The freshwater required for growing food and livestock is also in great demand by the large numbers of inhabitants in the world’s cities and towns. Even though our planet is so rich with water supplies that it appears blue from space as the water reflects the blue light rays from the sun, most of this water is salty, making it unsuitable for human consumption as well as for raising crops or livestock. However, the limited supplies of freshwater necessary to support life on this planet are being severely reduced by other elements than the simple consumption by its people, plants, and animals. The water that is used to keep the crops healthy becomes laden with fertilizer, weed killer, and insecticides as it seeps back into the earth of the field and makes its way back to the rivers, streams, and aquifers from whence it came. The factories which keep the world running are also continuously dumping harmful wastes into the waters either as legal by-products of their production efforts or illegally as a means of reducing unwanted expense that eats into profits. There has been an effort by legislators to clean up the waterways of the United States, but laws only work as long as individuals adhere to them. According to a 1997 Environmental Protection Agency study, approximately 40 percent of the nation’s rivers and lakes are not safe for swimming or fishing as a result of numerous contributors to pollution including dumping, over-consumption, and non-point pollution.
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A Geo-Referenced Modeling Environment for Ecosystem Risk Assessment: Organophosphate Pesticides in an Agriculturally Dominated Watershed
This article discusses the experimental research of the authors and examines its implications in a real-world sense for a specific area of central California’s precious freshwater supplies. The authors describe their development of a watershed model that duplicates the distribution patterns of two commonly used pesticides within an agricultural area. When describing this process, the authors make the various complications of the study understandable by describing how different elements of the pesticides reside in different levels of the sediment bed, with some floating along within the surface water. In applying the model to a creek in central California, the authors are able to demonstrate how build-ups of these chemicals are endangering the ecosystem and may pose a threat to human life in the region.
Sources of Water Pollution and Evolution of Water Quality in the Wuwei Basin of Shiyang River, Northwest China
This research study into the ground-water systems of China might seem inapplicable to issues facing America’s waters, but its investigation of the various sources of water pollution and their effects is very helpful in understanding the tremendous interconnectivity of the world’s water supplies. As part of the report, the researchers provide a full discussion of various sources of pollution including industrial, domestic, and agricultural contributors to the problem, and describe how these factors affect the water itself.
Policies for Nonpoint-source Water Pollution Control
This article demonstrates the high degree to which non-point water pollution has been an unregulated, and largely un-regulatable, issue for America for a long time. Even before the article was written, there seems to have been a large recognition of the damage this form of water pollution was causing. This article highlights some of the laws and regulations that had been put in place up to this point in time to attempt to control water pollution and provides a starting point for policy evaluation regarding this issue.
This website provides a concise overview regarding some of the major issues involved in discussing water pollution. It describes the difference between point and non-point pollution sources and introduces the EPA’s role in attempting to clean up the nation’s freshwater supplies. In this overview, the agency makes it clear that its primary roles are in regulating and containing point source pollution as well as monitoring pollution levels in the nation’s waterways. In this, there is a tacit admission that there is not much that can be done about non-point pollution. The site provides several handy links to help explore the problem further.
Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices
This policy-oriented research report presents an overview of the issues facing the nation’s watershed areas before going into more detail regarding the current water crisis. The report is very informative, providing a history of the subject, an overview of the normal natural processes by which freshwater has been filtered for millennia, and then describing just why these processes are not sufficient to meet today’s demands. Chapters are devoted to exploring a restoration plan by examining its goals and objectives, evaluating its implementation, analyzing its outcome, and assessing the application of these ideas in other areas.
Luo, Yuzhou & Minghua Zhang. “A Geo-Referenced Modeling Environment for Ecosystem Risk Assessment: Organophosphate Pesticides in an Agriculturally Dominated Watershed.” Journal of Environmental Quality. Vol. 38, (2009): 664-674.
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Ma, Jinzhu; Zhenyu Ding; Guoziao Wei; Hua Zhao & Tianming Huang. “Sources of Water Pollution and Evolution of Water Quality in the Wuwei Basin of Shiyang River, Northwest China.” Journal of Environmental Management. Vol. 90, I. 2, (2009): 1168-1177.
Harrington, Winston; Alan J. Krupnick & Henry M. Peskin. “Policies for Nonpoint-source Water Pollution Control.” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Vol. 40, N. 1, (1985): 27-32.
“Water Pollution.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). Web.
Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group (FISWRG). “Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes and Practices.” 1998. GPO Item No. 0120-A; SuDocs No. A 57.6/2:EN3/PT.653. 2006. Web.