The amount of freshwater produced by the hydrological cycle is beyond human control. They can, however, greatly enhance the amount of water accessible for people to consume. The problem of insufficient drinking water is driven by water management and distribution issues rather than a lack of global water resources. These concerns are frequently rooted in political, social, and economic issues, yet there are remedies available.
Watershed management is one of the most effective ways for communities to improve the quality, quantity, and consistency of their water supplies. Controlling erosion and runoff is always a priority when it comes to watershed management. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. For millennia, contour farming and terracing have been used in many rural places around the world. Surface runoff collection in metropolitan areas can provide water for immediate consumption while also improving water quality by allowing sediments and toxins to settle out before being used or released downstream. Water gathered in this manner can also be allowed to percolate into the ground, increasing groundwater resources.
Humans have just lately discovered hoe to process natural processes, duplicate them, and combine them with other technologies to improve water quality. Natural systems have been utilized to safeguard water quality and reduce sediment and streamflow changes in streams, such as vegetated riparian “buffer zones” and rebuilt wetlands.
Lakes and reservoirs act as long-term, large-scale water storage facilities. Water collected in these bodies can help to reduce seasonal and even annual variations in precipitation and runoff. However, there are certain disadvantages to reservoirs. Evaporation occurs in open water, while sedimentation occurs in reservoirs, reducing the amount of water that can be stored. Reservoirs have a social cost if individuals are forced to relocate because their homes are on flooded ground. Reservoirs may also affect streamflow patterns and cause changes in water quality.
Many towns treat groundwater aquifers and surface water as though they were one resource. Conjunctive usage is the term for this technique, and it can help you use water resources more efficiently. When surface water is abundant (during wet seasons and wet years), a common strategy is to use more surface water, and when surface water is scarce, to use more ground water. Conjunctive usage, on the other hand, can be a lot trickier. Artificial recharge is a method that involves returning excess surface water or treated wastewater below to replenish aquifer reserves for future use, either by natural seepage or injection wells.
Find out more about earth’s water sources here.