Freshwater Resources
1) Differentiate between the major competing uses for fresh water [i.e. agriculture (73%), industry (21%), domestic and public water supply (6%] 2) Describe the types, sources, and effects of fresh water pollution (eg biomagnification / bioaccumulation) and outline methods for controlling such pollution 3) Discuss the ways that people meet their needs for water (eg river diversions, types of irrigation, etc.) and ways to conserve water 4) Understand that the availability of fresh water resources varies considerably around the world. 5) Understand the importance of a clean freshwater supply to humans as 80% of diseases (eg malaria and diarrhea) are water-related in developing countries
In this unit, you will look at issues surrounding water as a resource. In the first lesson, freshwater use, supply, quality, and recommendations for better management will be explored.


It has been argued that in the years to come water will become more precious than oil as the demand for freshwater resources continues to grow. Only about three percent of the world's water supply is fresh and most of that is in ice.

The greatest use of fresh water is for agriculture (73%), followed by industry (21%), and then domestic / public water supply (6%).

In previous units, we have looked at issues surrounding water use and threats to water quality. For example, there is the threat to groundwater resources from pesticides, fertilizers, improper use of manure, septic waste, urban runoff, etc. We looked at how river basins can be better managed to reduce the risk of flooding, erosion, and siltation of water ways. As well, we looked at the advantages and disadvantages of using water as an energy source via hydroelectricity.

In this lesson, you will continue to look at various issues surrounding the use of fresh water.

"Environment at the Threshold: The Great Lakes"
Planet Earth: A Physical Geography
Pages 357 to 363

Water Conservation in Agriculture

As noted above, the single greatest use of water in the world is for agricultural purposes. Hence, finding ways to conserve water in this primary industry will help to alleviate pressure on supplies.

Irrigation Tips to Conserve Water on The Farm
Courtesy: Government of British Columbia

Water Conservation Issues in an Arid Climate

Case Study: Oliver, BC
Courtesy: Smart Growth on The Ground and The report is produced by The Design Centre for Sustainability at UBC

Greater Vancouver Regional District - Water Supply

Source and Supply

Quality and Treatment

Courtesy: Greater Vancouver Regional District

Video: Coquitlam Watershed Tour
Video: Plant Salvaging
Courtesy: gvtv

Water Quality and Supply Issues in the Developing World

Key Facts about Water
Water-related Diseases
Courtesy: United Nations Environment Programme

Assignment Work

A) "Environment at the Threshold: The Great Lakes"

1) Read the Introduction above and Case Study of the Great Lakes in Planet Earth: A Physical Geography and then take notes on the Case Study adhering to the following criteria:

- point form notes addressing major themes, issues, and terms
- use subheadings
- maximum three pages single sided, 1.5 spacing, typed
- use a 12 point font except for subheadings which may be 14 point
- once you have completed your notes, read them over and bold in a different font colour what you deem to be the top 10 points
- include a three sentence summary at the end of your notes

This is worth 15 marks. E-mail your completed work as a document attachment.

2) Choose one of the following (5 marks):

a) On a piece of blank paper (i.e. 8.5 in. by 11 in.), create a visual summary of the Case Study using images and symbols to remember key points.

If you are able, scan the image and e-mail it to your instructor. Otherwise, be prepared to manually hand it in to your instructor.


b) Write a seven line rhyming poem that summarizes the Case Study. E-mail your poem to your instructor.

Note: For Parts B and C below, e-mail your completed work as a document attachment. It is worth 10 marks.

B) Water Conservation in Agriculture

1) List and briefly describe the tips for conserving irrigation water.

C) Water Conservation Issues in an Arid Climate

1) Using a search engine, find a map to show the location of Oliver in British Columbia. Insert this image into your document and include the actual website source.

2) Why does Oliver have an arid climate?

3) Utilize the Case Study link above to answer the following questions:

a) What factors are expected to stress Oliver's water resources?

b) What are some options mentioned for improving water efficiency?

c) The carrying capacity of the natural system is mentioned and how there needs to be a balance between human interests and ecological necessity. For instance, as water is withdrawn from the ground, less is made available for what ecological considerations?

d) Lawn and landscape irrigation can represent what % of domestic water use?

e) Explain what xeriscaping is.

f) How much precipitation does Oliver average per month?

g) This amount of precipitation could be harvested from a typical house rooftop to provide enough irrigation water for how much lawn or garden area?

h) It is suggested that education and metering can reduce indoor and outdoor water use by 30% each. Why does metering promote conservation and how is it being implemented in Oliver?

i) In 2005, Oliver had a population of 4, 700. By 2041, it is projected to be around 12 000. In order to accommodate the water needs of such a population without expanding its water supply infrastructure, Oliver would have to require what measures?

j) Agriculture in the entire Okanagan Valley accounts for how much water use?

D) Greater Vancouver Regional District - Water Supply

Answer the following in your notebook, utilizing the information from the links.

1) Where does the GVRD get its water from?

2) Describe the treatment process that the water goes through before reaching homes.

3) What measures can be taken by residents and businesses to conserve water?

4) Choose one of the following:

Post your answer to the Discussion.

a) If you live in the GVRD, what do you think of the quality of the water from your tap? Do you drink water from other sources (i.e. bottled water)?

b) If you live outside of the GVRD, where do you get your water supplies from? What do you think of the quality of your water?

E) Water Quality and Supply Issues in the Developing World

Answer the following in your notebook.

Utilize the "Key Facts About Water" link to answer the following:

1) List five key facts that emphasize the plight of many in the developing world in terms of their water supplies and quality.

2) List a positive fact regarding water development in developing countries over the last 20 years.

Look at the "Water-related diseases" slide show to answer the following:

3) What fraction of the world lives in countries which lack adequate water supplies?

4) What fraction is projected to live in water-stressed regions by 2025?

5) Globally, how many people currently do not have access to clean water?

6) Describe the nature of and extent of four water-related diseases.

Press the button on the Action menu to proceed.