Humans and Water by Aryan
HOW HUMANS USE WATER
Every organism on earth depends on water, humans are the ones who use it the most, We use large amounts of water each day, as water serves many different purposes. We use water to drink, to do the dishes, to take a shower, to flush the toilet, to cook dinner and for many other purposes. But water is not only used for home purposes, humans also use water for industry and in agriculture. In agriculture water is mainly used to water crops, but in industry use it is used for lots of things. It can serve as an ingredient of a product, but it can also be a part of making the product. Water can be used to cool substances, for transportation and cleaning of raw materials, for boiling or cooking, for flushing, as a cleaning agent and for product transport by ships. Canadians currently use an average of 329 litres of water per person, per day, Industry uses about 22% for a coolant, solvent, for washing, and for diluting pollutants. Domestic use is only about 5% and water is used for irrigation in agriculture the most, about 73%.
Irrigation uses water to provide food for us, if the product is grown on irrigated land then it can be sold for money to other countries. Irrigation also helps provide jobs for people in agriculture. Irrigation is very useful but can cause problems, over-irrigation can dissolve salts into soil and most plants don’t grow in salty soil.
Industries use water in some good ways but also bad ways, they use it to make plastic which is used very much in many countries. They also use it as a coolant which is not good, the factory takes water out of a lake or pond and cools their equipment but when the water is released back into the lake, it is very hot. This might not be a big deal but the fish will not be prepared for this and the hot water will not have much oxygen, the fish will die and plants will die because the plants won’t be able to survive in hot water and the fish won’t have enough oxygen.
At home humans use water for drinking and washing, in some countries people don’t have clean water piped into their homes, this might be because the distribution system doesn’t exist or because people can’t pay for the water to come to their house. The people might have to walk many kilometers to access safe water.
HOW WATER USAGE IMPACTS WATER QUALITY
Our Water Usage impacts the quality of our water greatly, since much of the factors that hurt aquatic animals and organisms are caused by human activities. Some of these activities are from Factories, Power Stations, Runoff from farmland, Runoff from cities, Habitat destruction, Sewage, and Oil spills.
Factories- Add dangerous chemicals to water and kill animals with chemicals or with thermal pollution.
Power Stations-Remove warm water from their facilities into lakes and rivers, which kills animals living in the water.This is known as thermal pollution.
Runoff(Farmland)- Contains fertilizers that can cause excessive plant growth. May also contain herbicides and pesticides that kill animals.
Runoff(Cities)- Contain large amounts of oil and other chemicals, including salt. These affect plants and animals in a bad way.
Habitat Destruction-takes away animal homes and plant growth areas.
Sewage- Contains lots of nitrogen, which increases the amount of microorganisms, the microorganisms use up all the oxygen and without oxygen, the fish will suffocate. Phosphorus increases plant growth, which can change the whole ecosystem.
Oil spills- Can harm animals that are in the water, near the water, or on the water.
HOW ARE WE MEASURING THESE IMPACTS?
We measure these impacts by monitoring them, water supplies need to be monitored regularly to make sure that water quality levels are high. Water technicians have to regularly measure the chemicals and organisms in water, this way they are able to find problems and change the way the water is treated to destroy them. When we monitor the impacts we can see how much is being impacted, what we need to change and when we need to do it.
MODERN PRACTICES TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY
There are some modern practices that are being implemented to improve our water quality. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010 from land, that’s five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.
One of these practices is the ocean plastic collecting tubes. These are a series of floating tubes that will be anchored in a deep layer of ocean water, almost 2,000 feet deep, where currents are slower than at the surface. That means that floating plastic and trash will move faster than the tubes themselves, concentrating into a central area where ships would collect the trash once a month.
The SeaBin is another invention that will improve water quality, this is a bucket with a pump and water filtration system that is designed to suck debris from any marina or dock. The bucket includes an optional oil-water separator system that will pull oil right out of the ocean, then spit out cleaner water through the other side of the pump.
The British company Recycling Technologies is using a machine the size of a tennis court in a trash processing center to break down a variety of plastic products, including saran wrap and electronics, and turn them into usable materials or energy-producing oil.