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Lost Water?



Lost Water?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    oversaturated, percolate, porous, nitrogen, rainstorm, sluice, continuous, billion, network, atmosphere, vinegar, chlorine, vapor, reservoir, acidic, sulfur
     content words:    New York City


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Lost Water?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Have we lost our water? Well, if we keep polluting and using up our fresh water supply, we may have to answer that question. 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 stream of flowing 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 water located?
 
2     Over seventy-five percent of our earth is covered with water. Most of that water is the saltwater found in oceans. Our drinkable water is located in rivers, lakes, glaciers (frozen), and beneath land surfaces as groundwater. Groundwater is usually found near water tables. A water table is the upper limit of a saturated section of ground. As more rainwater falls and soaks up the ground, more groundwater is produced. The surface becomes oversaturated. When this oversaturated surface dips below the water table, we begin to see the beginnings of lakes and springs. Water wells are dug below water tables so that there is a continuous supply of water. Groundwater may also percolate or seep out of ground or porous rocks. How does this water get to our homes and businesses?
 
3     The water is pumped to its first destination which is our reservoirs. Reservoirs are storage tanks or artificial lakes that store water. Water from rivers, lakes, and streams needs to be cleaned before it is drinkable. When the water enters the reservoirs, the solid earth materials carried in the water settle to the bottom of the reservoir. Sluice gates open to let the water on the top of the reservoir flow into water treatment plants. (No, this plant does not have leaves!) Water treatment plants clean rainwater and groundwater with chlorine and other chemicals to remove germs and dirt. Once the water enters the plant, it is strained or filtered to remove larger solid materials. To get the smaller materials, the water is sent through filters that contain layers of sand and gravel. These thick filters are in tanks that look like large round Petri dishes. By using sand and gravel filters, which are cleaned everyday, smaller materials will stay behind as the water flows out. 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 (mains) or storage reservoirs. The journey continues from the mains and storage reservoirs through a huge network of pipes to the faucets in our homes, schools, and businesses.

Paragraphs 4 to 5:
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