Discussion: Water Scarcity, Pollution, and Management
Focus on Biogeochemical Cycles: Challenges and Solutions Personal Water Use
Have you ever wondered where fresh water comes from? Water appears to be plentiful in our oceans, lakes, ponds, and rivers. However, this is deceptive. The real fact is, fresh water is unequally distributed throughout the world, and accessible freshwater is in increasingly short supply. Growing produce, watering livestock, running industrial processes, brushing teeth, washing hands, using the commode, taking a shower…people rely on clean water to do these and many other activities every day. What would you do without clean water?
As you learn more about the world’s water supply, the treatment methods used to clean water, and the systems that help make clean water more available, think about these words from environmentalist and renowned ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau: “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”
This week’s Discussion asks you to note your personal water use, challenges you to reduce your water consumption, and reflect on ways that our society can better manage this precious resource.
To prepare for this Discussion
- Review and use one of the Water Footprint calculators shown here:
- If you share a home with others, consider how much more water your entire household uses.
- Reflect on the ways that you use water. Be sure to consider both direct water usage and the use of virtual water that is embodied in many of the products and services that you consume.
- Reflect on how your own use of water as well as society-wide water usage patterns can be improved. Consider how we can better manage this resource.
With these thoughts in mind, complete the following:
Spark Response Post (20 points):
By Day 2
Post a two or more paragraph response to the Discussion Spark posted by your professor on Monday (Day 1) in the week 4 discussion forum. Notice that the responses to the Discussion Spark, the primary research-based Discussion Topic, and your colleagues or professor will be graded together.
Primary Research-based Post (35 points):
By Day 4
Post: four or more paragraphs in which you:
- Describe the details of your water footprint estimate calculated using the Water Usage tool.
- Describe three or more ways in which you can reduce your water consumption.
- Describe society-wide solutions to reduce water usage that you would advocate for or consider realistic.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ and professor’s postings.
Response Posts (15 points):
By Day 5 and 7
Respond by to at least two of your colleagues’ or professor’s postings in a substantive manner, meaning a minimum of 1 full paragraph. Simple “I agree,” “Good post,” or one-line question posts are not enough for full credit. Be substantive as you engage your colleagues.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial research- based posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.
Research Requirement: Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to authoritative scientific information sources. Every week you are expected to conduct independent research (beyond the course resources). Cite your research sources and include links whenever possible.
Week 4 – Discussion Spark
Top of Form
Do you believe our drinking water that is available to us through our city water management system should also be used for irrigation or car wash or swimming pools or similar non-drinking applications? Why or why not? Please provide any solution(s) that you can have for your suggestion.
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