Water – the essential element for life
What is Water?
Why does water found only on earth in the Solar system?
Distribution of water on earth
What is Water cycle?
Water cycle components
Factors affecting Water cycle
Uses of water
Affects of water pollution on living species
Wastage of water at our homes
Role of kids
In our solar system, earth is the only planet where existence of life has become possible and the only possible reason is the presence of water on earth. In universe, if we go beyond our solar system, the possibility for existence of extra-terrestrials (Aliens) is only on those universal objects where there is water. In other words it can be said very certainly that water is the vital source of life. Though the water molecules exist on other planets too but there they form other matters there such as vapor and ice which is not sufficient for evolution of life.
Water is an essential element for all living beings on earth. This is the primary source of food for root leveled producers (plants) in all Food web on earth. In other words the flow of life within living species starts from water. The chemical formula of water is H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Water covers around 71% of surface of earth.
Why does water found only on earth in Solar system?
Both the water forming atoms i.e. oxygen and hydrogen exist on other planets too but only earth is the planet, where they bond together to form water (H2O). There are a number of reasons for this:
- Position of the earth:
- The earth is positioned in a habitable zone of solar system. This zone is neither too cold nor hot thus allows the three forms of water to be present simultaneously i.e. solid, liquid and gases.
- The atmosphere of earth:
- The atmosphere of earth is another reason in which greenhouse effect maintains a steady surface temperature through water vapor and carbon dioxide that is very useful for presence of water.
- The Size of earth:
- The size of earth maintains an optimum size of atmosphere too that maintains an optimum temperature. If size of earth would be lesser than existing size, the temperature would also exceed which could result to lose of water from earth through evaporation.
The collective mass of water found on, under and over the earth surface is called the hydrosphere. Water is widely distributed on earth in following three different forms:
- Solid form:
- Ice is the solid form of water which is found as glaciers on hills and icecaps on north and south poles.
- Liquid form:
- Fresh found in lakes, rivers, stream, canal and pond etc. where salted water found in the largest water bodies like seas and oceans.
- Gaseous form:
- Vapors and clouds are the gaseous forms of water.
What is Water Cycle?
Water continuously flows within the components of hydrosphere in a cyclic form called Water cycle. This flow starts from oceans through evaporation of water to atmospheric air where it converts to condensed clouds. Then precipitation converts it to rain and water reaches to earth. The water flows back to oceans through rivers, streams and other water bodies in various forms like surface water, soil water and groundwater etc.
Water cycle is scientifically known as hydrologic cycle.
Water cycle components:
The physical components and some natural processes included to form a cyclic flow of water cycle described below sequentially:
- These are the largest water bodies on earth. Water directly or indirectly reaches to oceans through water cycle.
- This is the process of conversion of water to vapors from water bodies such as oceans, rivers etc. into air.
- This is the process of conversion of water from plant and animal bodies to vapor and flow to air.
- Vapor reached to air through evaporation converts to clouds that are carried away to far places on earth.
- Process of conversion of vapor to condensed air falls to earth in the form of rain.
- Land areas: Rain fallen from air flows over land and goes under the earth too where it flows as underground water.
- Like rivers and streams carry water again to the ocean. Water from other water bodies like lakes, ponds, wells etc. either re-evaporated, reaches underground or used by animals, plants and human beings.
- Water bodies:
Through these multiple ways a cyclic flow of water gets completed.
Factors affecting water cycle
- 1) Natural Climatic changes:
- Though there are many climatic changes like volcano eruption, earthquake, tsunami, natural forest fire that can affect water cycle of a specific zone but global warming is the main climatic change which is affecting a number of natural phenomena on earth very fast.
Affects of Global Warming on earth:
- Rise in temperature of green house gases on earth leads to increase in earth's atmospheric temperature too.
- Increase in global temperature will lead to melting of ice-caps on poles which result to addition of more fresh water to sea. This will lead to change in flow of current (natural streams) in sea which is the main source of flow of winds over the sea surface. The change in direction of winds flow will change the direction of monsoon and will lead to rain on un-expected zones and droughts on rainy zones.
- The increasing temperature over sea surface will intensify the pressure variation that will energize strong hurricanes and increased rainfall due to more evaporation and precipitation. Flooding in rivers will result to disasters in different regions too.
- 2) Human activities:
- Out of many, some main human activities those affect water cycle very badly are as below:
- Population: Increase in population leading to increasing more urban areas which results to scarcity of natural resources and open areas which badly affects the our natural climatic processes like water cycle.
- Deforestation: More population needs more natural resources. For our various types of requirements like residence, industries, agriculture, recreations etc. man is used to cut the jungles. The jungle cutting is called deforestation which badly affects the water cycle of different zones.
- Wars: Heat and energy emitted from war weapons leads to increase global temperature which affects water cycle extremely.
- Nuclear tests: Nuclear radiation is the worst source of global warming.
Uses of water
Human life is completely dependent on water. His very first daily activity starts with pouring water over his face and sleeps with drinking water after dinner. Following are a few important areas where we require water:
For drinking Agriculture Washing Chemical uses Recreation
Beside humans all living species need water to remain alive. All the producers like plants and consumers like birds and animals need water.
Mixing of chemical wastages and dirty elements to fresh water makes it dirty and non drinkable which can kill species living in and out of water. This is called water pollution.
There are many reasons for water pollution. Some of them are as below:
Organic pollutants: Detergent, food processing waste, insecticides etc.
Inorganic pollutants: Industrial by-products, fertilizers used from agriculture, heavy metals from motor vehicles, silts from construction sites etc.
Thermal pollutions:Waste hot water released from thermal power projects elevates the water temperature which decreases oxygen in water that kills the fishes in water. Thermal pollution can also release too cold water from reservoirs to the warm rivers.
Wastages from residences: Wastes thrown by us in water bodies, sewage and waste water.
Waste oil From refineries
Affects of water pollution on living species
The polluted water running-off through rivers and canals reaches in the body of fishes and animals those drink it and also used by plant through photosynthesis. This water contaminates their body and subsequently reaches to human body too when these animal, fishes and plants taken as food and when human drink such water. Cholera and typhoid, vomiting, nervous breakdown and skin diseases are the common health problems that arise due to polluted water.
Wastage of water at homes
Wastage of water is the normal routine we follow in our daily life activities that can be controlled very easily if we put some consideration over it. Followings are some of our daily routines contributing to wastage of water:
Using more water while bathing. Let the water running while brushing teeth. Ignoring a running water tap even after looking at it. In kitchen using more water while cooking and washing utensils. Leaky taps & toilets.
Kids can also contribute a lot to control wastage of water and preventing its pollution by following rules below in their life and also awaring others about them:
Control wastage of water.Plant more trees: Deforestation results to soil erosion, flooding and a disturbed water cycle in a specific zone which leads to scarcity of water. The scarcity of water will adversely affect agriculture and industries, which subsequently affects complete social and economical structure. So, the message is to plant the trees as much as possible in your area and enhance reforestation.
Control water pollution: Keep your surroundings clean to stop water pollution.
Avoid using polythene. Polythene is the main source of water pollution. Polythene thrown by us reaches to drainages which results to chocking water flow that causes more water pollution.
In this article we have explored very important natural element - 'Water' which the precious gift to us from our mother earth. But intentionally or unintentionally we all are contributing to wastage and pollution of this element. Man is consuming natural resources very fast for his personal benefits and disturbing the nature without thinking over its adverse affects that shall be borne by his future generation.
Though we have crossed the limit but still it is most necessary to maintain a balance between nature and humans activities and this requires individual efforts by every human at all fronts wherever his access is possible. We can make efforts to recover from it by controlling human activities like deforestation, making pollution, wastage of natural resources, nuclear tests, wars, and main of the mains is the population growth.
Let us make a pollution free environment through preserving our natural resources.
Ice-caps: Very large size of thick ice sheets spread over the pole areas.
Alien: Living species originated out of earth's atmosphere
Greenhouse effect: Sun rays entering earth's atmosphere are revert back as thermal radiations. This radiation is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and spread within atmosphere to maintain atmospheric temperature.
Green house gases: Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone etc.
Global warming: Rise in temperature of green house gases on earth leads to increase in earth's atmospheric temperature also. This climatic change is affecting our ecological as well as biological systems very fast
Urban areas: An area like cities, towns etc. where large population density resides in comparison to areas surrounding it
Residence: Place where we live
Ecological problem: Scientific problems for living beings relating to natural environment where they live
Biological problem: Problem related to living species regarding their cells, molecules, organs, individuals or ecosystems etc.
Reforestation: Planting trees for increasing forests on earth
Deforestation: Cutting forests from earth
Industrial by-products: The Secondary product released after a chemical or manufacturing processes from industries
Soil erosion: Removal of soil with fast running water and wind, mainly due to uprooting of grass and trees on land
|Author: Kishan Kumar Thakur 20 Sep 2013 Member Level: Silver Points : 10|
i.m kishan kumar thakur
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SDWA was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply. The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. (SDWA does not regulate private wells which serve fewer than 25 individuals.) For more information see:
*. Laws & Statutes
*. Definition of a Public Water System
*. SDWA Fact Sheets
*. Links to our partners- Connect with federal, state and other partner organizations that also work to ensure Americans enjoy safe water.
*. Drinking Water Strategy- Almost one year ago, U.S. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced the Agency's Drinking Water Strategy (DWS) to strengthen public health protection from contaminants in drinking water. An update on the goals set and accomplishments is now available.
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*. Standards and Risk Management– Learn about current and proposed drinking water regulations, basic information about drinking water contaminants, the regulatory process, and more.
*. Primacy– States and Indian Tribes are given primary enforcement responsibility (e.g. primacy) for public water systems in their State if they meet certain requirements.
Millions of Americans receive high quality drinking water every day from their public water systems, (which may be publicly or privately owned). Nonetheless, drinking water safety cannot be taken for granted.