Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - 7

Chapter 1

Our Natural Resources

Source: US National Park Service

FIguRE 1-3 padre island

Most of our usable water is always on its way back to the sea. We can increase
its usefulness by slowing its journey. We can contain it for other uses and take its
energy for our own purposes. We can drink, wash, clean, cool, grow our food,
and manufacture with it. To do these things, we must manage the water.
Water was an early source of power in this country. Running water carried logs,
floated boats, and turned waterwheels. By 1900, less than 4 percent of America's
power still came from this source. Still, water is needed in even greater quantities
today. Every day, Americans use 300 billion gallons of water annually. Of this,
about 60 billion gallons are temporarily removed from the water cycle. Most of the
remaining 240 billion gallons are returned directly to the hydrologic cycle (discussed
in Chapter 13), but much of that is either heated or damaged by pollutants. Almost
none of that water is permanently removed from the water cycle. Some water used
in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" (see chapter 32) is injected deep into the earth
and is effectively removed from the water cycle. Unfortunately, reliable estimates of
the actual amount of water permanently removed are not available.
Another facet of our water resource management problem is the control
of excess runoff. At least 37 states have average annual runoffs of 10 inches or
more, yet much of this area has low annual rainfall totals-as little as 20 inches in
several of the states. Thus, much of the water that falls on the land simply flows
directly into streams and then back to the sea-it remains part of the hydrologic
cycle without being put to use by people. This is a potential natural resource we
may be able to access with effective water management.
There is no shortage of water in this country. We have plenty of freshwater,
but try telling that to a deep-well farmer in Arizona! Yes, there is plenty of water,
but most of it is not located where people need it. Moreover, it may not be of a
usable quality even when it is located where it is needed. The problems are control,
quality, and distribution, and those problems are real and becoming more intense.

FISh aND WILDLIFe reSOUrCeS
Wildlife is the natural resource that resembles humans most. Although not considered a resource by many, wildlife species definitely play an important role in our
lives. In the conservationist sense, fish and wildlife are defined as non-domesticated

7

national Seashore, texas.
"Water, water, everywhere,
nor any drop to drink." Over
70 percent of the earth's
surface is covered by water,
yet drinking water is one of
the most precious resources
on the planet.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp

Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover1
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover2
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - i
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - ii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iv
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - v
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - vii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - viii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - ix
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Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover4
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