A lot of people are concerned about the state of America?s surface water and water tables. Civil engineering is all about maintaining and protecting those water sources, with the assistance of entities like environmental consulting agencies and aerial surveying companies. All these, and more, work together to protect and improve our water.
Why Does it Need Watching?
A lot of things are happening with our water. Every year, we dig about 500,000 new residential wells. These connect the water supplies, but they also involve 18,460 drilling machines and 8,085 groundwater contracting firms. That?s a lot of potential for mistakes or problems and requires a lot of geotechnical investigation to get right.
Another reason we need to keep an eye on things is the state of pollution that already exists. More than two-thirds of our country?s bays and estuaries are polluted with nitrogen and phosphorous, and, according to water quality reports, 47% of US lakes and 45% of its streams are polluted. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the fact that we use 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides every year, most of which washes down into our waterways.
How Do We Watch It All?
There are a lot of ways we can do this, but one of the most basic is regular water quality monitoring. Water monitoring allows us to keep an eye on what?s happening on the ground in specific locations. It can alert us to a problem that crops up in one particular area, which then lets us search more efficiently for what could be causing it.
An aerial survey is another tool for keeping an eye on things. Aerial surveying allows us to get a big picture of any area. Aerial surveyors use drones, planes, balloons, or helicopters to take pictures, view an area under radar, look at things with infrared or ultraviolet light, and collect geophysical data. Often we can see things in an aerial survey that could never be detected on the ground.
Why Can We Do About It?
One thing we can all do immediately is to look into the water quality where we live. If it?s questionable, use a water filter for all drinking and cooking water. United States groundwater has been found, in general, to have more than 73 kinds of pesticides in it! In addition, we ought to do whatever we can to protect our water sources as we are able: for example, by switching to organic pesticides and weed killers and reducing our use of harsh chemicals for cleaning our homes, cars, and public spaces. We can also promote legislation that protects our waterways and allows for environmental consulting before projects that could affect it.
We need our water. Rainfall becomes groundwater, and the groundwater washes all kinds of pollutants into our streams and lakes where they can then enter our water table. It?s important we continue to do all all we can to protect and clean our water.