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Water resources and people. Features, condition, problems of the country's water resources. What is water?

Despite the fact that about 70% of the earth's surface is covered with water, it is still a very valuable resource. Especially when it comes to quality. What is water? What is their structure and world reserves? What problems of water resources are the most acute in our time? All this will be discussed in the article.

What is water?

The geographic envelope of the Earth, as is known, consists of five spheres: litho-, atmo-, bio-, techno- and hydrosphere. What is water? This is all the water that is contained in the hydrosphere. It is found in oceans and seas, lakes and rivers, glaciers and reservoirs, in the earth's depth and in the air (in the form of water vapor).

About 70% of the earth's surface is covered with water. Only 2.5% of this volume is fresh water, which humanity needs. In absolute terms, this is at least 30 million cubic kilometers, which is thousands of times greater than the needs of world civilization. However, do not forget that most of these stocks are contained in the "ice shells" of Antarctica, the Arctic and Greenland. In addition, the state of water resources available to a person is often unsatisfactory.

Structure of planetary water resources

Water resources of the planet are divided into two classes:

  • Water of the World Ocean;
  • Water land (or surface).

In rivers, lakes, reservoirs and glaciers, only four percent of the world's water reserves are contained. And most of them (by volume) are confined to glaciers. And the largest "reservoir" of fresh water on the planet is Antarctica. Water resources of the Earth include underground flows, but their quantitative estimates vary greatly in numbers.

Clean fresh water is a valuable natural resource for humans and any other living organisms. Its protection and rational use is one of the most important tasks of mankind at the present stage.

Updating of water resources

Features of water resources are the possibility of self-purification and renewal. However, the renewability of water depends on several factors, in particular, on the type of hydrological facility.

For example, water in rivers is completely renewed in about two weeks, in the swamp - for five years, and in the lake - for 15-17 years. The longest process takes place in glacial shields (on average this takes 10 thousand years), and as quickly as possible - in the biosphere. In a living organism, water undergoes a full cycle of renewal in a few hours.

Distribution of water resources by macroregions and countries

According to the general reserves of water resources in the world, the Asian region is leading. It is followed by South America, North America and Europe. The poorest in terms of water resources of the planet is Australia.

However, there is one important nuance here. So, if we calculate the volume of water reserves per capita of the continent or part of the world, then a completely different picture emerges. In the first place in this count goes to Australia, but Asia is on the last. The thing is that in Asia the population is growing at a rapid pace. Today it has already reached the milestone of four billion people.

Which countries do not need to worry about water? Below is the top five states with the largest fresh water reserves. It:

  1. Brazil (6950 km 3 ).
  2. Russia (4,500 km 3 ).
  3. Canada (2,900 km 3 ).
  4. China (2,800 km 3 ).
  5. Indonesia (2,530 km 3 ).

It is worth noting the uneven distribution of water resources on Earth. So, in the equatorial and temperate climatic zones they are even in excess. But in the so-called "arid" (tropical and subtropical climate), the population is experiencing an acute shortage of life-giving moisture.

Water resources and people

Water is in demand in everyday life, energy, industry, recreation. The use of this resource can be accompanied by the extraction of it from a natural source (for example, from the river bed) or without it (for example, for the operation of water transport).

The largest consumers of water resources are:

  • Agriculture;
  • Industrial and energy enterprises;
  • Communal sphere.

The volumes of municipal water consumption are constantly growing. According to environmentalists, in large metropolitan areas of economically developed countries, one person uses at least 300 liters of liquid daily. This level of consumption can lead to a shortage of this resource in the near future.

The pollution and depletion of the world's waters

Pollution of water resources is a very acute environmental problem of our time. To date, it has reached catastrophic rates in some regions of the planet.

Every year millions of tons of chemicals, oil and petroleum products, phosphorus compounds, solid household waste enter the World Ocean. The latter form huge floating islands of debris. The waters of the Persian Gulf, the North and the Caribbean seas are very polluted with oil. Already about 3% of the surface of the North Atlantic is covered with oil film, which has a disastrous effect on the living organisms of the ocean.

A major problem is also the reduction of the water resources of the planet. However, the deterioration of the quality of life-giving moisture is no less dangerous. After all, one cubic meter of untreated sewage can get into the natural riverbed and spoil dozens of cubic meters of clean water.

In developing countries, according to statistics, every third resident suffers from poor-quality drinking water. It is the main cause of many diseases of the population of the "arid belt" of Africa and Latin America.

Main types and sources of pollution of world waters

In the environment, pollution of water means the excess of the boundary-permissible concentrations of substances contained in them (harmful chemical compounds). There is also such a thing as the depletion of hydro resources - the deterioration of water quality under the constant impact of anthropogenic activity.

There are three main types of water pollution:

  • Chemical;
  • Biological;
  • Thermal;
  • Radiation.

Any substance that can enter the hydrological object due to human activity can act as a contaminant. In this case, this substance significantly worsens the natural water quality. One of the most dangerous modern pollutants is oil, as well as products from it.

Sources of pollution can be permanent, periodic or seasonal. They can have both anthropogenic and natural origin, be point, linear or area.

The largest source of pollution is the so-called sewage. That is, those that are formed as a result of industrial, construction or communal human activities. They, as a rule, are oversaturated with harmful organic and inorganic substances, heavy metals and microorganisms. Allocate industrial (including mine), municipal, agricultural and other types of sewage.

Characteristics of water resources in Russia

Russia is one of the countries of the world that does not experience water shortages. The country's modern water resources are 2.5 million rivers and streams, about two million lakes and hundreds of thousands of marshes. The territory of Russia is washed by twelve seas. A huge amount of fresh water is stored in glaciers (mountain and circumpolar).

To improve water supply, thousands of reservoirs of various sizes have been created on the territory of our state. In general, they contain about 800 km 3 of fresh water. These objects not only serve as artificial reservoirs of valuable natural resources, but also regulate the regime of rivers, prevent floods and floods. Thus, their value can not be overestimated.

Among the main problems of Russia's water resources are the following:

  • Irrational water use;
  • Deterioration of drinking water quality;
  • Unsatisfactory condition of waterworks and hydraulic structures.


What is water? This is all the water that is contained in the hydrosphere. The largest reserves of water resources are countries such as Brazil, Russia, Canada, China, Indonesia and the United States.

In modern realities, the problem of pollution and irrational use of the world's water becomes very urgent, and in some regions - especially acute. Its solution is impossible without consolidation of efforts of all countries of the world and effective implementation of joint global projects.

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