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Sources of Water


Water Resources defined as:


Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful.










environmental activities.

The majority of human uses require fresh water.

97% of the water on the Earth is salt water and 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.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_resources

The Earths water cycle is the global mechanism by which water moves from the air to
the Earth (precipitation) and eventually back to the atmosphere (evaporation).

The principal natural components of this cycle are precipitation, infiltration into the
soil, runoff on the surface, groundwater discharge to surface waters and the oceans,
and evapotranspiration from water bodies, the soil, and plants.

Source: http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/02-03/biofuels/what_bioethanol.htm


The water cycle describes the existence and movement of water on, in, and above the

Earth's water is always in movement and is always changing states, from liquid to vapour
to ice and back again.

The water cycle has been working for billions of years and all life on Earth depends on it
continuing to work; the Earth would be a pretty stale place without it.

The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle or the H2O cycle, describes the
continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.

The water moves from one reservoir to another, such as from river to ocean, or from the
ocean to the atmosphere, by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation,
precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and subsurface flow.



Of all the water on Earth, humans cannot use 99% of it. Of the 1% we can use, 99% is
ground water, and 1% is surface water.


How much freshwater is available in different countries?

The quantity of freshwater that is available to a given country without exceeding the
rate at which it is renewed, can be estimated taking into account the amount of
precipitation, water flows entering and leaving the country, and water shared with other

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has developed and
maintains a widely used database on water known as AQUASTAT. Based on the figures it
contains, the FAO has compiled an index of how much water is, in theory available and,
more particularly, for each person, on average, in each country. This index takes into
account runoff and groundwater replenished by precipitation, water that flows into and
out of a country, and water shared with other countries.

The average amount available per person varies from less than 50 m 3 per year in parts of
the Middle East to over 100 000 m3 per year in humid and sparsely populated areas.


How much freshwater is available in different countries?

Distribution of Earth's Water

SOURCE: http://www.academia.edu/902661/Water_in_Crisis_Chapter_2_Oxford_University_Press_1993



Surface water is any water that is on the surface of the Earth.

This includes rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, and reservoirs

Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation and naturally

Surface Water

lost through discharge to the oceans, evaporation, evapotranspiration

and groundwater recharge.

Although the only natural input to any surface water system is

precipitation within its watershed

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.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_resources#Surface_water

Panorama of a natural wetland (Sinclair Wetlands, New Zealand)

Lake Chungar and Parinacota volcano in northern Chile



Groundwater is fresh water located in the subsurface 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 groundwater that is
closely associated with surface water and deep groundwater in an aquifer.

The natural input to groundwater is seepage from surface water. The natural
outputs from groundwater are springs and seepage to the oceans.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_resources#Surface_water

Groundwater lies beneath the surface of the earth, but is affected by surface

Groundwater is affected by changes to all of the earth earths s spheres due

to linkage through the hydrologic cycle


Water percolates downward through permeable rock through the zone of


Water then accumulates in the zone of saturation

The water table is the upper surface of the zone of saturation

its surface follows the contours of the ground above

the water table controls the movement of surface water

Relative groundwater travel times in the subsurface



A layer of rock that is permeable to water flow in useable amounts

UNCONSOLIDATED AQUIFER: loose sand and gravel

CONSOLIDATED AQUIFER: porous rock, often sandstone or



A layer of rock that is impermeable to water flow in usable amounts

Confined Aquifer

A layer of permeable rock between two impermeable layers

An aquifer between two aquicludes

Unconfined Aquifer

An aquifer without an overlying aquiclude

Intersections of the water table with the surface


Springs: groundwater flows out of the ground


Effluent streams: supplied by surrounding aquifer


Influent streams: supply the local aquifer



Groundwater flows at a slower rate than surface water

Surface water contamination is quickly purged (elsewhere)

Groundwater contamination is permanent and difficult to remediate


Water use in India: Similar to the Low and middle income group
Source: Trends in Water Use in the India, 1950 to 2005 (http://ga.water..gov/edu/wateruse-trends.html

How can the growing demand for water be met?

Rainwater has been collected for thousands of years in many parts of the world. Today,
this technique is used in Asia to replenish underground supplies. It is relatively
inexpensive and has the advantage of allowing local communities to develop and
maintain the required structures themselves.

Diverting surface water into the ground can help reduce losses from evaporation,
compensate for variations in flow, and improve quality. Middle East and Mediterranean
regions are applying this strategy.

Dams and reservoirs have been built to store water for irrigation and drinking.
Moreover dams can provide power and help control floods, but they can also bring about
undesirable social and environmental impacts.

Desalinated water seawater and other salty water that has been turned into
freshwater is used by cities and by industries, especially in the Middle East. The cost of
this technique has dropped sharply, but it relies heavily on energy from fossil fuels and
hence raises waste management and climate change issues.


Our water resources are under pressure. More reliable information is still needed regarding the quality and
quantity of available water, and how this availability varies in time and from place to place.
Human activities affect the water cycle in many ways, which needs to be understood and quantified to
manage water resources responsibly and sustainably.
It is important to enhance the understanding of all elements of the water cycle and how human activities
affect it, so that water resources can be protected and developed sustainably.
It has become evident that:
Changes in climate are affecting water availability
Pollution, water diversions and uncertainties about the abundance of water are threatening
economic growth, environment, and health.
Underground water is often being overexploited and polluted.
To augment water supply, traditional techniques such as rainwater collection are now being
supplemented by newer technologies like desalination and water reuse.
Political support is needed to improve information collection that can in turn enable better decision
making about the management and use of water.