Environmental Issues in the 21st Century - Water Resources and their Management

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  • Created by: nicola
  • Created on: 19-04-11 12:06

Types of water resources:

  • Green water - water held in the atmosphere/ lithosphere inter-phase that is available for plant growth e.g. as soil or vegetation moisture water
  • Blue water - essentially water that is running or flowing either on the surface or as groundwater

Loss of green water is lined to deforestation, increased soil erosion and desertification - water is not held in biomass in Med or in soil zone therefore becomes blue water and runs off leading to more soil erosion

Bedrock doesn't always have a porous structure so when soil is eroded, situation worsens

Industrialisation of agriculture - uses blue water resources as there is a deficit of green due to removal of biomass and inability of the landscape to retain water

Availability of blue water is highly variable across the region - reflects spatial variability in rainfall and size of drainage systems (losses)

  • In Med most rivers are mainly ephemeral and are the main geomorphic structures that shape the landscape = not good blue water resources
  • Exception is River Nile
  • No pattern in spatial variability
  • Relates to rain shadow effect e.g. Atlas Mountains in Africa and proximity to water sources
  • Rainfall that directly enhances blue water sources is annual rainfall

Surface and groundwater can be measured however there is some overlap due to percolation through the ground - needs to be taken into account when estimating 

Exploitation of water in Med involves harnessing surface waters  (dams) and extracting groundwater (pumping of water tables)

  • Much water lost through transmission losses i.e. through percolation leaving seds below water saturated or through evaporation due to high temps

Exploitable resources always smaller than total resources - issues of accessibility and usability e,g, waters flowing across borderlines

Strong inequality between North and South of Med - regional discrepancy = more arid environs

Need to analyse availability of water dependent on population it needs to sustain - if not compared, may skew data 

Also need to look at what demand for water is like.e.g for agriculture, drinking, sanitation, tourism (golf courses…


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