Water Supply Methods – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Water Supply Methods" is a marvelous example of a term paper on environmental studies. Countries in arid areas are faced with numerous challenges in their day to day lives. One of the major challenges facing such countries is the availability of water. This is mainly because these countries do not have consistent rainfall patterns to sustain their needs. Additionally, when it rains sometimes the rainfall is not adequate as would have been expected to cause a lot of challenges to conduct their activities. Ethiopia is a country in Africa that is faced with this challenge.

This can be attributed to the fact that it is situated in sub-Sahara, whereby water scarcity is mostly experienced. However, in an attempt to remedy the situation there are certain methods of water collection that could be applied to meet the water requirements in the country. In order to select the most suitable method, it is better to understand the various sources of water. The first source of water is rainwater. Rainwater is seasonal meaning that it is not constantly available to people. It is dependent on the weather pattern, in that there are times when regions experience a dry spell meaning no rain.

Also, there is a wet season where a region experiences plenty of rainfall. The other source of water is groundwater. Surface water as the name suggests is water found on the surface of the earth. Examples of groundwater include rivers, dams, lakes, and ponds. Then there is the groundwater that is found beneath the earth’ s surface. It could be in the form of underground lakes or the waterbed which is located beneath the earth’ s surface.

With these sources in mind, it is then possible to pick the best suitable water supply method that would allow people to conduct their normal activities (Salvato, Nemerow and Agardy 100) Water supply methods Boreholes Boreholes are shafts that are drilled deep into the water table and are characterized by small diameters. Boreholes are normally constructed where the water table is far from the surface water meaning that it would be practically impossible to reach it merely by digging wells. The borehole is constructed by the use of drilling machines that have the ability to drill past the bedrocks so as to reach the water table.

The water table refers to groundwater whereby water fills the pores in the soil until it reaches a saturation point. The water table level depends on the topography of the region and the weather pattern meaning that it can be close to the surface or deep into the ground. Since Ethiopia is sub-Saharan country its water table in most regions is deep into the ground and therefore the best way to reaching it is by drilling boreholes (Misstear, Banks and Clark 180) Advantages and disadvantages of boreholes There are certain benefits associated with the drilling of a borehole to retrieve groundwater and some of the advantages associated with the drilling of boreholes include: boreholes are not prone to drought meaning that they can withstand dry spell.

This is attributed to the fact that most borehole is drilled deep into the underlying water beds and therefore are less likely to be affected by persistent drought. Also, boreholes are not affected by contamination which can be attributed to the diameter of the hole, meaning that very little can fall through the opening contaminating the water.

Boreholes can also employ the use of electronic and mechanical pumps to retrieve water. Therefore, this means that boreholes can be drilled in regions that do not have access to electricity and people will still be able to retrieve the water. Additionally, boreholes can be used to monitor the level of water in the water table, which could come in handy in determining the number of boreholes that need to be drilled in a specific region.

However, boreholes are expensive especially during the drilling phase as they require advanced drilling tools to drill the ground which is characterized by bedrocks. It also requires the application of a lot of energy to draw water and in most instances, electricity is best suited. It is also impossible to carry out repair and maintenance on the parts that are underground (Misstear, Banks and Clark 300) Construction of dams Additionally, dams could be constructed to store and collect water during rainy seasons. Dams act as artificial lakes due to the ability to collect and store large amounts of water.

The dam is usually collect runoff water and also to collect and reserve water from the seasonal river. This usually occurs in rainy seasons and since Ethiopia has a checked weather pattern it is important to collect and store any amount of water that falls as rain. Dams can either be rigid meaning that they are constructed from concrete and still or could be non-rigid dams such as rock-filled dams (Oxlade 70) Advantages and disadvantages of dams One of the advantages of using dams is the fact that they are capable of storing large amounts of water.

This ability makes it possible for other activities that require water to be conducted with ease. Dams also, help in reducing flooding which is usually experienced during heavy rains or sporadic storms. Additionally, dams could be used for other actives other than just water supply. These activities could be a source of revenue for both individuals located around the dams or the government. One of the probable activities that could be undertaken by individuals is fishing, whereby they rear fish for commercial and domestic use.

Governments, on the other hand, could use the dams to generate electricity for domestic use. Despite these benefits associated with dams, there are certain drawbacks when it comes to the use of dams as a water supply method. One of the disadvantages is the fact that dams are expensive to construct and require constant maintenance to maintain the walls of the dams. Dams could also pose health hazards, by acting as breeding grounds for mosquitoes due to stagnation of water.

In addition to these dams that are constructed on seasonal river affect the flow of water which could prove challenging for individuals in the downstream (Oxlade 250) Dug wells Additionally, the government can construct wells that are to be used for domestic purposes. Dug wells are not deep and do not require a lot of technology to construct them. Water from the wells is drawn by the use of buckets tied to a rope. However, this could be altered by the use of manually controlled hydraulic pumps to draw water from the well (Salvato, Nemerow and Agardy 344) Advantages and disadvantages of dug wells Dug wells are easy to construct meaning that they do not require a lot of funding and use of sophisticated types of machinery during their construction.

Additionally, if they are well covered they can produce clean water which is safe for consumption. However, there are certain characteristics of dug wells that make them unfavorable for use. One of these is that they are likely to be contaminated especially where the opening to the well is not covered properly.

Additionally, dug wells are not so deep, meaning that they are seasonal. This is because they depend on the weather pattern and therefore during long dry spells there is the possibility of them drying. In relation to this, dug wells can only be constructed only where the water table is close to the surface which could prove challenging to most areas in Ethiopia (Salvato, Nemerow and Agardy 348) Most suitable water supply method The most suitable water supply method in Ethiopia would be drilling of boreholes. This is because boreholes could be dug in almost every region of the country no matter the topography of the region.

Additionally, boreholes are dug deep into the earth’ s surface and therefore they can with a long dry spell. This is compared to dams that are prone to drying in the event of long dry spells as a result of evaporation. Also, since dug wells are not dug deep into the earth they are prone to drying when the water table recedes. Additionally, boreholes are less vulnerable to contamination meaning that the water drawn from them is pure and clean unlike water drawn from dug wells and dams.


Misstear, Bruce, Banks, David and Clark, Lewis. Water Wells and Boreholes. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.Print.

Oxlade, Chris. Dams, 2nd edn. New Hampshire: Heinemann Library, 2006. Print.

Salvato, Joseph A, Nemerow, Nelson L and Agardy, Franklin J. Environmental Engineering. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Print.

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