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Santa Cruz Permaculture
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3.2 Water on the Landscape
Water on the Landscape
Water is life and in it’s life cycle takes many forms, traveling through many systems. Our limited freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, ponds, wetlands, aquifers, swamps lakes and flows through the watersheds. Human activity has depleted and contaminated many of these sources through agriculture, urban growth, irrigation and industrial practices.
The amount of freshwater is only 2.5% and only .5% is easily accessible for human use. Water on earth has been constant on earth and is consistently traveling the earth in a constant cycle through the atmosphere, land mass and oceans.
Precipitation is primary source of water for all human uses and ecosystems, this form is driven by the sun. Rainwater is naturally distilled and "soft," or absent of calcium carbonate or magnesium. It falls in spirals and is a natural fertilizer, containing nitrogen and sulfur. It has the lowest salt content of all natural freshwater sources, and the best part is, rainwater is free!
It is taken up by plants and soils, evaporating into the atmosphere via evapotranspiration
Flows through the watershed and into rivers, lakes, wetlands and seas
Some precipitation is stored as snow and ice in high elevations with the right conditions
But most water falls back into the land and oceans
*It can be seen by the picture above
Human influences on the Water Cycle
Humans withdraw 8% of the total annual renewable freshwater and appropriate 26% of annual evapotranspiration and 54% of accessible runoff. Also with the development and city planning cement has taken over and does not allow for water to infiltrate the land to replenish our aquifers, redirecting potential fresh water into the ocean. Our chemicals and pollutants that are used and present in our environment are washed into these water sources further contaminating areas. In our agricultural sector the excess amounts of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers run off into freshwater systems where they produce eutrophication, harmful algae blooms killing wildlife. As a result, globally water scarcity has increased and the access to clean fresh water is still a challenge in many places.
Functions of Water
-carries heat around the world and humidifies airstreams
- basis of nutrition and absorption of nutrients for plants and animals
- present at the conception of every life from
- universa solvent
- provides a home for many animals
- gives renewable energy
- transport system
- it is a vast reservoir of fresh water
- carves out valleys and carries huge loads
- prunes trees
- melts an allows whole nations to have running water for many months of the year
- as an ice it is a preservative
- assists climate stability
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