- March 12, 2013
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Term paper writing
It is known that the climate change creates a terrible threat to both the urban and the natural habitats of the arid area of the western part of the USA. The US Department of Agriculture reported that the increased drought will cause numerous fires, great changes in vegetation cover and soil structure, water quality and aquatic fauna.
That is why it is very important to find the most effective methods of water provision to the arid areas such as Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada. (Department of Agriculture, Final Draft 2008)
This report touches upon the arid area of Nevada and compares some methods of water provision to this area.
Nevada is known as the driest state in the nation where the average annual rainfall is about 7 in. The most part of the state is uninhabited area covered by sagebrush. According to the statistical data, the wettest part of the state gets about 40 in. of precipitation per year. The driest part of the state receives about 4 in. per year. The landscape of Nevada is represented by not only sandy deserts and snowy mountains but also by grassy valleys and forested slopes of the mountains. (Sirvaitis 34)
2.1 Natural Water Resources of Nevada
There are many rivers and lakes in Nevada. The major rivers are Colorado River, Columbia River, Humboldt River, Truckee River. The major lakes of Nevada are Lake Mead, Lake Mojave, Pyramid Lake, Lake Tahoe, Walker Lake. Rivers are the main plentiful source of water. Hoover Dam which was built on the Colorado River is used to store and supply water to different parts of Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. The problem is that the amount of water is limited. It is enough only to supply farms and homes. (Sirvaitis 16)
2.2 Current Water Situation in Nevada
Current water situation in Nevada is a serious one. It is known that each person living in Nevada uses about 100 gallons of water a day. Much water is necessary for businesses and farms. Having a population of more than 2 million people, about 200 million gallons of water a day is required for the needs of people living in Nevada. (Sirvaitis 57)
Some experts consider that there is a water crisis in Nevada. Thousands of people come to the state every year, the population of the state grows and requires more water supplies. 3.Requirements
The requirements which are necessary for the water provision to the state of Nevada include the following ones: the cost of the water supply method, social acceptance of the water supply method and environment factor. Of course, it is clear that among the existing methods of water supply to the arid areas there are those which are not effective or economically unprofitable.
The cost of the water provision methods plays an important role in the economy of the state. Those methods which demand much cost are economically unprofitable. Nevertheless, they will be able to improve the situation with water supply in Nevada. Economists who studied this issue have given much attention to finding low-cost solutions. An initial approach was to study the economic benefits and costs of fixed water supplying from investments in dams, reservoirs, and treatment facilities. Some projects represented groundwater pumping from greater depths. (Bookler, Taylor, Young)
3.2 Social Acceptance
The significance of the social acceptance of water supply methods to Nevada lies in understanding of human water-related behavior. It means that each person in the state of Nevada should understand the value of water and the problem of water shortage in Nevada. Everybody knows that water is a scarce resource in many parts of the world ,not only in Nevada. There are two solutions: to do conservation of existing water resources and to organize further production of water from new sources such as recycling of waste water and desalination of seawater. (Hurlimann, Meyer, Dolnicar)
The environmental factor is considered to be one of the most important as it is connected with the environment pollution which can damage human health. It is necessary to find such water supply methods which will not contaminate the environment. That is why federal agencies have concern with the effect of the new groundwater systems, the new well constructions, the construction of new conveyance systems, desalination plants, and so on. They can even block the reservoir expansions because of the environmental impacts.
4. Presentation of Option
This report touches upon three water supply methods to the state of Nevada
4.1 Rainwater Harvesting Method of Water Provision
This method means collecting and storing of water by means of special scientific techniques from the areas where rain falls. The main goal of this method is utilization of rain water for both the domestic and the agricultural purposes in Nevada. It has been put into practice from ancient times. It is simple and cheap. It is good for those areas which suffer from the scarcity of water. Rainwater harvesting system includes special catchments, the conveyance and the storage of rainwater. The catchment may be represented by not only the any surface and paved areas but also by roads and footpaths. Rooftops are the best catchments as the water is not contaminated and can be gathered without losses. The conveyance system includes rain gutters and down pipes through which the rainwater goes to the storage system (storage tanks). (Wilson)
4.2 Desalination Method
Desalination is when some amount of salt and other minerals are removed from seawater. In other words water is desalinated to convert salt water into fresh water. It is known that oceans make about 97% of the world’s supply of water. Different types of desalination are known: multi-stage flash desalination, vapor compression desalination, freezing desalination, solar desalination and some others. (Wilson)
4.3 The Use of Recycled Water
Recycled water is a waste water which has been treated to remove solids and some impurities. This method is used for water conservation in order to supply water for domestic needs and irrigation, industrial purposes (cooling processes) and even for drinking. Of course, it requires complex treatment systems. (Water Recycling and Reuse: The Environmental Benefits)
5. Comparison of Methods
The above mentioned methods of water provision to the arid areas have their advantages and their drawbacks. They differ in their cost factor, environmental factor and the benefit they provide to us.
Rainwater harvesting method increases water security. It helps to improve the quality of the ground water and floral system around. This method reduces the loss of the upper layer of the soil and the flood on the roads. This method is considered to be the cheapest one as it does not require considerable costs for system because you need only tanks for water storage which are cheaper than desalination systems and recycling water systems with a lot of valves, tubes, filters and so on. Its simple technologies can be easily maintained. The water is “absolutely free” and that is why this method is socially acceptable and environmentally clean. It does not contaminate the environment. It can also solve the drainage problems which can occur in the process of water supply. Moreover, rainwater is considered to be the best variant for argicultural plants and crops as “it does not contain chlorine”. This method helps to save cost especially with rising water costs. (Wilson)
Desalination method of water provision is known as the most expensive among the above mentioned methods as it requires many factors of “capital and operating costs”. They include capacity and type of facility, energy, labor financing and others. Speaking about the environmental factor, desalination method can damage the marine life and cause air pollution. Nevertheless, this method provides great benefits to us as it solves the problem of water shortage. Comparing ocean water desalination with other methods we can say that this method provides “constant supply of water for irrigation and industrial use”.
Water recycling provides a lot of benefits. It is good for environment factor as it helps to decrease the diversion of water from ecosystems and to prevent pollution. It creates vast wetlands and riparian habitats. This method is good from the economical point of view. It can save energy as it does not require to pump water from deep within an aquifer or to move water from distant areas. Using recycled water for non-potable needs saves potable water for drinking. The cost of recycled water is much more than the cost of portable water but it is sold at a cheaper rate. (Water Recycling and Reuse: Environmental benefits)
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the most pressing problem of the 21-st century is “the balance of demand and availability of fresh water” not only in Nevada (USA) but in other parts of the world too.
The growth of population, climate change and other factors prove the significance of this problems. The ways of solving the problem are concluded in the rational use of water resources. It’s our duty to find new methods which will be useful and effective. Besides the above mentioned methods of water provision there are some other recommendations on this issue.
”¢ To reduce seepage losses in water storage basins and in canals by means of using modern materials and techniques.
”¢ To make the population of Nevada save fresh water by means of special programs.
”¢ To use every effort of fancying drought-resistant crops which will not demand too much water for vegetation.
”¢ In order to provide economy of water supplies it will be better to reuse water.
Bookler, James F., Taylor, R.G., Young Robert A. Optimal Temporal and Spatial Scheduling of Arid-Region Water Supply Projects with Nonrenewable Groundwater Stocks. American Agricultural Economics Association. Aug 2-5, 1998, Salt Lake City.