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Class 10 Geography Chapter 3 Notes - Water Resources

Understanding Earth's Water Resources

Earth's surface is primarily covered by water, with approximately three-fourths of the planet's surface covered by it.  However, only a small fraction of this vast water resource is freshwater that can be utilized by humans for various purposes.

Water covers 71% of Earth`s Surface. Of that 97% is salt water, and only 3% is fresh water.Water covers 71% of Earth's Surface. Of that 97% is salt water, and only 3% is fresh water.

  • Sources of Freshwater: The main sources of freshwater are surface runoff and groundwater, both of which are part of the Earth's hydrological cycle. Water's presence in the hydrological cycle means that it is a resource that can be naturally replenished over time.
  • Hydrological Cycle: The hydrological cycle is a continuous natural process where water evaporates from various water bodies (like oceans, lakes, and rivers), forms clouds, falls as precipitation, and flows back into these water bodies. This cycle ensures that water is constantly renewed and recharged, making it a renewable resource.
  • Water Scarcity Concerns: Despite the vast amount of water on Earth and its renewability, many regions and countries worldwide face water scarcity issues.

Question for Chapter Notes: Water Resources
Try yourself:How much of earth’s surface is covered with water?
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Water Scarcity and the Need for Water Conservation and Management

  • Despite water's apparent abundance and renewability, the threat of water scarcity exists.
  • Commonly, water shortages are associated with regions of low rainfall or those prone to drought, like the deserts of Rajasthan.
  • However, water scarcity is often due to over-exploitation, excessive use, and unequal access among different societal groups rather than availability alone.
  • Freshwater can be obtained from precipitation, surface runoff, and groundwater as per the hydrological cycle.

Groundwater MovementGroundwater Movement

  • The growing population requires more water for domestic use and food production, leading to over-exploitation of water resources for irrigated agriculture.
  • The need for increasing food-grain production has led to the expansion of irrigated areas for dry-season agriculture, with irrigated agriculture being the biggest consumer of water.
  • There is a need to revolutionize agriculture by developing drought-resistant crops and dry farming techniques to mitigate water scarcity.
  • Also, Post-Independence India has experienced significant industrialization and urbanization, leading to abundant opportunities.
  • The rapidly growing number of industries is putting pressure on existing freshwater resources, as industries use much water and power.

Question for Chapter Notes: Water Resources
Try yourself:Which sector is the biggest consumer of water?
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  • Hydroelectric power, a significant energy source for industries, accounts for about 22% of the total electricity produced in India.
  • Increasing urban centers with dense populations have also increased the demand for water and energy, exacerbating the problem.
  • Despite the quantitative aspects of water scarcity, there are situations where water is available in sufficient quantities. Still, its quality is poor due to pollution from domestic and industrial waste, chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers.
  • The Indian government has prioritized improving people's quality of life and ease of living, especially in rural areas, through initiatives like the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
  • JJM aims to provide every rural household with a regular supply of potable piped water.

Multi-Purpose River Projects and Integrated Water Resources Management

1. Dams

Dams are built not just for irrigation but for electricity generation, water supply for domestic and industrial uses, flood control, recreation, inland navigation and fish breeding. 
Hence, dams are now referred to as multi-purpose projects where the many uses of the impounded water are integrated with one another. 
For example, in the Sutluj-Beas river basin, the Bhakra – Nangal project water is being used both for hydel power production and irrigation. Similarly, the Hirakund project in the Mahanadi basin integrates conservation of water with flood control.

Structure of Dams

  • A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or retards the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment. “Dam” refers to the reservoir rather than the structure. 
  • Most dams have a section called a spillway or weir over which or through which it is intended that water will flow either intermittently or continuously. Dams are classified according to structure, intended purpose or height. 
  • Based on structure and the materials used, dams are classified as timber dams, embankment dams or masonry dams, with several subtypes. According to the height, dams can be categorised as large dams and major dams or alternatively as low dams, medium height dams and high dams.

Hirakud DamHirakud Dam

Adverse Effects of Dams

  • Regulating and damming of rivers affect their natural flow causing poor sediment flow and excessive sedimentation at the bottom of the reservoir, resulting in rockier stream beds and poorer habitats for the rivers’ aquatic life. 
  • Dams also fragment rivers making it difficult for aquatic fauna to migrate, especially for spawning. The reservoirs that are created on the floodplains also submerge the existing vegetation and soil leading to its decomposition over a period of time.

2. Change in Cropping Pattern

  • Irrigation has also changed the cropping pattern of many regions with farmers shifting to water-intensive and commercial crops
  • This has great ecological consequences like salinisation of the soil. 
  • At the same time, it has transformed the social landscape i.e. increasing the social gap between the rich landowners and the landless poor. 
  • As we can see, the dams did create conflicts between people wanting different uses and benefits from the same water resources.

Question for Chapter Notes: Water Resources
Try yourself:What is one of the ecological consequences of shifting to water-intensive and commercial crops due to irrigation?
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Rainwater Harvesting

Rooftop rainwater is collected using a PVC pipe.

  • Filtered using sand and bricks
  • Underground pipe takes water to sump for immediate usage
  • Excess water from the sump is taken to the well
  • Water from the well recharges the underground
  • Take water from the well (later)

In the semi-arid and arid regions of Rajasthan, particularly in Bikaner, Phalodi and Barmer, almost all the houses traditionally had underground tanks or tank for storing drinking water. The tanks could be as large as a big room; one household in Phalodi had a tank that was 6.1 metres deep, 4.27 metres long and 2.44 metres wide. 

Rainwater HarvestingRainwater Harvesting

  • The tanks were part of the well-developed rooftop rainwater harvesting system and were built inside the main house or the courtyard.
  • They were connected to the sloping roofs of the houses through a pipe. 
  • Rain falling on the rooftops would travel down the pipe and be stored in these underground ‘tankas’. 
  • The first spell of rain was usually not collected as this would clean the roofs and the pipes. 
  • The rainwater from the subsequent showers was then collected. 
  • The rainwater can be stored in the tankas till the next rainfall making it an extremely reliable source of drinking water when all other sources are dried up, particularly in the summers. 
  • Rainwater, or palar pani, as commonly referred to in these parts, is considered the purest form of natural water.
  • Many houses constructed underground rooms adjoining the ‘tanka’ to beat the summer heat as it would keep the room cool. 
  • Roof top rainwater harvesting is the most common practice in Shillong, Meghalaya. 
  • It is interesting because Cherapunjee and Mawsynram situated at a distance of 55 km. from Shillong receive the highest rainfall in the world, yet the state capital Shillong faces an acute shortage of water. 
  • Nearly every household in the city has a rooftop rainwater harvesting structure. Nearly 15-25 per cent of the total water requirement of the household comes from rooftop water harvesting.

Question for Chapter Notes: Water Resources
Try yourself:Rooftop rainwater harvesting is a technique to recharge
View Solution

Bamboo Drip Irrigation System

  • In Meghalaya, a 200-year-old system of tapping stream and spring water by using bamboo pipes is prevalent. 
  • About 18-20 litres of water enters the bamboo pipe system, gets transported over hundreds of metres, and finally reduced to 20-80 drops per minute are the site of the plant.Bamboo Drip Irrigation System
    Bamboo Drip Irrigation System
  • Tamil Nadu is the first and the only state in India which has made the rooftop rainwater harvesting structure compulsory to all the houses across the state. 
  • There are legal provisions to punish the defaulters. rainwater harvesting system which is adapted here. 
  • Gendathur receives annual precipitation of 1,000 mm, and with 80 per cent of collection efficiency and of about 10 fillings, every house can collect and use about 50,000 litres of water annually. 
  • From the 20 houses, the net amount of rainwater harvested annually amounts to 1,00,000 litres.
The document Class 10 Geography Chapter 3 Notes - Water Resources is a part of the Class 10 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 10.
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FAQs on Class 10 Geography Chapter 3 Notes - Water Resources

1. What is water scarcity and why is it a concern?
Ans. Water scarcity refers to a situation where the demand for water exceeds the available supply. It is a concern because it can have severe consequences on both human and environmental health. Water scarcity can lead to droughts, reduced agricultural productivity, waterborne diseases, and conflicts over water resources.
2. How does water conservation help in managing water resources?
Ans. Water conservation involves using water efficiently and avoiding wastage. It helps in managing water resources by reducing the demand for water, thus ensuring its availability for future generations. Water conservation techniques such as rainwater harvesting, using water-efficient appliances, and proper irrigation practices can significantly contribute to the sustainable management of water resources.
3. What are multi-purpose river projects and how do they contribute to water resources management?
Ans. Multi-purpose river projects are large-scale infrastructure projects that aim to harness the water resources of a river for various purposes like irrigation, hydropower generation, flood control, and water supply. These projects contribute to water resources management by providing a regulated and controlled supply of water for different uses, optimizing the utilization of available water resources, and mitigating the impacts of floods and droughts.
4. What is integrated water resources management and why is it important?
Ans. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of water resources and their management. It involves coordinating and integrating various sectors and stakeholders involved in water management to ensure the sustainable and equitable use of water resources. IWRM is important because it helps in addressing the complex challenges of water scarcity, pollution, and competing water uses, leading to more efficient and effective water resources management.
5. What is a bamboo drip irrigation system and how does it contribute to water conservation?
Ans. A bamboo drip irrigation system is a low-cost and sustainable method of providing water to plants in a controlled manner. It involves using bamboo pipes with small holes to drip water directly to the roots of plants. This system contributes to water conservation by minimizing water loss through evaporation and runoff. It also helps in reducing water usage by delivering water precisely to the plants' root zones, thereby improving irrigation efficiency.
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