Introduction to Earth’s Fresh Water

Water is simply two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together. Despite its simplicity, water has remarkable properties. Water expands when it freezes, has high surface tension (because of the polar nature of the molecules, they tend to stick together), and others. Without water, life might not be able to exist on Earth and it certainly would not have the tremendous complexity and diversity that we see.

Learning Objectives

This chapter has several goals and objectives:

  • Understand the distribution of Earth’s water around the world.
  • Describe the anatomy of a stream and it’s components.
  • Explain what a divide is and how it influences streams.
  • Analyze and describe the importance and functions of wetlands.
  • Describe the impacts of floods.
  • Determine the influence groundwater has on fresh water around the planet.

Essential Questions

  • How does precipitation affect the topology of the earth?
  • What natural disasters are caused by the water cycle?
  • Is water from a river or from a well more likely to be clean to drink?
  • Why is overuse of groundwater a big concern?
  • What policies might people put in place to conserve water levels in lakes and aquifers?