Water Sense! #2

Stuff you always wanted to know about water!

Water Quality

Water quality is linked to water consumption, e.g. how drinkable, and/or available, water is depends on how we are using our water. If we suck it out of the ground faster than it can be put back (which is happening all the time), then it can become full of minerals and salts, which aren’t very good for plants and soils. If we contaminate places where there is fast moving groundwater, like in underground caves, water will become quickly polluted elsewhere.

Surface Water and Groundwater

The water that we see on the surface (known as surface water), like lakes, streams and rivers, only accounts for ~1.5% of all the water in rocks and sediments underground.  This groundwater can surface as a spring, supply water to surface streams and lakes (usually below the water level) and even flow as streams in underground caves.

While surface water tends to be cloudy with sediment, groundwater is relatively clear and is a good source of drinking water for communities and individual dwellings.  In dry regions, groundwater may be the major or only source of water.


This is the amount of running water on the ground when there is a rainstorm, and depends on the maximum rate that soil and other surface things can soak up water. If it’s able to soak up water as fast as it falls, there is no runoff but when it is not as fast or the soil fills up, the extra water collects at the surface, and hey presto! Runoff!.  Of course, if this occurs on a hill or slope, down it goes either into streams or rivers.


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