Frank, Bernard Formerly, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
McClure, Michelle Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington.
Press, George Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington.
Walsh, John J. Brookhaven National Laboratories, Upton, New York.
Last reviewed:March 2017
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- Water distribution
- Human impacts
- Patterns of water distribution and use
- Changes in hydrologic features
- Water pollution
- Global climate change
- Stormwater runoff
- Progress and technologies
- Coastal water conservation
- Toxic materials
- Thermal pollution
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The protection, development, and efficient management of water resources. Water's physical and chemical properties make it essential to life and civilization. It is combined with carbon dioxide in the synthesis of carbohydrates by green plants, from which all other foods are formed. It is a highly efficient medium for dissolving and transporting nutrients through the soil and throughout the bodies of plants and animals. It can also carry deadly organisms and toxic wastes. Water is a raw material that is indispensable for many domestic and industrial purposes. However, the availability of freshwater is being affected by global climate change (see illustration).
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