Hydrological Cyclegroundwater Agricultural Industry Sedimentation

An American family uses about 100 gallons of water each day according to statistics.  When you consider the number of countries around the world who don’t have clean water to drink, we are in an enviable position.  However, each of us has the responsibility of protecting our water.  We can advocate that industries not pollute our precious water supply by disposing their waste in a manner that protects water.  The United States have more 330 million acres of agricultural land that produce an abundant supply of food and other products; this acreage impacts our water supply many times in a negative way. 

 When we consider that over 70% of the planet is covered by water, it is mind boggling to consider that human are primarily responsible for water pollution. The importance of groundwater cannot be over stated for human existence.   The process of groundwater is described and called the “Hydrological cycle.”

 “The hydrological cycle (also known as the water cycle) is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again.  The sun’s heat provides energy to evaporate water from the earth’s surface (oceans, lakes, etc.).  Plants also lose water to the air-this is called transpiration.  The water vapor eventually condenses, forming tiny droplets in clouds.  When the clouds meet cool air over land, precipitation (rain, sleet, or snow) is triggered, and water returns to the land (or sea).  Some of the precipitation soaks into the ground.  Some of the underground water is trapped between rocks or clay layers- this is called groundwater.”

 The agricultural industry produces sedimentation, which is problematic to the water supply.  Water is impacted in the following way as well as fish:

 “Rain water carries soil particles (sediment) and dumps them into nearby lakes or streams.  Too much sediment can cloud the water, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches aquatic plants.  It can also clog the gills of fish or smother fish larvae.”

 When it rains, water travels over the ground and picks up organic material from animals and humans.  The water ends up in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, springs and wells- where it may be finally be used as drinking water.  Contamination of the water may come from microbial sources, such as agricultural livestock operations or wildlife.  In the United States animal feeding operations and farms generate about 500 million tons on manure each year.

 Conserving water is often not considered as an environmental concern by many people.  Each of us has a responsibility to protect our water supply and we can do our part to make a difference.  Here are some practical tips to follow:

       –         Excess use of lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides, since they contain chemicals that can reach the water supply.

       –     Picking up after your pets.

       –         Disposing of chemicals such as motor oil and sending to recycling    center.

       –         Water lawn early in the morning or late evening to avoid evaporation

       –         Never water on a windy, rainy or hot day.

      –         Use a broom to remove debris from driveway or sideway instead  of water.

      –         Apply mulch around flower and shrubs to reduce evaporation and promote plant growth.

               This will also control weed growth. 

      –         Allow grass to grow longer.  Mow your grass at a higher level. 

               This will help to reduce evaporation and slow weed growth.  Do not prune.