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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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Water Resources & Use

  • Water is a molecule with polar covalent bonds, hydrogen bonding between molecules, high specific heat, high surface tension, cohesion/adhesion, less density as a solid than liquid, and it’s nature’s solvent
  • Worldwide, water is found in (ranked from highest percentage to lowest): oceans, icecaps/glaciers, groundwater, surface water (lakes, swamps, rivers)
  • Water budgets track where water goes with models (involves precipitation, evaporation, runoff)
  • Groundwater is water below the water table, and there are recharge zones and discharge zones. An aquifer is an area underground from which groundwater can be extracted. Streams can be effluent or influent, perennial or ephemeral
  • Over-extraction and overuse of groundwater can have major problems: drought, damage to the ecosystem, land subsidence)
  • Desalination is an option to produce freshwater from salt water, but it is very expensive and the discharge from the process is not environmentally friendly
  • Off-stream and in-stream use of surface water must be taken into account
  • The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan is a modern lesson in the consequences of diverting water from a stream over the long run
  • Water transport (for consumption and power) has become increasingly crucial in recent years
  • Suggestions for conserving agricultural water use: lower subsidies, lining/covering canals, more effective irrigation, and increased use of drought-resistant crops
  • Suggestions for conserving home water use: less use of lawns, low flow faucets/toilets, turn off water when not used, minimal-use appliances, reduce bath/shower volumes, etc.
  • Water sustainability (careful use and protection of water resources) and your virtual water footprint (green, blue, and gray) are important to consider
  • Wetlands must be conserved as much as possible, and we must be careful with the installation of more large-scale dams (due to major environmental concerns)

Water Resources & Use

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • Water Basics
    • Hydrologics: A Global Perspective
    • Water Supply
    • Groundwater and Streams
    • Groundwater Use and Problems
    • Desalination
    • Off-Stream and In-Stream Use
    • Aral Sea Wake-Up Call
    • Water Transport and Trends in Use
    • Water Conservation in Agriculture
    • Water Conservation for Homes/ Cities
    • Water Sustainability
    • Virtual Water Footprint
    • Wetlands and Their Importance
    • Dams and Their Effects
    • Intro 0:00
    • Water Basics 0:05
      • Polar Covalently Bonded Molecule
      • Hydrogen Bonds are Between Neighboring H2Os
      • High Specific Heat
      • Universal Solvent
      • High Surface Tension
      • Cohesion Adhesion
      • Solid Form is Less Dense Than the Liquid Form
      • Filters Out Harmful UV Radiation
      • Sunlight Penetrates Water to Variable Depths
    • Hydrologics: A Global Perspective 6:39
      • Earth's Water
      • Freshwater
      • Fresh Surface Water
      • Projection
    • Water Supply 10:48
      • Water Budget
      • Missouri River Example
      • Surface Water Supply Can Never Be As High As Average Annual Runoff
    • Groundwater and Streams 14:56
      • Groundwater
      • Recharge Zones vs. Discharge Zones
      • Aquifer
      • Streams: Effluent or Influent, Perennial or Ephemeral
    • Groundwater Use and Problems 20:04
      • Lots of Shallow Groundwater Available in U.S.
      • Groundwater Withdrawals Exceeds Natural Inflow in Many Areas
      • Area With the Worst Overdraft Problem
    • Desalination 23:45
      • More Fresh Water Can be Made Available Through This Process
      • Expensive
      • Concerns
    • Off-Stream and In-Stream Use 26:16
      • Off-Stream
      • In-Stream
    • Aral Sea Wake-Up Call 31:16
      • Dying Due to Diverting River Water for Agricultural Use
      • Environmental Hazards Result
      • Dam Constructed and Conservation Efforts
    • Water Transport and Trends in Use 34:43
      • Price Continues to Go Up
      • CA Dichotomy
      • Trends in Water Use from 1950-2005
    • Water Conservation in Agriculture 38:53
      • Careful Use and Protection of Water
      • Suggestions for Conserving
    • Water Conservation for Homes/ Cities 43:31
      • Growing Populations in Numerous Cities are Heading for a Situation Where the Water Supply is Exhausted
      • Suggestions for Conserving
    • Water Sustainability 49:17
      • Careful Use and Protection of Water
      • Criteria for Sustainable Water Use
      • Example: Artificial Recharge
    • Virtual Water Footprint 51:51
      • Amount of Water Used to Produce a Product
      • Water Export/ Import Varies by Continent
      • Use of Water for Making Products is Important to Consider
      • Footprint: Total Volume Used to Product Services
    • Wetlands and Their Importance 58:29
      • Natural Sponge
      • Groundwater Recharge
      • Endangered Animals Rely on Them
      • Help Purify Water
      • Buffer for Storms/Waves
      • Lots of Carbon Storage
      • Aesthetically Pleasing
    • Dams and Their Effects 1:01:26
      • Environmental Effects of Dams
      • Three Gorges Dam, China
      • Marmot Dam Restoration, Oregon