Kid's Corner - Water

What is Water (H20) ?              

Water covers more than two-third of the earth's surface. But fresh water represents less than 0.5% of the total water on the earth's surface. The rest of the water is either in the form of seawater or locked up in icecaps or soil. Worldwide, the consumption of water is doubling every 20 years - more than twice the rate of increase in population. Due to the increase in population there has been a rise in the demand for food, space for housing, consumer products, etc., which has in turn resulted in increased industrialization, urbanization, and demands in agriculture thereby leading to both river and groundwater contamination.

What is water pollution?   
When toxic substances enter lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and other water bodies, they get dissolved or lie suspended in water or get deposited on the bed. This results in the pollution of water whereby the quality of the water deteriorates, affecting aquatic ecosystems. Pollutants can also seep down and affect the groundwater deposits. 
Sources of Water Pollution 
Domestic sewage 
Domestic sewage refers to wastewater that is discarded from households. Today, many people dump their garbage into streams, lakes, rivers, and seas, thus making water bodies the final resting place of cans, bottles, plastics, and other household products. Also referred to as sanitary sewage, such water contains a wide variety of dissolved and suspended impurities. 
Agricultural Run off 
The use of land for agriculture and the practices followed in cultivation greatly affect the quality of groundwater. The high nitrate content in groundwater is mainly from irrigation run-off from agricultural fields where chemical fertilizers have been used indiscriminately. 
Industrial Effluents 
Wastewater from manufacturing or chemical processes in industries contributes to water pollution. Water pollution is concentrated within a few sub sectors, mainly in the form of toxic wastes and organic pollutants.

Effects of Water Pollution   
Water pollution is not only affect the people but also to animals, fish, and birds. Polluted water is unsuitable for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industry It diminishes the aesthetic quality of lakes and rivers. Contaminated water destroys aquatic life and reduces its reproductive ability. 

Health impacts of water pollution 
Water-borne diseases are infectious diseases spread primarily through contaminated water. Hepatitis, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid are the more common water-borne diseases that affect large populations in the tropical regions. Exposure to polluted water can cause diarrhea, skin irritation, respiratory problems, and other diseases, depending on the pollutant that is in the water body. Stagnant water and other untreated water provide a habitat for the mosquito and a host of other parasites and insects that cause a large number of diseases especially in the tropical regions.

Water-borne Diseases


Typhoid, Cholera, Paratyphoid fever, Bacillary,  dysentery Bacterial infections
Infectious Hepatitis (jaundice), Poliomyelitis Viral infections
Amoebic dysentery Protozoal infections

Preventive measures

  • Proper management of water resources has become the need of the hour as this would ultimately lead to a cleaner and healthier environment.
  • The city water supply should be properly checked and necessary steps taken to disinfect it. Water pipes should be regularly checked for leaks and cracks.
  • At home, the water should be boiled, filtered, or other methods and necessary steps taken to ensure that it is free from infection.

Water Conservation 
Over the years rising population, growing industrialization and expanding agriculture have pushed up the demand for water. So conservation of water has become the need of the day.

Rainwater harvesting essentially means collecting rainwater on the roofs of building and storing it underground for later use. It is essential to improve groundwater decline and groundwater levels, arrest seawater ingress, i.e. prevent the sea from moving further land ward, and conserve surface water run-off during the rainy season and urban wastewater.

What are the ways to conserve water? 

  • Use only as much water as you require. 
  • Close the taps well after use.
  • While brushing your teeth do not leave the tap running, open it only when you require it.See that there are no leaking taps. Get a plumber to come in and seal all leaks. 
  • Use a washing machine that does not consume too much water. 
  • Do not leave the taps running while washing dishes and clothes. 
  • Install small shower heads to reduce the flow of the water. 
  • Water in which the vegetables and fruits have been washed can be used to water the flowers and ornamental potted plants. 
  • At the end of the day if you have water left in your water bottle do not throw it away, pour it over some plants.


http://coe.mse.ac.in 2003-09. Madras School of Economics - Systems Department