Water Essay Research Paper Most living things

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Water Essay, Research Paper Most living things are made up of water, and a healthy lifestyle requires clean water. So if a planet is to sustain life, it is important for us to ensure that our most valuable resource is not taken for granted. While we cannot survive without water, it can also be the carrier of disease and even death if it is polluted. Human modification of the natural environment is an ancient phenomenon. It has been estimated that around 75 percent of the habitable land on the planet has been disturbed to some degree. (Greenpeace, 98) Increasing population levels, increasing industrial activity, and more extensive agriculture have accompanied this disturbance. The world does have a reliable supply of fresh ground water as long as we don’t contaminate or

overuse it, as it replenishes slowly. Water covers approximately 71 percent of the earth’s surface, but less than 3 percent is accessible ground water, lakes and waterways, moisture in the soil and water vapour. (Study Guide, 1998) It has become quite clear that both water quality and quantity influence issues involved with health. It is my opinion that humans cause the major problems, which are over population, surface water run-off, and industrial waste. HISTORICAL OVERVEIW This is a brief historical review of drinking water. This review will embrace three periods that seem to set out significant changes in approaches to producing acceptable drinking water. I have characterised these periods as follows: The ancient period The ancient period covered a time when most population

groups depended upon individual initiatives for the quality of the water consumed. The progressive period The progressive period, which began about 1880, was characterised by rapid improvement in and wide acceptance of water treatment technology, control of water born diseases, and passage of national legislation and promulgation of standards designed to assure safe drinking water. The contradictive period The contradictive period was fashioned from the industrial progress that accompanied World War II, but its impact on drinking water was not recognised until the 1960s. (Speidel, H. 1998) THE PROBLEMS Industrialisation One of the more notable consequences of the technological development in the Twentieth Century is the pollution of the global environment of thousands of

chemicals that are all products manufactured to benefit humans. The pollution comes from industrial toxic chemicals, burning of coal, oil, and other fuels by power plants. Also, from factories, automobiles produce sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which can cause acid rain. Thermal pollution is caused using water to cool machinery, which heats up the water and is then returned to the water source. (The Pollution Solution, 1998) More than 300 billion gallons of water are withdrawn from America’s lakes, rivers, and streams each day. Of this quantity 91 percent is devoted to industrial use, an amount of water roughly equal to the 75 percent of the daily Mississippi River at its mouth. While some water is evaporated, or is incorporated into the product itself, most is discharged back to

its source. This water, usually altered considerably in the industrial process, may contain contaminants that degrade water quality and pose a threat to human health. Degradation of water quality comes about the addition of large amounts of nutrients, suspended sediments, bacteria, and oxygen demanding matter. The possible additions of toxic pollutants are particularly important because of their persistence, harmful effects at low concentrations, and ability to enter the food chain. (Speidel, H. 1998) Over population As the population grows, so does the need to supply drinking water. It is not only drinking water that is in demand, agriculture irrigation consumes 80 percent of the water in the world. (Centre of Health and the Global Environment, 1998) Live stock is also another