As non-governmental organisations question the relevance of the World Water Forum being held here this week and slam its ‘corporate’ nature, the United Nations says that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical.
The fourth edition of the triennial World Water Development Report (WWDR), which brings together the work of 28 U.N.-Water members and partners is being officially launched Monday at the Forum. It stresses that water ‘underpins all aspects of development’ and needs to be a key element in global policies and regulations. Read more
A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When no rain or only a very small amount of rain falls, soils can dry out and plants can die.
When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought. Read more
Bacteria are common single-celled organisms and are a natural component of lakes, rivers, and streams. Most of these bacteria are harmless to humans; however, certain bacteria, some of which normally inhabit the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, have the potential to cause sickness and disease in humans.
High numbers of these harmless bacteria often indicate high numbers of harmful bacteria as well as other disease-causing organisms such as viruses and protozoans.
One method of determining bacteria counts is to count the number of bacteria colonies that grow on a prepared medium. Read more
You may be familiar with how water is always cycling around, through, and above the Earth, continually changing from liquid water to water vapor to ice. One way to envision the water cycle is to follow a drop of water around as it moves on its way. I could really begin this story anywhere along the cycle, but I think the ocean is the best place to start, since that is where most of Earth’s water is.
If the drop wanted to stay in the ocean then it shouldn’t have been sunbathing on the surface of the sea. The heat from the sun found the drop, warmed it, and evaporated it into water vapor. It rose (as tiny “dropettes”) into the air and continued rising until strong winds aloft grabbed it and took it hundreds of miles until it was over land. There, warm updrafts coming from the heated land surface took the dropettes (now water vapor) up even higher, where the air is quite cold. Read more
Water quality is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. Although scientific measurements are used to define a water’s quality, it’s not a simple thing to say that “this water is good,” or “this water is bad.”
After all, water that is perfectly good to wash a car with may not be good enough to serve as drinking water at a dinner party for the President! When the average person asks about water quality, they probably want to know if the water is good enough to use at home, to play in, to serve in a restaurant, etc., or if the quality of our natural waters are suitable for aquatic plants and animals.