Water Geography Term Paper

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Water Geography - Definitions - Safe Water - Dams

Water surplus/Deficit

Water surplus and water deficits are the polar opposites of one another. A water surplus refers to a period in time where there is an abundance of water, enough water for plants to feed on and aquatic life to thrive on. A water surplus may result from natural causes including high precipitation levels or a tropical environment. A water deficit occurs when there is not an abundance of water, and thus stored or saved water must be utilized.

When there is enough rain for example, plant and aquatic life store the water they need, and use it during times when precipitation is not high enough to provide for daily use. Water deficits are common in many areas of the world, including arid regions, which is one reason humans often attempt to store water through various means.

Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding is a tool that induces artificial rain, typically by creating condensation nuclei from substances including dry ice (Oxford University Press, 1). Others refer to the process of dropping chemicals into clouds to promote rain or precipitation as "weather modification" whereby scientists manipulate the weather to produce precipitation. Some resorts including ski resorts or other popular tourist attractions take advantage of cloud seeding during cold months to encourage greater snowfall. There are no guarantees however that such actions will result in a heavier winter.

Giardiasis/CryptosporidiumGet full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Water Geography Assignment

Giardiasis is an infection typically caused by a parasite. Giardiasis thrives in polluted water, although one can become ill through direct contact with the organism causing the disease. Formally named "Giardia Lamblia" this type of infection is common throughout the world and typically results in diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting. Like Giardiasis, cryptosporidium may also cause a person to fall ill with diarrhea and related symptoms. Cryptosporidium is also a parasite that will live in a human or animal host, usually found in the intestines. This disease sometimes follows long summers when children and adults swim in contaminated waters or swimming pools. If left untreated this parasite can pose a life threatening risk for human beings.

Doctrine of Prior Appropriations doctrine of prior appropriations is a formal right offered to a person, persons or group to claim water and appropriate water accordingly. The doctrine allows people to use the water for various purposes which may include irrigation, the ability to sustain wildlife and the ability to use water for energy.

Scour and Fill/Levees

Scour and fill refer to the erosion or degradation that occurs in landscapes, usually referring to short-term rather than long-term problems. To scour and fill, one must first create a channel by digging out the dirt or filling, and then fill the gap using a stream of water. This can be a naturally occurring process, as in the case where flooding results in erosion and the creation of new channels for the dispersal of water to various regions. A levee usually refers to a manmade structure created to help prevent the risk of flooding by a river through overflowing. Levees act in much the same way as dams do. Typically levees exist near populations or near places where a river would land.

Dissolved Load/Suspended Load/Bed Load dissolved load refers to the material dissolved in and then carried by water. Usually streams or rivers carry the material solution. A suspended load refers to a stream only, and indicates the part of the stream load that remains in suspension for longer than average periods. This is not the same as a dissolved load, where materials are carried by the water; in this case materials are suspended on a long-term basis. Much like a dissolved load, a bed load also refers to a situation where a natural stream carries particles along its flow. Rather than carry a solution of minerals however, as is the case with a dissolved load, a bed load involves carrying larger particles including soil, sand and gravel.

Chlorination/Trihalomethanes (THMs)

Chlorination is a process of "chlorinity," involving the assessment of the chlorine and halides levels of streams, rivers and seawater. Trihalomethanes are chemical substances that often occur in water that is chlorinated. THMs have three halogen atoms. Many believe trihalomethanes form as a result of a reaction between water and added chlorine, or the process of chlorination.

Anadromous Fish/Catadromous Fish

Anadromous fish refer to those fish that tend to migrate and remain in rivers far from the sea; they prefer to reproduce or breed in fresh rather than seawater. Anadromous fish then return to the sea where they live the majority of the time. Anadromous fish are the opposite of catadromous fish because of their breeding habits and preferred location for living. Unlike anadromous fish, catadromous fish prefer to spawn in sea water, but tend to live most of their lives in fresh water. A good example of catadromous species includes eels.

Part II - the Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act or SDWA is a federal law first enacted in 1974 (and subsequently revised in 1996) promoting better standards for public drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting and maintaining the standards and provisions governed by this act.

Under the provisions of the new act, officials are required to protect drinking water and the sources of water which may include reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams to name a few (EPA, 2006). Private wells serving less than 25 people are excluded from the standards enacted by the SDWA (EPA, 2006). The EPA has the authority to set and create standards for water that is manmade or naturally occurring, and overseas pollutants that may be manmade or naturally occurring.

According to the EPAs official site, all public municipal water systems within the U.S. are required to abide by the standards enacted by the SDWA. Primary drinking water regulations are those that the EPA can legally enforce and apply to public systems. These regulations help limit the percentage of contaminants either natural or manmade in drinking water (EPA, 2006). Contaminants monitored include microorganisms, disinfectants and their byproducts, organic and inorganic chemicals and similar products (EPA, 2006). MCL (maximum contaminant level) refers to the amount of organism or contaminate allowable per liter of water, which in some cases (as in the cryptosporidium contaminant) must be zero (EPA, 2006). All standards associated with the primary regulations involve MCLs for specified contaminants.

The secondary drinking water regulations, sometimes referred to as the "NSDWRs" or "secondary standards" according to the EPA, are guidelines only provided by the EPA that will help improve the quality of drinking water provided to the public (EPA, 2006). While these standards are not enforceable, many states accept them and participate in or follow them to promote healthier drinking water. Secondary standards regulations monitor the amounts of many trace minerals, metals and dissolved solids. The EPA has established a recommended level for each of these contaminants; for example, those complying with the secondary standards will ensure aluminum levels remain below.05 to.2 mg/L and copper is no higher than 1.0 mg/L (EPA, 2006). Among the other elements guidelines are established for include: color, chloride, foaming agents, iron, manganese, odor, pH, silver and sulfate (EPA, 2006). The EPA has also under the secondary standards established a total overall guideline for non-mandatory contaminants at 500 mg/L (EPA, 2006).

There are also other contaminants in drinking water that are not candidates for regulation, among which include MTBE (methyl-t-butyl-ether) in water (EPA, 2006). Under the SDWA, state officials and agents are also responsible for creating "barriers" that will protect drinking water from contamination. These may include the use of distribution systems and the act of educating the public about water pollution and safety (EPA, 2006). If water supply agencies do not comply with the standards and regulations for testing established by the SDWA, they are liable for prosecution by federal and state law.

The EPA typically will issue "administrative orders, take legal actions, and fine utilities" that do not comply with any portions of the regulation (EPA, 2006). Water supply systems may shut down if they become contaminated. In cases as this state agencies and testing authorities have an obligation to notify the public immediately to prevent the spread of disease among animals and human beings; they may also provide guidelines for protecting individuals from contamination when pollution is detected at dangerous levels.

Part III Essay Dams

There are multiple advantages and disadvantages of building dams on rivers. In this section we will explore five primary advantages and disadvantages of dams.


Dams serve many purposes, one of which includes preventing flooding. Dams can prevent flooding by controlling the flow of rivers and the amount of water that rivers contain or disperse into residential areas. Another advantage of dams is their ability to provide hydro or water-based power for electricity in homes and businesses. The use of water can be far more economical in some regions of the world than other sources of power. Dams also enable communities to support and feed themselves.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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