Water resources are natural resources that are potentially useful for humans—for example, a source of drinking and irrigation. Unfortunately, 97% of the water on earth is saltwater, and only 3% is freshwater. Out of this 3%, two-thirds are frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps.
Main resources of Water
The primary water resources are oceans, rivers, and lakes; other available include groundwater, deep surface waters, rain, glaciers, and permanent snowfields.
The artificial resources are wastewater recycling and desalinated seawater.
Importance of Water Resources
Water resources are very important for maintaining an adequate food supply and a productive environment for all living organisms. As the human population and economies grow, global freshwater demand has increased rapidly. Water usage includes agriculture, industrial, household, recreational, and environmental activities.
Ways to protect and conserve Ground Water
The ways to protect and conserve groundwater are as follows:
One way is to properly dispose of chemicals, use fewer fertilizers, use minimum water while showering and brushing teeth, and be careful about tap leakages.
Water resources are threatened by water scarcity, water pollution, water conflict, and climate change. Though freshwater is a renewable resource, the world’s groundwater supply is steadily decreasing, most prominently in Asia, South America, and North America.
The framework for allocating water resources to water users is known as water rights.
Surface water is water in a river, lake, or freshwater wetland. It is replenished by precipitation and naturally lost through discharge to the ocean and some amount to recharge the groundwater. The only natural input is precipitation within its watershed. The total quantity of water depends on the storage capacity in lakes, wetlands, and artificial reservoirs. Humans often increase storage capacity by constructing reservoirs and paving areas and channeling streamflow. Surface water can be augmented by importing surface water from another watershed through a canal or pipeline.
Water from Glaciers
The melting of water from glaciers is considered to be surface water. The Himalayas, often called the “roof of the world,” contains some of the most extensive and high-altitude areas on earth and the greatest area of glaciers. Ten of Asia’s largest rivers flow from there. Billions of people’s livelihood depend on them.
The groundwater is the water present beneath the earth’s surface in rock and soil pore spaces and the fractures of rock formation. About 30% of freshwater available in the world is groundwater. Groundwater is recharged from the surface water; it may discharge from the surface naturally as springs.
River water is mainly the water from rain and melting water from glaciers, which may be fully charging the groundwater or depleting it, where there are potholes and underground rivers.
An Artificial Source of Usable Water
This can include treated wastewater and desalinated seawater. Water reclamation converts wastewater or industrial wastewater that can be reused for various purposes such as agriculture reuse, environmental reuse, industrial reuse, and residence for toilet flushing. Such reclamation allows water to remain as an alternative water source to reduce scarcity.
It is a process that takes away mineral components from the saline water. It also refers to the removal of salts and minerals. Especially sea water is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption and irrigation. It is also used on ships and submarines. The current interest in desalinization focuses on the cost-effectiveness of producing freshwater.
70 % of water is used for irrigation, 20% for industries, and 10% for drinking and domestic uses.
Challenges and threats
· The water crisis is the lack of freshwater resources to meet the standard water demand. There are two types of water scarcity. The first is physical and economic water scarcity. Physical scarcity is where there is not enough water to meet the demands. Economic scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in infrastructure and technology to store and draw water.
· Water pollution usually happens as a result of human activities. Water pollution in water bodies (lakes, rivers) is caused by contamination by human beings (sewage discharge, industrial activities).
· Water conflict describes a conflict within countries, states, or groups over the right to assess water resources. The UN recognizes that water disputes result from opposing interests of water users. A wide range of water conflicts has appeared throughout history, though rarely traditional wars waged over water alone. Instead, water has historically been a source of tension and a factor in conflicts that start for other reasons. The disputes arise due to territorial disputes, a fight for resources, and strategic advantage.
Water information is fundamental to national and local economic well-being and to protecting life and property. It aims to monitor, assess, conduct targeted research, and deliver information on a wide range of water resources and conditions, including string flow, groundwater, water quality, and water use and availability to the public.
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