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Human Impacts on Water Availability - AP Environmental Science

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Aquifers
Permeable layers of rock and sediment that contain groundwater in many small spaces.
Unconfined Aquifer
Water can flow easily in and out of the aquifer. Porous rock covered by soil
Confined Aquifer
Aquifers covered by an impermeable and confining layer impeding water flow in or out.
Water Table
Uppermost aquifer layer where water fully saturates the rock or soil.
Groundwater Recharge
Water from precipitation percolates through soil and into aquifer. If confined, can't recharge.
Springs
Water from some aquifers naturally comes up, natural source of freshwater
Artesian Wells
Drilled hole in a confined aquifer releases pressure and pushes water up.
Cone of Depression
Area where there's no longer any groundwater, caused by well overuse, eventually will go dry.
Saltwater intrusion
Lessened pressure from over-pumping so salt water infiltrates and makes well water salty.
Floodplain
Land adjacent to river where excess water spreads onto.
Impermeable Surfaces
Pavement, buildings, etc. Doesn't allow water penetration, water then runs into sewers and streams. Excess water causes floods.
Levee
Enlarged bank on each side of river to prevent flooding
Dike
Similar to levees but to prevent ocean waters from flooding coasts that are under sea level.
Dam
Barrier that runs across a river/stream to control water flow
Reservoir
Large body of water stored behind a dam. Held for consumption, generating electricity, flood control, or recreation.
Fish Ladder
A stair-like structure that allows migrating fish to get around a dam.
Aqueducts
A canal or ditch used to carry water from one location to another.
Desalination
The process of removing salt from salt waterer. Also known as desalinization.
Distillation
A process of desalination in which water is boiled and the resulting steam is captured and condensed to yield pure water.
Reverse osmosis
A process of desalination in which water is forced through a thin semipermeable membrane at high pressure.
Hydroponic Agriculture
Cultivation under greenhouse conditions with roots in nutrient rich solution, and not soil.
Water footprint
The total daily per capita use of freshwater.
Gray water
Wastewater from baths, showers, bathrooms, and washing machines.
Contaminated water
Wastewater from toilets, kitchen sinks, and dishwashers.
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