• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Citing a number of contemporary issues, evaluate pressures on water and discuss the means by which the resource might be better managed in the future.

Extracts from this document...


Citing a number of contemporary issues, evaluate pressures on WATER and discuss the means by which the resource might be better managed in the future. Water, after air perhaps, is the most precious resource available for use. Humans cannot survive much more than 5 days without drinking water, we need it to grow crops and feed animals, for cleaning and cooking, and for processing all man made goods and the provision of services. Although water is abundant on earth 96.5% of the water is saline (Pennington & Cech, 2010) which is undrinkable and unsuitable for agriculture and industry. A further 1.7% is stored as frozen water. So when discussing water as a resource, in this case, it is the 1.7% that exists as groundwater, in rivers, lakes, wetlands and soils that is being referred to, although not all of this is accessible. Currently the population of the world is over 6.8 billion (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010) and population growth worldwide is about 1.17% per year (Google, 2008). Life expectancy is increasing and coupled with these population factors are advancements in human society which are increasing our demands on water resources. ...read more.


As glaciers retreat, the amount of freshwater available during spring and summer times declines, having major repercussions on the availability of water long term. Tajikistan, a country with over 8000 glaciers providing freshwater to its rivers, is experiencing diminished water flow from the glaciers (Oxfam, 2010). Canadians in British Columbia have similar concerns as snowpacks, which usually recharge lakes and rivers, remained at low levels this winter (The Vancouver Sun, 2010). Increasingly dams have been used as an answer for large scale domestic and irrigation supply, so much so that by the end of the 20th century at least 45,000 large dams had been built worldwide (World Commission on Dams, 2000). But dams by their nature block the flow of sediment and nutrients downstream, allowing trapped vegetation to rot, letting off methane gas and disrupting fish migration often having huge repercussions for communities downstream. Also it is not unusual for rivers to cross more than one border, and this may contribute to political tension. Currently a drought in SE Asia has seen water levels of the Mekong river drop which is causing suspicion and anger to be directed at China, who are also experiencing drought, and have four dams built upstream (Probe International, 2010). ...read more.


The greatest inefficiency of all water use is in the agricultural sector, and greater management and technological advancement is needed in this area. In the past water resources for farming was managed more efficiently, but this has been pushed out by mass irrigation. Precision agriculture consists of using sensing equipment such as GPS and historical maps to deliver inputs such as water and fertilizer where and when needed by the crop (Bongiovanni & Lowenberg-Deboer, 2004). Drip-fed irrigation is the most efficient in that it delivers water to the plant roots rather than spraying it into the air, thus reducing evaporation and enhancing soil quality (Black & King, 2009). Hydroponics is a soil-less style of growing which can also be water efficient and recently has been coupled with aquaculture. Aquaponics, as it is termed, uses "nutrient rich effluent from fish tanks to fertigate hydroponic production beds" (Aquaponics, 2006). Projects like this increase water use efficiency and a greater realisation of the pressures on our water resources will see projects like this being rewarded for forward thinking and water stewardship. All in all we need to realise the value of our freshwater system and understand the inefficiencies and flaws in our use of it which has created reason for concern. Without this vital understanding our planet may be pushed to its extreme. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Environmental Sciences section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Overall this is a good discussion of some of the key issues affecting water supplies in the world. There is evidence of extensive relevant research. It could be improved by being clearer about the issues and pressures. Where are the biggest problems? Which countries or users are being most wasteful? Who is being more efficient? And why? It would also benefit from a more thorough conclusion.

Marked by teacher Nigel Fisher 16/02/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Environmental Sciences essays

  1. Introduction To Events Management 1 Assessment 4EM 001

    As many countries, therefore political aspects, and cultures become involved with the organisation of such an event and the taking place. Even though for those attending this could be interpreted as a personal event. An example of this would be the Olympic Games.

  2. Desertification – Climate Change or Human Influences?

    Constant harvesting of the large areas of groundnuts due to encouragement from developed countries, like France - with whom they could exchange this product for staple foodstuffs - greatly reduced the amount of fallow land. This meant that nomads who had previously used the land for grazing had to move

  1. Global warming and the basic mechanisms of climate change.

    As a result, Parties in Annex 1 shall: "individually or jointly, ensure that their aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions of the greenhouse gases listed in Annex A do not exceed their assigned amounts, calculated pursuant to their qualified emission limitations and reduction commitments inscribed in Annex B and in accordance

  2. How should the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants be disposed of? Why has ...

    To create less heat, the rods are lowered into the uranium bundle. The rods can also be lowered completely into the uranium bundle to shut the reactor down in the case of an accident or to change the fuel. The uranium bundle acts as an extremely high-energy source of heat.

  1. To what extent is Climate Change caused by Human Activity?

    Mike Lockwood and colleagues from The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) argue that the Sun's magnetic field has doubled over the century, and that this natural "solar forcing" has affected the climate (Nature 399-437). Where as Simon Tett and colleagues from the UK's Meteorological Office in Reading argue that while solar

  2. Discuss the Possible Mechanisms for Short-term Climate Change within the Quaternary.

    NADW formation changes are recorded in carbon isotope ratios or cadmium variations in benthic Foraminifera, dependent on temperature. At the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) NADW formation decreased significantly, then decreased further or ceased completely before the climatic warming at 12.8-12.5 ka BP.

  1. Describe the processes responsible for ice movements. (20)Explain what factors influence the rate of ...

    the glacier has to have a film of melt water at the base. The deformation occurs when the water pressure in the pores or spaces between the sediment grains increases sufficiently to reduce the resistance between the other grains. This allows the sediment grains to flow relative to one another as a slurry like mass.

  2. Compare and Contrast the use of setting in at least two of the texts ...

    Thus depicting the social issues and capitalism of the time and place the novel is set, whereas Angela Carter sets most of her novel 'The Magic Toyshop' in London, where a mass of concealed relationships, secrets and indirect forms of communication can be found, an opportunity allowing for the novelist to weave this into the plot.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work