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Water Resources

Sources, of any kind, of water that are useful or potentially useful to humans

Water Resources

Freshwater makes up just 2.5% of the total amount of water on Earth, and more than 66% of it is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. We have a lot of water in the United States. Only around 8% of the world’s freshwater resources are in the country, with 4.5 percent of the overall population. 

It is home to the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater lake system in the world, which contains six quadrillion gallons of water. Additionally, the powerful Mississippi River supplies water to almost 15 million people near its mouth in New Orleans, where it flows at a rate of 4.5 million gallons per second. 

That a strong river like the Colorado River is starting to dry up in some areas seems unfathomable. It may seem unlikely that such a large body of water as Lake Mead in Arizona could become outdated. Yet, the United States is currently experiencing these and other significant changes. 

Some of our local neighbors are fast finding it simpler to comprehend the issues faced by the poorest and driest regions of the third world. Water shortage is a problem for everyone, not just those who “never had.” It is an issue that people in areas with ample water must deal with. These new issues are being brought about by pollution, demand, and other causes. 

US Water Resources

There are several sources that supply the US with water, including:

Groundwater

Groundwater is where around 30% of the freshwater on Earth is stored. Groundwater plays a crucial role in the US agricultural industry’s water system, with aquifers providing 65% of the system’s water supply. Agriculture water systems have been enlarged due to population growth, and other water users are mining groundwater resources.

The rapid groundwater use poses a real threat to water resources in rural areas of the world, especially to the water system. Additionally, when a few aquifers are mined, the surrounding surface soil region has a tendency to sink, making it impossible to replenish the aquifer.

Stored Water

The construction of large dams and associated transportation infrastructures in the United States to control water demand has slowed. In any event, the average lifespan of a dam spans 50 years, and by 2020, 85% of US dams had reached that milestone. The capacity of all dams eventually decreases as leftover material accumulates behind them. 

Use and Consumption

Water is drawn from numerous sources for consumption and use in diverse human activities, including drinking, cooking, washing, and wastewater. On the other hand, utilization suggests that the water drawn back is not recoverable. US freshwater withdrawals total around 1600 billion L per day, or about 5,500 L per person per day, including those for the water system. 

Agriculture

Water is necessary for photosynthesis, growth, and reproduction in plants. The water used by plants cannot be recovered since some of it becomes part of the chemical cosmetics of the plant, and the remainder is released into the atmosphere. Plants must release enormous amounts of water in order to manage temperature and fix carbon dioxide. 

Irrigated Crops

Approximately 70% of the freshwater extracted annually is used by agriculture worldwide. While irrigated land per person in the United States has stayed stable at around 0.08 ha over the previous ten years, global irrigation per capita has decreased by almost 10%. 

Over 80% of the water used in the United States and roughly 40% of the freshwater taken are for irrigation of agricultural products.

Water Accessibility

Water is considered a sustainable resource since precipitation recharges it, but its accessibility is restricted to the amount that can be accessed in any given region per unit of time. Most major lands typically receive 700 millimeters (mm) of precipitation annually (7 million liters [L] per hectare [ha] annually). However, this amount varies across and among land masses.

Water is often scarce in a nation when annual availability falls below 1 million L per capita. The overall rural, social, and ecological framework must be considered while managing water resources.

Water availability is limited in some areas of the United States due to significant withdrawals from lakes, streams, groundwater, and supplies used to satisfy the needs of people, urban populations, homesteads, and companies. Sometimes legislation is necessary to ensure a sufficient amount of water.

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