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Pros And Cons Of Canadian Water Exports Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1762 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Question¼š Water in the future could become as important as oil as a major source of world conflict. Canada will not have to worry about this and in fact will be a major player in the control and management of water. This assumes that we have an adequate surplus of water and that we can use this as an export product. Examine these ideas from both pro and con sides and develop a conclusion about our future use of water.

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Water has been a vital resource for many lifeline purposes such as drinking and hygienic purposed like cleaning. Throughout the human history, water has been considered as a cheap resource and abused to comply with human needs. Despite the numerous amounts of sources of water are found, the increasing of global population depletes the non-renewable resources as natural gas, coal and oil. This essay will try to examine the ideas that whether Canada can use the adequate surplus water as an export product or not, base on the water resource in the environment, new technologies applied to the water treatment and the advantage disadvantages of using water resources as an export product.

Water is one of the most common and vital resource in our society and harnessing water has been quite easy in most part of the world. Water covers nearly three-quarters of the earth’s surface and also there is water in the atmosphere and underground. It’s mainly in ocean but also found as rivers, lakes, snow and glaciers. In fact, 99% of all the fresh water is found in glaciers, ice fields and underground. However, atmosphere water (snow, rain, fog) and glacier are strongly depending on the weather movement of the earth. On the other hand, there are numerous ways to obtain water from nature; some of them are already available such as perennial sources like oceans, river, lakes and steam. The most convenient way is groundwater resources such as aquifers that make up the water table [1]. Furthermore, water is also available from time to time in the form of influent water sources such as the precipitation of rainfall and snow. As Figure 1 show below, there are 2 types of aquifers, confined and unconfined aquifer, where the confine aquifers are sandwiched between two porous layers of rocks. The unconfined aquifers are the water between porous and nonporous rocks with can be replenished by rainfall or snow over time. Precipitation of water is still a major resource that people depend on in many part s of the world where the water table is not sufficient enough to the massing population. “the adept use of technology, farmers learned to mine ground water to overcome the lack of enough rain”(Opie.J,1993). The necessity of water for human life has driven the discovery the abundant water table beneath the ground, and the use of aquifers for domestic purpose has been practical and popular. Another important resource in some area includes the availability of glaciers. This is apparent in Armenia and Azerbaijan where” the glaciate and snow-covered mountain are the water towers of the region providing resources for irrigation, industrial, and domestic use” which makes it an essential need to monitor and protect the ice caps from melting(Jones, 2009).

Canada is fortunate, it has only 0.5% of the world’s population, but its land contains about 7% of the world’s renewable water supply. Also, the industry is the major consumer which occupies about 56.3 % of the water consumption, domestic is about 23.7% and agriculture is only 20%. Thousands of dams has erected in a river of stream to block the flow of water so that water can be stored and reservoir. The dams were built to prevent flooding, supply of drinking water, facilitate irrigation, and generate electricity. The placement of dams also have disadvantages such as habitat alteration, fisheries declining along the downstream of the dam, population displacement because of the water level inside the before the dam, sediment capture before the dam and so on. Through the recent research, people have overused the surface water to suit our needs. The water level of the dam and also the water level of the Ontario Lake had drop a significant height from 2009 to 2010. On the other hand, we are depleting groundwater which is more easily depleted than the surface water, because it is easier to use up the water resources but most aquifers recharge very slowly. Today people are extracting 160Km3 more water each year than is finding its way back to the ground, the major problem is the increasing of the human population and the area of the city are increasing also, which most of the surface water from the rainfall will run off and affects the amount of water could recharge into to aquifers. In some part of Mexico, India, China, and other Asian and Middle Eastern nations, water tables are falling 1-3 meters per year (book).

Human activity has strongly affected the environment as shown in the history, which is also affecting the most important resource water and causing water pollution. It includes acid rain, erosion and sedimentation, groundwater contamination and waste water:

Acid rain is that water vapor has been contaminated with chemicals introduced into the atmosphere by automobile and industrial emissions. The precipitation rain has a much higher acidity than clean rain water. The most common chemicals are nitrogen oxides and sulphur formed sulphuric acid and nitric acid.

Erosion and sedimentation means water plays as a role in transporting the landscape by moving the large amount of soil, also is sediment. Sediment is eroding from the land, transport by the river or stream system, and finally deposited into the lakes or ocean. The sediment starts with erosion of the landscape, including particles or fragments from the rock material, carried by wind and rainfall, plant and animal activities also contribute to the erosion of the earth surface.

Groundwater contamination is the addition of undesirable substance to ground water layer by human activities. It also has been assumed that any contaminates left on or buried under the ground caused groundwater contamination. For example, people dumping waste or toxic material into the wells; some country’s government buried the regularly garbage under certain area. Groundwater contamination is extremely difficult to clean up, sometimes is impossible.

Waste water is the released of contaminated water from different industries. The “government of Canada is taking the lead in proposing regulations, federal and other wastewater systems, which include standards for national wastewater effluent quality and provide regulatory clarity for rules on reporting for more than 3,700 Canadian facilities.”(Environment Canada, 2009) some examples of pollutant that affects the ecosystems and human health include: decaying organic matter and debris can use up the dissolved oxygen in a lake so fish and other aquatic biota cannot survive; excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen/ammonia can cause eutrophication, or over-fertilization of receiving water, which can be toxic to aquatic organism, promote excessive plant growth, reducing the oxygen in the water.

Furthermore, the above pollution will recycle and mix by the water recycles flow chart. The pollutant/ contaminate is first released to the earth surface or air, carries by the wind and precipitation, rainfalls to the ground, because of the acid rain will erode the soil and rocks, more sediment is easier to be washed by the water, and contaminated the rivers and underground water, finally theses pollutant stays in the ocean or lakes which may pose threats to human health, aquatic life and wild life.

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Since the industry has consumed most of the water in Canada with most releasing water pollution such as air pollution and wastewater pollution. It is better to prevent the pollution than to migrate or clear the impact after it occurs. Although the nature system can process a certain amount of waste water, the huge and concentrated amount that generated by our industry can harm ecosystems and threat the human health. Therefore, wastewater treatment has to be done before releasing it to the environment. The first step is physical removal of the

Suspended particles by filtration, follow by treatment name Primary Clarifier is to separate the organic substance including gas and liquid, then a secondary treatment, in which water is stirred and aerated so that aerobic bacteria degrade organic pollutant, finally filtering and disinfection is applied to the water tank, and effluent discharge into waterways. During the this process, some of the waste solid particle will be disposed at landfill, or burnt in with gas in a chemical burner. On the other hand, some solid are removed and sent to anaerobic digester, which will produce gas for electricity or biosolids for cropland.

The water quantity and water quality in Canada is one of the best in the world, in the future, water will become as important as oil and it will be used as an export product. Obviously, the advantage is the revenue that water can create a huge economy benefit for our country. However, we have to face some practical problems. On the environmental side, the renewable fresh water is decreasing from the last decay all over the world, as the increasing of population, growing of social economy and climate change(due to global warming), the total fresh water resource in Canada is also decreasing. On the human activity side, more dams have been erected, more industries have built and more pollution has been released into the environment, which means more water management and wastewater treatment are needed to ensure there is no contamination of the fresh water resource, no harm to the ecosystem and the human health. On the technologies side, if water has been considered as an export product, how can we export water from our country to another which may be very long distance transportation? How can we ensure the quality of the water to customers? How can we secure our water resource from other consumer, since the water in the river, steam and underground is flowing all the time from one country to another? and finally how do we evaluate the cost verse the revenue of our water product.






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