- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Springs
- 2 River flow
- 3 Reservoirs
- 4 Summary
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Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is...
Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK there area areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enought water to support the currently population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a world where there is climate change.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- list the types of springs, and how each type relates to a different geological setting;
- use hydrographs to distinguish overland flow and interflow from baseflow, and make inferences about the climate of an area;
- expain how various changes in land use in a river catchment will change the hydrograph of a river;
- distinguish the different types of reservoir construction, and decide whether a particular area would be suitable for a reservoir, suggest the most suitable type of dam for a site, and summarize the side-effects of constructing reservoirs.
We have seen that where precipitation reaches the ground, some runs off the surface into streams and rivers and some of it infiltrates, passing through the soil. Water that reaches the water table to become groundwater may eventually re-emerge at the surface as springs where the water table intersects the surface. Almost all streams and rivers have springs or seepages as their ultimate source, or are fed by them at various points along their courses.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Earth's physical resources: origin, use and environmental impact (S278) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Science course units or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Science courses.