwide water use is for irrigation, with 15-35% of irrigation withdrawals being unsustainable. It takes around 3,000 litres of water, converted from liquid to vapour, to produce enough food to satisfy one person’s daily dietary need. This is a considerable amount, when compared to that required for drinking, which is between two and five litres. To produce food for the now over 7 billion people who inhabit the planet today requires the water that would fill a canal ten metres deep, 100 metres wide and 7.1 million kilometres long – that’s enough to circle the globe 180 times.

2] Industrial

It is estimated that 22% of worldwide water is used in industry. Major industrial users include hydroelectric dams, thermoelectric power plants, which use water for cooling, ore and oil refineries, which use water in chemical processes, and manufacturing plants, which use water as a solvent. Water withdrawal can be very high for certain industries, but consumption is generally much lower than that of agriculture.

3] Household

It is estimated that 8% of worldwide water use is for household purposes. These include drinking water, bathing, cooking, sanitation, and gardening. Basic household water requirements have been estimated by Peter Gleick at around 50 liters per person per day, excluding water for gardens. Drinking water is water that is of sufficiently high quality so that it can be consumed or used without risk of immediate or long term harm. Such water is commonly called potable water. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation.

Water stress

The concept of water stress is relatively simple: According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, it applies to situations where there is not enough water for all uses, whether agricultural, industrial or domestic. Defining thresholds for stress in terms of available water per capita is more complex, however, entailing assumptions about water use and its efficiency. Nevertheless, it has been proposed that when annual per capita renewable freshwater availability is less than 1,700 cubic meters, countries begin to experience periodic or regular water stress. Below 1,000 cubic meters, water scarcity begins to hamper economic development and human health and well-being.

1] Population growth

In 2000, the world population was 6.2 billion. The UN estimates that by 2050 there will be an additional 3.5 billion people with most of the growth in developing countries that already suffer water stress. Thus, water demand will increase unless there are corresponding increases in water conservation and recycling of this vital resource. In building on the data presented here by the UN, the World Bank goes on to explain that access to water for producing food will be one of the main challenges in the decades to come. Access to water will need to be balanced with the importance of managing water itself in a sustainable way while taking into account the impact of climate change, and other environmental and social variables.

2] Expansion of business activity

Business activity ranging from industrialization to services such as tourism and entertainment continues to expand rapidly. This expansion requires increased water services including both supply and sanitation, which can lead to more pressure on water resources and natural ecosystems.

3] Rapid urbanization

The trend towards urbanization is accelerating. Small private wells and septic tanks that work well in low-density communities are not feasible within high-density urban areas. Urbanization requires significant investment in water infrastructure in order to deliver water to individuals and to process the concentrations of wastewater – both from individuals and from business. These polluted and contaminated waters must be treated or they pose unacceptable public health risks.

In 60% of European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used at a faster rate than it can be replenished. Even if some water remains available, it costs more and more to capture it.

4] Climate change

Climate change could have significant impacts on water resources around the world because of the close connections between the climate and hydrological cycle. Rising temperatures will increase evaporation and lead to increases in precipitation, though there will be regional variations in rainfall. Overall, the global supply of freshwater will increase. Both droughts and floods may become more frequent in different regions at different times, and dramatic changes in snowfall and snow melt are expected in mountainous areas. Higher temperatures will also affect water quality in ways that are not well understood. Possible impacts include increased eutrophication.

Climate change could also mean an increase in demand for farm irrigation, garden sprinklers, and perhaps even swimming pools. There is now ample evidence that increased hydrologic variability and change in climate has and will continue have a profound impact on the water sector through the hydrologic cycle, water availability, water demand, and water allocation at the global, regional, basin, and local levels.

Pollution and water protection

Water pollution is one of the main concerns of the world today. The governments of numerous countries have striven to find solutions to reduce this problem. Many pollutants threaten water supplies, but the most widespread, especially in developing countries, is the discharge of raw sewage into natural waters; this method of sewage disposal is the most common method in underdeveloped countries, but also is prevalent in quasi-developed countries such as China, India and Iran. Sewage, sludge, garbage, and even toxic pollutants are all dumped into the water. Even if sewage is treated, problems still arise. Treated sewage forms sludge, which may be placed in landfills, spread out on land, incinerated or dumped at sea. In addition to sewage, nonpoint source pollution such as agricultural runoff is a significant source of pollution in some parts of the world, along with urban storm water runoff and chemical wastes dumped by industries and governments.

Seventh Standard

Subject:-General Science

Topic:- Water Natural Source

Subtopic:-Rainwater Harvesting

Source:- Wikipedia

 

Rainwater Harvesting

 

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer. Uses include water for garden, water for livestock, water for irrigation, cleaning of bathrooms as in first flush, etc. In many places the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation. The harvested water can be used for drinking water as well if the storage is a tank that can be accessed and cleaned when needed.

Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions, and in developed countries is often used to supplement the mains supply. Rainwater harvesting systems are appealing as they are easy to understand, install and operate. They are effective in ‘green droughts’ as water is captured from rainfall where runoff is insufficient to flow into dam storages. The quality of captured rainwater is usually sufficient for most household needs, reducing the need for detergents because rainwater is soft. Financial benefits to the users include that rain is ‘renewable’ at acceptable volumes despite climate change forecasts, and rainwater harvesting systems generally have low running costs, providing water at the point of consumption.

Benefits of widespread rainwater harvesting to the regional reticulated supply system may include reduced treatment, pumping, operation and augmentation costs, reducing peak storm water runoff and storm water processing costs, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced dependence on pumping and potential augmentation through sources such as desalination.

Quality

The concentration of contaminants is reduced significantly by diverting the initial flow of runoff water to waste. Improved water quality can also be obtained by using a floating draw-off mechanism (rather than from the base of the tank) and by using a series of tanks, with draw from the last in series. The stored rainwater may need to be analyzed properly before use in a way appropriate to its safety.

System Setup

Rainwater harvesting systems can be installed with minimal skills.  The system should be sized to meet the water demand throughout the dry season since it must be big enough to support daily water consumption. Specifically, the rainfall capturing area such as a building roof must be large enough to maintain adequate flow. Likewise, the water storage tank should be large enough to contain the captured water.

Vendors

There are three main types of companies operating in the rainwater harvesting industry: makers of water storage, makers of accessories, and integrators. Water storage companies make tanks, barrels, and underground cisterns. Accessories are added to facilitate or improve the water capturing process. Integrators are regional practitioners which install systems.

Present day in India

  • In India, rain water harvesting was first introduced by Andhra Pradesh ex-Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. He made a rule that every house which is going to built in cities of that state must have a percolation pit/rainwater harvesting system. This rule increased the ground water level in good phase. After his term as Chief Minister, the next leaders neglected this system.
  • In the state of Tamil Nadu, rainwater harvesting was made compulsory for every building to avoid ground water depletion. It proved excellent results within five years, and every other state took it as role model. Since its implementation, Chennai saw a 50 percent rise in water level in five years and the water quality significantly improved.
  • In Rajasthan, rainwater harvesting has traditionally been practiced by the people of the Thar Desert. There are many ancient water harvesting systems in Rajasthan, which have now been revived
  • At present, in Pune (in Maharashtra), rainwater harvesting is compulsory for any new society to be registered.
  • An attempt has been made at Dept. of Chemical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore to harvest rainwater using upper surface of a solar still, which was used for water distillation

 

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