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Lesson 11: Water Resources

Three Bay Lake, Sequoia National Park, CAThis week's lesson is our first to focus on Earth's resources, and we'll start with one that each of us uses—and probably takes for granted—every day, water. Whether held in a mountain lake (like Three Bay Lake in Sequoia National Park, at right) or an underground aquifer, fresh water is an critical resource whose historical patterns of availability are likely to change during coming decades as global warming shifts climate patterns and melts mountain glaciers. In the coming weeks we'll also learn about the formation and conservation of mineral resources, energy resources and soils before concluding with a brief look at how we are dealing with the waste and pollution that result from humanity's use of Earth's resources.

Keller introduces water resources As you read through this chapter on water resources, it will be helpful to take notes on topics addressed by the learning objectives so that you can keep track of key facts and concepts and recall them more easily when we use them later in the semester. Be sure that you are prepared to meet the learning objectives outlined below before you move on to the quiz at the bottom of the page.

As you read through the introduction to water resources in our text and study the accompanying websites it will be helpful to take careful notes. A lot of information that bears on this week's learning objectives is presented in the text, and writing out key facts in your own words or making neatly labeled drawings will help you better understand the significance of what you've read and spot any gaps in your knowledge. Having complete notes will also make it easier for you to review for this week's quiz and and access what you've learned when you want to refer back to it for future assignments. Be sure that you are prepared to meet the learning objectives outlined below before you move on to the quiz at the bottom of the page.

Weekly Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this week's lesson, a student is expected to be able to:

Reading and Browsing Assignment

Exercise 11: Snowpack Monitoring (Due by 9:00 AM on 1-Nov-2010)

Most of the water used in California originates as mountain snowpacks. Consequently, it is critical for the hydrologists who manage the state's water system to know how much water is "stored" in the mountains after winter storms in order for them to estimate how much can later be delivered to cities and farms. To learn how water managers estimate when and how much water will be available from mountain snowpacks, please point your browser to the Hazard City website and work through version 3 of the Snowpack Monitoring exercise. Pay careful attention to the approximate dates on which snowmelt begins and ends at each site when you review the SNOTEL records, and be sure to jot down any observations that might help you remember why you made the decisions you did. (I suggest printing the form that is part of the exerise, filling it in, and then adding any notes that might be helpful.) Finally, go to the Etudes "Assignments, Tests, and Surveys" area to complete Exercise 11. Also note that there are only five questions in the exercise this week, so each is worth two points.

Quiz 11: Water Resources (Due by 9:00 AM on 1-Nov-2010.)

After you feel you have met the learning outcomes outlined above, please complete Quiz 11 in the Etudes "Assignments, Tests, and Surveys" area. There are ten questions, each worth one point. If you can answer all of them correctly it means that you know your way around the basics of water resources and wetlands pretty well and are ready to move on to a more detailed look at water pollution next week. Remember, answers will be available for review after 10:00 AM next Tuesday so please look over the results of your quiz and contact me if you have any questions about either content or scoring.