Texas Aquatic Science Chapter 2 Video Introduction (Click on arrow above to play video) The earth’s water is one, finite...
We are all connected by water. All living things need water. The earth has a remarkable system of transporting and recycling water for our use. Because we live on a planet, with a finite supply of water, we must take care of our natural resources, especially the water we use where we live. It doesn’t matter if we are a community of humans or a community of aquatic plants and animals, we all live downstream of someone or some organism that needs and uses the water. We should treat the water that we use the same way we hope the water we use was treated by others.
Everything that happens on the land in a watershed affects the water body into which it drains. A stream, pond or wetland can only be as healthy as its watershed. How we use the land affects the health of our aquatic resources, and in turn affects us and what we do in the watershed. In a healthy watershed, water is filtered and stored, but as water runs downhill, it can pick up whatever is on the ground beginning a process of altering water quality. When it flows through cities or across fields and pastures, water picks up dirt, pollutants, and heat. These contaminants flow into a stream, wetland or lake, affecting the water you use to drink, swim, or fish.
The hydrologic cycle works like a huge water pump powered by solar energy and gravity. It is a global system, and every molecule of water on Earth travels through it. Because it is a cycle, it has no beginning or end. For three and a half billion years, the Earth’s water has been moving from streams to lakes to oceans, flowing underground, sitting high up on mountain glaciers, freezing and melting on the edges of the polar ice caps and forming clouds in the atmosphere. Average weather conditions over time is what we call climate. Texas is so large it is affected by air drawn in from the Pacific Ocean as well as the humid topical air flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico.