GEOL 100 Joliet Junior College Issues of Drinking Water Availability and Quality in The Southwestern US Questions


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Study Guide for Water Resources: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
Study Guide for Water Resources
Study Guide for Water Resources (revised slightly, 18 March 2020)
Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.
Samuel Coleridge
Water is the one Earth resource that all life absolutely, positively has to have to exist. We humans
can (and will, probably) be able to live without fossil fuels, but we must have water.
Before you begin, be sure you have:
1. studied the appropriate chapters (16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21) in your text, and successfully
completed the homework on same.
2. examined all of the extra materials in the Mastering Study Area pertaining to these chapters
3. watched the Earth Revealed video #21 on groundwater (in Videos in Blackboard)
THE BIG PICTURE: History of water in the west, beginning with John Wesley Powell
John Wesley Powell was the amazing one-armed Civil War Major (arm lost at the battle of Shiloh),
who was a geologist from Illinois who led the first expedition to explore the Colorado River through
the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest in general. There is a book that everyone in the
American West should read. It is called Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its
Disappearing Water, written by Marc Reisner (1986). From about 100 degrees west longitude to the
Pacific Ocean, the American West has a long history of too little water to support civilizations that
have developed there, going as far back as the Anasazi, more than a thousand years ago. You could
buy this book from Amazon as a Kindle edition ( ( ) or at least read the Wikipedia entry
at () to
get a general idea of the subject. I have found PDF’s of the first four chapters of the book online, and
they can be found on blackboard in the same area you see this file.
Next, consider our current predicament in California. I’ll begin with a deliberately provocative
statement: Southern California is a DESERT! When Cabrillo “discovered” San Diego by landing at
Point Loma in 1542, the vegetation would have looked very much like the chaparral seen when you
hike down the Bayside Trail. There is no similarity between that landscape and what we see in our
urban and suburb and residential neighborhoods. Southern California, including San Diego, lives on
imported water, brought to us via great aqueducts from Northern California and the Colorado River.

Study Guide for Water Resources: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
The population of San Diego County has exploded from approximately 200,000 just before World
War II to over 3,000,000 today.
Let’s look at some contemporary problems with our use and abuse of H2O in the American West.
Case Study A. Groundwater as a renewable resource
The Ogallala Aquifer is a body of sediments (now, sedimentary rock) that accumulated from
streams flowing eastward from the Rocky Mountains from about 18 million through 5 million years
ago. It is now a body of rock that ranges between 0 and 400 feet thick, and extends from the
Colorado Front Range east as far as eastern Nebraska, north to southern South Dakota, and south
to West Texas, near Midland and Odessa. This map, pulled from Wikipedia
( () )
shows the extent and thickness of the Ogallala Aquifer.
Recharge of this water resource occurs at the mountain front, and the water slowly percolates to the
east, where it gets pumped out of the ground relatively quickly. Much of this agricultural land used to
be “dry-land” farmed – that is, they used whatever rainfall Mother Nature gave them. But advances
in technology allowed the introduction of center-pivot irrigation, pumping lots of water out of the
Ogallala Aquifer, greening the high plains in more ways than one.

Study Guide for Water Resources: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
The picture above is a Google Earth image of Guymon (in the Oklahoma Panhandle) – most of the
green dots are individual half-mile diameter plots with a single center-pivot system feeding water to
Please study the Wikipedia article at
() , and then watch this video: Water Scarcity on the Texas
High Plains: The Ogallala Aquifer ( ()
Case Study B. Bottled Water
This is a subject I feel strongly about: an economic and ecological disaster on many levels. In class,
I’ve been known to foam at the mouth, but you’ll be spared that spectacle. “Who owns the water?” is
a question that Americans have struggled with since the early days of westward expansion. We live
in a county that averages less than 10 inches of annual precipitation, which classifies it as a virtual
desert. We import water from the Sacramento River Delta via the California Aqueduct and from the
Colorado River via various aqueducts. Some water is captured from runoff from local rainfall. Yet we
have lush lawns and gardens that require that we irrigate with this water imported at great expense.
The quality of municipal tap water is carefully monitored, and the results of testing are carefully
monitored. However, many people spend considerable money on individual bottles of drinking, which
costs more per gallon than gasoline, but don’t know what impurities it might contain. Three large
multinational companies (Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Pepsi) produce a substantial portion of this water.
Please study the Wikipedia article at
() , especially the section “Bottled water versus tap water.”
Next, watch the video “Tapped” (2009), which you’ll find in YouTube (
(http://%20) ) and check out the official web site for the movie at
() – note that there is a LOT of attempted
manipulation of the information by the powers-that-be, so read everything with a jaundiced eye! Read
all of “The Issues” discussed from the home page.
Case Study C. Fracking
Hydraulic Fracturing, or “Fracking”, is a method of extracting natural gas from subsurface reservoirs
that weren’t available by simply drilling and pumping. This is accomplished by drilling a vertical hole
down to the rock layer of interest, then drilling horizontally within that layer, which is typically shale

Study Guide for Water Resources: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
(an aquiclude). Then, to get the natural gas to flow, the rock is fractured by pumping various
chemicals under high pressure into the deep layer. Generally, the vertical drill-hole passes through
aquifers used by local citizens for their drinking water, so the gas well must be carefully lined and
sealed to prevent contamination of drinking water. You may have seen advertisements from the oil
industry indicating that they are being very careful in their extraction, but the results so far have been
mixed, to try to be fair.
Here’s yet another Wikipedia article:
() , noting the graphic illustrating how it works, and
consider the chemicals used which could potentially contaminate groundwater. Another
documentary video: “Meet the Frackers” – it can be viewed in YouTube at
() .
Case Study D. “Waste” Water Treatment
OK, so you’ve brought drinking water to your residence from hundreds of miles away, at great
expense. You took showers, made coffee, made soup, washed your dishes, watered the lawn and
flushed the toilet. Now what to do with the soiled water? Assuming you live in a city which is part of a
sewage treatment district, away it goes to some sort of a facility to “treat” (hopefully, purify) the water
to return it to the water supply. Think Hydrologic Cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation,
infiltration, runoff, etc. I live in Point Loma, near San Diego’s major sewage treatment facility, the
history of which can be found at
() – check it out. Note what is done with the
“treated” water. There is a long pipe which delivers the water into about 300 feet of water in the
ocean 4.5 miles west of the plant, which you can see in the Google Earth image here.
This water cost a lot to procure, so why do we just throw it away? Where is “away” anyway? There
have been may attempts over the years to bring this “waste” water back into the reservoirs or
groundwater aquifers, but with no success thus far. Reason number one is the “ick” factor – calling
the project “toilet to tap” is not a good marketing ploy. But if you watched the Earth Revealed video
on groundwater you learned that Orange County has been doing just this kind of recycling for over 20

Study Guide for Water Resources: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
years! Further, the water we import from the Colorado River has already passed through the
wastewater treatment plants of many communities along the river, including Las Vegas.
Ultimately, all water is “toilet to tap” – most of the water on Earth has been here for billions of

Climate Change Study Guide: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
Climate Change Study Guide
First, study the appropriate chapter (21) in your text, and study the Smart Figures and
Interactive Animations for the chapter in the Study Area of Mastering.
Second, complete the chapter homework in Mastering.
Then check out the Fifth Assessment Report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change)
note that the Sixth AR study is underway, but has a couple more years to run…
Please skim the links on the web page of Working Group I (The Physical Science Basis) of the IPCC
Fifth Assessment Report (
() )

Fact Sheet is attached
Note that there are two other working groups of the IPCC, whose information you may want to look

Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability ( web
() )

Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change ( web site:
() )
There is a lot of information in the reports above, but it’s extremely important to understand that
these are the results of the work of many scientists around the world.
Now let’s take a look at how climate change has been studied in my lifetime (since 1945).
The Greenhouse Effect
The ‘Greenhouse Effect’ discovered in 1824 by Joseph Fourier is what keeps the earth from being a frozen
ball in space. Without greenhouse gases (GHG’s) the temperature of earth would be below freezing and
incapable of supporting life as we know it. It is precisely because GHG’s other than water are such a tiny
fraction of the atmosphere that adding a little more can have a large effect on the climate system of earth.
Here’s a brief YouTube video which explains:


Climate Change Study Guide: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
The Keeling Curve
The Keeling Curve provided the first clear evidence that carbon dioxide was accumulating in the atmosphere as
the result of humanity’s use of fossil fuels. It turned speculations about increasing CO2 from theory into fact.
Over time, it served to anchor other aspects of the science of global warming.
Three videos from Scripps Institution of Oceanography will help your understanding of this observed data:

The Keeling Curve Turns 50:


The (Ralph) Keeling Curve:


Crossing 400: The Keeling Curve Reaches a Historic Milestone:
The official Keeling Curve web site gives the latest CO2 concentration from Mauna Loa Observatory. It is at
– look at the various scales, from one week to the last 800,000 years.
One more video from Scripps showing the role of satellite sensing of atmosphere and ocean, entitled
Earth’s Outlook from Above:

Ice is nice!
Next, here’s a series of three videos from the National Science Foundation showing how we can
get data from air bubbles locked in Antarctic (and Greenland) ice for millions of years:

Climate Change Study Guide: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
• Ancient Ice and Our Planet’s Future:
• Life on the Ice:

• Modeling Our Future Climate:
What do they do with these ice cores collected? They bring them back from Antarctica and
Greenland, and then they need to be studies in very COLD labs in places like Colorado, North
Dakota, New Hampshire, Washington and elsewhere. Some videos:
National Ice Core Lab Stores Valuable Ancient Ice:
ttp:// (
Science Nation – Ice Core Secrets Could Reveal Answers to Global Warming:
ttp:// (
Note that climate studies have been going on for hundreds of years now, and there are many
variables, feedback loops (both negative and positive) at work, and the laws of Murphy and
Unintended Consequences always apply. Proxy data are collected by oceanographers from the

Climate Change Study Guide: Spring 2020 – GEOL 100 (26971 – online)
ocean floor in the form of shells of tiny plankton. But hopefully, you have enough information to get
started on an essay on the very broad subject of Climate Change.
All of these videos may be found under ‘Assigned Videos’ — ‘Climate Change Videos’
Links and attachments can be found there
As always, please keep in mind my plagiarism policy. Thank you!
WG1AR5_FactSheet.pdf (

The Physical Science Basis
Working Group I Fact Sheet
The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI AR5) provides a
comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change. The report was developed
by an international team of scientists who were selected in May 2010. It went through a multi-stage
review process involving expert reviewers and governments. It will be presented to the IPCC member
governments for approval and acceptance in September 2013.
The Report
1 Scoping Meeting to outline 14 Chapters § Over 1000 nominations from 63 countries §
209 Lead Authors and 50 Review Editors from 39 countries § Over 600 Contributing
Authors from 32 countries § Over 2 million gigabytes of numerical data from climate model
simulations § Over 9200 scientific publications cited §
The First Order Draft Expert Review
§ Nearly
1500 individuals registered § 21,400 comments from 659 Expert Reviewers from
47 countries §
The Second Order Draft Expert and Government Review
§ Over
individuals registered §
comments from
Expert Reviewers from
46 countries and 26 Governments §
The Final Government Distribution
§ 1855 comments from 32 Governments on the Final Draft Summary for Policymakers §
Total Reviews
§ 54,677 comments § 1089 Expert Reviewers from 55 countries § 38 Governments §
The WGI Approval Session
§ 23-26 September 2013, Stockholm, Sweden § The Summary for Policymakers will be
approved line-by-line by up to 195 Governments §
WGI Technical Support Unit ž c/o University of Bern
Zaehringerstrasse 25 ž 3012 Bern ž Switzerland
telephone +41 31 631 5616 ž fax +41 31 631 5615 ž email ž
Photo © Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Altitude
Additional information is available from
The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) contains contributions from three Working Groups. Working
Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change. Working Group II assesses impacts,
adaptation and vulnerability while Working Group III assesses the mitigation of climate change. The
Synthesis Report draws on the assessments made by all three Working Groups.
The Working Group I contribution to the AR5 (WGI AR5) has 14 chapters, a Technical Summary and a
Summary for Policymakers. The report includes an assessment of observations of the climate system,
with separate chapters covering changes in the atmosphere and surface, the ocean and the cryosphere,
as well as information from paleoclimate archives. There are chapters covering the carbon cycle, the
science of clouds and aerosols, radiative forcing and sea level change. Coverage of climate change
projections is extended by assessing both near-term and long-term projections. Climate phenomena
such as monsoon and El Niño and their relevance for future regional climate change are assessed. An
innovative feature of the WGI AR5 is the Atlas of Global and Regional Climate Projections (Annex I),
which is intended to enhance accessibility for users and stakeholders.
The WGI AR5 involved experts from around the world with expertise in the many different disciplines
necessary to produce a comprehensive assessment of the physical science of climate change according
to the approved chapter outlines. There were 209 Lead Authors and 50 Review Editors. More than 600
additional experts were invited by the Lead Authors of the report to be Contributing Authors and to
provide additional specific knowledge or expertise in a given area.
Lead Authors and Review Editors were selected for their scientific and technical expertise in relation to
the approved chapter outlines for the WGI AR5 from lists of experts nominated by governments and
IPCC observer organisations. Regional and gender balance were also considered, as well as ensuring
the involvement of experts who had not worked on IPCC assessments before.
The author teams assessed thousands of sources of scientific and technical information in the course of
their work on WGI AR5. Priority is given to peer-reviewed literature if available and over 9,200
publications are cited in the WGI report.
Multiple stages of review are an essential part of the IPCC process. Both expert reviewers and
governments are invited at different stages to comment on the scientific and technical assessment and
the overall balance of the drafts. The review process includes worldwide participation, with hundreds of
experts reviewing the accuracy and completeness of the scientific assessment contained in the drafts.
The WGI AR5 will be presented to the IPCC member governments for approval and acceptance in
September 2013.
IPCC WGI Technical Support Unit, Bern
30 August 2013

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