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Where Has Our Water Gone?



Where Has Our Water Gone?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.45

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    drinkable, undrinkable, saltwater, strained, freshwater, purify, network, reservoir, hopefully, pumped, unlimited, wells, harmful, rocks, journey, chlorine
     content words:    New York City


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Where Has Our Water Gone?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     "Where, oh where has our water gone?" Hopefully, we will never have to answer that question here on earth. It is easy to think that we have an unlimited supply of water. Every time we turn on our water faucets, we are rewarded with a steady flow of water. However, as the earth's population increases, our water use increases. New York City alone consumes about 1.8 million gallons (7 billion liters) of water every day! So where is most of our drinkable (fresh water) located?
 
2     Most of our water is found in oceans which contain saltwater. Our drinkable water is located in rivers, lakes, glaciers (frozen), and wells. The water is pumped through a huge network of pipes as it makes its way to our faucets. However, before the water journeys through the pipes, it is pumped into reservoirs. Reservoirs are storage tanks or artificial lakes for storing water. Once the water is pumped into reservoirs, it needs to be cleaned before it is drinkable. This cleaning is called water treatment. Rivers, lakes, and streams carry earth materials such as rocks, sand, and leaves. When the water enters the reservoirs, the solid earth materials settle to the bottom of the reservoir. Gates open to let the water on the top flow into the water treatment plant. (No, this plant does not have leaves!) Once the water enters the plant, it is strained or filtered to remove larger solid materials. To get the smaller materials, the water is filtered through sand and gravel. Finally, the water is treated with chlorine and other chemicals to kill any germs that may be in the water. You are probably more familiar with chlorine in swimming pools. Chlorine helps to keep the water clean or purified. Now that the water is cleaned, it is pumped into main supply pipes or storage reservoirs. It is ready to be sent on its journey to your faucet.

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