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The Water Cycle
The Water Cycle. Figure illustrates the water cycle on, above, and below the Earth's surface. Source: U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey, The Water Cycle .

Human interactions with the water cycle

Freshwater supply is one of the most important provisioning ecosystem services on which human well-being depends. By 2000, the rate of our water extraction from rivers and aquifers had risen to almost 4000 cubic kilometers per year. The greatest use of this water is for irrigation in agriculture, but significant quantities of water are also extracted for public and municipal use, as well as industrial applications and power generation. Other major human interventions in the water cycle involve changes in land cover and infrastructure development of river networks. As we have deforested areas for wood supply and agricultural development we have reduced the amount of vegetation, which naturally acts to trap precipitation as it falls and slow the rate of infiltration into the ground. As a consequence, surface runoff has increased. This, in turn, means flood peaks are greater and erosion is increased. Erosion lowers soil quality and deposits sediment in river channels, where it can block navigation and harm aquatic plants and animals. Where agricultural land is also drained these effects can be magnified. Urbanization also accelerates streamflow by preventing precipitation from filtering into the soil and shunting it into drainage systems. Additional physical infrastructure has been added to river networks with the aim of altering the volume, timing, and direction of water flows for human benefit. This is achieved with reservoirs, weirs, and diversion channels. For example, so much water is removed or redirected from the Colorado River in the western United States that, despite its considerable size, in some years it is dry before reaching the sea in Mexico. We also exploit waterways through their use for navigation, recreation, hydroelectricity generation and waste disposal. These activities, especially waste disposal, do not necessarily involve removal of water, but do have impacts on water quality and water flow that have negative consequences for the physical and biological properties of aquatic ecosystems.

The water cycle is key to the ecosystem service of climate regulation as well as being an essential supporting service that impacts the function of all ecosystems. Consider the widespread impacts on diverse natural and human systems when major droughts or floods occur. Consequently, human disruptions of the natural water cycle have many undesirable effects and challenge sustainable development. There are two major concerns. First, the need to balance rising human demand with the need to make our water use sustainable by reversing ecosystem damage from excess removal and pollution of water. Traditionally, considerable emphasis has been on finding and accessing more supply, but the negative environmental impacts of this approach are now appreciated, and improving the efficiency of water use is now a major goal. Second, there is a need for a safe water supply in many parts of the world, which depends on reducing water pollution and improving water treatment facilities.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how to synthesize TiO2 nanoparticles by chemical methods
Zubear
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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