120 Water Essay Topics

🏆 best essay topics on water, 👍 good water research topics & essay examples, 📌 easy water essay topics, 🎓 most interesting water research titles, ❓ research questions about water.

  • Water Recycling: Why Is It Important? Different countries face varying challenges in as far as provision of clean water to its population is concerned depending with its economic development level and geographic location.
  • Environmental Pollution (Fresh Water) In terms of the water Pollution, conditioning it would be analyzed whether it has declined or improved over the past few years and if so the degree would be determined.
  • Water Pollution This essay seeks to examine the concept of water pollution, its causes, effects and solutions to water pollution.
  • Bottled Water Impact on Environment This paper seeks to amplify the need for regulation of the used water bottles. It is quite obvious that water bottles are the highest in a number of all bottles thrown away after use.
  • The Environmental Impact of Bottled Water This paper examines the real situational effects on production of the bottled water to environmental degradation.
  • Environmental Studies: Water Recycling Different countries face varying challenges in as far as the provision of clean water to its population is concerned depending on its economic development level and geographic location.
  • Water Scarcity Issue and Environment The paper answers the question why to be worried about running out of drinking water even though the earth’s surface is mostly made of water.
  • Water Management and Ecology Issues The paper studies water management, its various implications and explains why this area is important on examples of environmental issues.
  • Water in the Atmosphere The relative humidity of air can be changed by changing either the temperature of the thermodynamic system in question or the pressure in the system under consideration.
  • Oil, Water and Corruption in Central Asian States The region of Central Asia has been a focus of the world’s political and economic attention due to its rich oil and gas resources. Corruption is the main curse of Central Asian states.
  • Bottled Water Impacts on Environment As the use of bottled water continue to rise steadily around the world, many critics have focused on its impacts on the environment, economy and other social implications related to the use.
  • Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam by Nhuong The book Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam by Nhuong tells the story of a young boy in a central village in Vietnam. The story presents unique characteristics of Vietnam society and culture.
  • Water Pollution Causes, Effects and Solutions This essay seeks to examine the concept of water pollution, its causes, effects and solutions to water pollution. Water pollution takes place in various water bodies all over the world.
  • Water and Its Properties Water is the most abundant liquid on the universe comprising over 70% of earth’s composition. It exists in three forms namely liquid, solid, and gaseous states.
  • Water Quality and Contamination In this paper, carries out detailed experiments on the bottled and tap water available to consumers to establish whether it is worthwhile to purchase bottled water.
  • Third-Party Logistics, Water Transportation, Pipelines Transportation plays a crucial role in today’s business world. This work shows the benefits and limitations of third-party logistics providers, water transportation, and pipelines.
  • Don’t Ship Air and Don’t Ship Water Strategies The appearance of the principles “don’t ship water” and “don’t ship air” is mainly determined by two aims: optimizing the performance of supply chains and making it more “green.”
  • Green Infrastructure in Water Management This paper evaluates the utility of water management in urban areas from the aspect of perception and interpretation of green infrastructure in water management.
  • Water Quality and Contamination Experiment Report This paper seeks to provide a detailed report on what should be done to ensure quality water for human consumption.
  • Environmental Legislation: Clean Water Act Clean Water Act determines water quality standards, serves as a basis for the enactment of pollution control programs, and regulates the presence of contaminants in surface water.
  • Virtual Water Savings and Trade in Agriculture The idea of virtual water was initially created as a method for assessing how water-rare nations could offer food, clothing, and other water-intensive products to their residents.
  • “Erin Brockovich” Film and 2014 Flint Water Crisis This paper analyzes the movie “Erin Brockovich” and compares it with the current situation in Flint, which started in April 2014.
  • Substances Influence on Water The objective of the experiment will be to find if the freezing rate of water changes when different substances are added.
  • Water Accessibility and Quality The following case study explores the effect of negligence towards water stewardship and provides recommendations on the roles of stakeholders in the process.
  • The Water Cycle and the Impact of Human Activity on It The water cycle is an important biogeochemical cycle that involves the movement of water on, below, and above the Earth’s surface.
  • Water Quality Improvement for Global Health This proposal determines the necessity of water quality from the perspective of global health. The funding will be provided by the government and non-governmental organizations.
  • Virtual Water Trade of Agricultural Products Virtual water trade is a concept associated with globalization and the global economy. Its rise was motivated by growing water scarcity in arid areas around the world.
  • Glacéau Company: Vitamin Water Ethics The business practice of this paper is the production and sale of vitamin water by Glacéau in which the company states that the water being sold has been “enriched” with vitamins.
  • Virtual Water Trade and Savings in Agriculture This essay discusses the savings associated with virtual water trade in agriculture and touches on the effects of a shift to local agricultural production on global water savings.
  • Water Savings and Virtual Trade in Agriculture Water trade in agriculture is not a practice that is unique to the modern generation. The practice was common long before the emergence of the Egyptian Empire.
  • Active Remediation Algorithm for Water Service in Flint The Active Remediation algorithm aims to inspect the water service in Flint, Michigan, and identify those lead pipes that need to be replaced by copper pipes.
  • Virtual Water Content and Global Water Savings The Virtual Water Content concept was the byproduct of discussions regarding the need to provide food in countries suffering from drought or plagued with perpetual water scarcity.
  • FIJI Water Company’s Success The business owners of FIJI Water embarked on a very active marketing campaign aimed at the promotion of the water, as well as the establishment and maintenance of FIJI Water’s brand.
  • “Bling H2O” Bottled Water in the Australian Market Bling H2O water is the world’s most expensive bottled water. The brand’s creator targeted to sell it to the celebrities who highly esteem their bottled water.
  • Water Sanitation Program in Saudi Arabia In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the demand for water continues to increase without an equivalent increase in the supply, the level of hygiene may soon become a problem.
  • Water Management in the “Flow” Documentary The documentary “Flow” discusses and describes two significant things that are preventing people from having access to freshwater.
  • Water Resources in Australia: Usage and Management Australia is one of the driest continents in the world. Various governmental and non-governmental institutions have teamed up to face the challenges facing people as far as water is concerned.
  • Dream Water Company’s Product Marketing The core product is the main benefit that the product brings to the consumer. For Dream Water, the core product is the medication against insomnia.
  • Fiji Water Quality: Biology Lab Experiment Since Fiji water is among the popular brands in the US, it is essential to evaluate whether it is clean, that is, safe for human consumption.
  • Water Pollution Index of Batujai Reservoir, Central Lombok Regency-Indonesia Despite having 6% of the world’s water resources, Indonesia’s environmental policies have not only been raising concerns but also pushed the country to the brink of water crisis.
  • Water Treatments and Maximum Plant Height The first research question was how different water treatments affect maximum plant height. The experiment involved 12 plants – 6 plants for each type of water.
  • Activation Energy for Viscous Flow of Water, Acetone, Toluene, and o-Xylene The aim of the research was to investigate the hypothesis that the activation energy of a substance depends on intermolecular forces that arise in this substance.
  • Water Quality in Savannah, Georgia The City of Savannah Water Supply and Treatment Department conducts numerous annual tests to ensure that drinking water in the region is safe for human consumption.
  • Potential Threats to Water Supplies in Ottawa The purpose of the research is to identify the distribution of threats to drinking water in the city and determine who might benefit and who might be harmed in the process.
  • Water Scarcity in the Middle East The Arab region has always had issues with the water supply but as the population continues to grow steadily, this issue has become even more alarming
  • Lack of Water in California as an Environmental Issue California can run out of water because of technological and social problems that affected the region. Defining water resources’ “development” is critically important.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Effect on Water Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) constitute one of the largest groups of compounds that produce widespread organic environmental pollution posing a risk to marine biota
  • Water Sector Privatisation in Saudi Arabia The paper explores the decision by the Ministry of Water and Electricity in Saudi Arabia to form the National Water Company to facilitate the privatization process and oversee the regional operations.
  • Alternative Energy Sources: A Collaborative Approach in Water Management With the increasingly high prices of gasoline in particular and fossil fuels in general there is a need to find an alternative source of energy.
  • Bottled Water: Culture and Environmental Impact Bottled water as a particular branch of industrial growth in countries throughout the world represents the source of environmental pollution.
  • Water and Soil Pollution: Effects on the Environment Water and soil pollution is the process of contaminating water and soil. In this project, we will investigate the apparent main pollutants of the Spring Mill Lake.
  • Underground Water Overdraft in Southern California In California, the overuse of underground water reserves and the resultant overexploitation (overdraft) led to a serious water resources deficit.
  • Changes in the Global Water Cycle Changes in the climate brought about by global warming have a much bigger likelihood of impacting negatively on the global hydrological cycle.
  • Bottled Water Status in the UK With the current economic climate in the UK, the issue of whether bottled water has become a luxury or a necessity.
  • Bottled Water: Environmental and Cultural Impact The consumption of bottled water has an impact on society. Appropriate strategies must be implemented to ensure that the hazards associated with bottled water are reduced.
  • Water: An Often Overlooked Essential Element in Our Environment The freshwater required for growing food and livestock is also in great demand by the large numbers of inhabitants in the world’s cities and towns.
  • Drinking-Water in Third World Countries The shortage of drinking water in countries of Third World and the public controversy, surrounding the issue, illustrates the validity of this thesis better then anything else.
  • Burning Issue of Water Pollution in Washington The problem of polluted drinking water in Washington should be solved immediately despite various obstacles, such as pressure for money, etc.
  • Water Conservation Practice in Houston From the treatment of wastewater to the reduction of the consumption of the same Houston is an epitome of the increasing need to conserve resources, especially water.
  • The Global Water Crisis: Issues and Solutions The water crisis has now been associated with the reduction in food quantity besides the scarcity of safe drinking water.
  • Water Quality and Supply The main problem on the way to the solution of environmental issues is a violation of generally accepted rules.
  • Protecting the Current and Future Water Supply for Rio de Janiero In the current rate of use, as well as the consensus reached by the governing officials in Rio de Janeiro, there will be enough potable water until 2025.
  • First Nations Communities Water Resources Drinking water is by no means an infinite resource, but there are places in the world where women and children spend hours each day just to collect it.
  • Water Conservation Practice in Olympia Olympia city has a comprehensive water conservation program that involves many projects. The city puts much effort into the conservation of water.
  • Boiling Is a Process That Cools the Water This paper tells that bringing water to a boil while making tea is a progression that cools it since the process lessens the overall temperature.
  • The Influence of Water on the Growth of Popcorn Plants The information from the study would aid farmers in identifying appropriate seasons to cultivate popcorn plants based on data of meteorological forecasts.
  • Benefits of Water Birth Overview Waterbirth remains to be a controversial approach. The studies examined in this paper provide some evidence for the benefits that waterbirth has.
  • Political Ecology and Water Wars in Bolivia The given critical assessment will primarily focus on bringing a new perspective to the issue from the standpoint of political ecology.
  • Water Quality Assessment. Environmental Impact Maintaining good water quality is essential to human health; thus, the recent decades have outstandingly worsened the water across communities worldwide by pollution.
  • Bottle Water Industry in Current Economic UK Climate The research question is whether bottled water is a necessity or a luxury with regard to the current economic climate in the United Kingdom.
  • The Causes of Water Pollution Water pollution is a significant decrease in water resources’ quality due to the ingress of various chemicals and solid waste. The causes of pollution are related to human activities.
  • Baxter Water Treatment Plants and Public Health The Baxter Water Treatment Plant is the largest water treatment facility in Philadelphia, supplying about 60 percent of the city’s drinking water.
  • Integrated Water Strategies From Website Water Recycling The website http://waterrecycling.com/ is a front-end of their company showing various services that the company offers in the field of water recycling.
  • A Cartographic History of Water Infrastructure and Urbanism in Rome The freshwater available to the city was a huge cultural and economic boon to Roman citizens. Some of this ancient water infrastructure is operational to this day.
  • Pressurized Water Reactors: An Analysis The paper describes the operations of a Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) plant in-depth, discusses the functions of PWR plants, their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Is Bottled Water Dangerous for People and the Environment? The purpose of this paper is to discuss alternative perspectives on bottled water and whether it is dangerous for people and the planet.
  • Combating Arsenic Contamination in Water The well known fact is that water is the most valuable natural resource that exists and without which survival of life is impossible.
  • Developing Suspension Carbon Nano-Tubes in Water This paper has discussed nano-tubes and suspension as well as stabilization which make use of Multi-Wall-Carbon-Nanotubes by the function of concentrated SDS.
  • Study of Local Water Resources Quality This laboratory report aims to summarize the results obtained during the study oxygen consumption, BOD, and detecting dissolved suspended solids in Hong Kong water.
  • Chemistry: Partitioning Coefficient of the Water The partitioning coefficient of the water solutions with of diuron, decadienal, atrazine, fluoranthene, and desethylatrazine compounds are calculated in accordance with the formula.
  • Recent Water Treatment and Production Developments This study attempts to investigate whether inorganic filters are more suitable for industrial and water treatment processes when compared to organic filters.
  • Is Bottled Water Safe for Public Health? Bottled water is just water but is marketed in such a way that makes it appear as healthy because it is positioned as “bottles water is healthy”.
  • Cooling Water System Overview Water towers can reduce temperatures more than any other devices using air only to reject heat hence are more cost-effective.
  • The Problem of Environmental Water Pollution This paper discusses a public health concern by explaining the causes of water pollution, how it affects human communities, and the possible strategies.
  • Water Cooling Tower Construction Site’s Problems The paper highlights three major problems at the construction site. They are security, scheduling, and safety problems.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach to Water Pollution This paper shows how the multidisciplinary approach addresses water pollution as a public health issue. It is important to understand what the model entails.
  • Water Pollution of New York City Rivers The aim of the analysis was to assess the effects of CSOs on water quality and the environment at different sites along the Harlem River.
  • Twitter Campaign: Impact of Water Runoff Water runoff can cause flooding, which means property damage and mold formation in damp basements and more. This paper is a twitter campaign about the impact of water runoff.
  • Basic Functions of Minerals and Water in the Body This paper discusses the functions and sources of minerals, the function of water in the body, and the general effect of dehydration on the body.
  • Underground Water Contamination in St. Louis Mo City In St. Louis Mo City of Missouri State, contamination of underground water is most likely and that is why the water supply is a subject to government policies.
  • Essentials of Water in Supporting Biological Systems Water is essential in supporting the biological system in various ways; the properties of water help in understanding its importance.
  • The Problem of Environmental Pollution: Fresh Water One of the more important concerns that are fast becoming a major threat is pollution and no form of pollution seemed to be bigger than that of freshwater pollution.
  • Fiji Water Case Study Analysis Brandon Miller aims to establish a business that is the distribution of Fiji water for Monroe and Wayne market areas.
  • Safe Drinking Water: Current Status and Recommendations The study proposes the usage of agricultural waste as a sustainable biosorbent for toxic metal ions removal from contaminated water.
  • Fresh Water Toxins: Serious Threat to Health This paper discusses fresh water toxins as a serious threat to health, analyzes Los Angeles drinking water, access to clean water and sanitation.
  • How Does Water Pollution Affect Human Health?
  • Are Sports Drinks Better for Athletes Than Water?
  • What Happens if You Don’t Filter Your Water?
  • Can Game Theory Help to Mitigate Water Conflicts in the Syrdarya Basin?
  • How Can We Reduce Water Scarcity?
  • Are Water Filters Really That Important?
  • How Much Water Do We Need to Feed the World?
  • Why Is Water Important for Food Production?
  • Can Markets Improve Water Allocation in Rural America?
  • How Can We Reduce Water Consumption in Food Industry?
  • Can Public Sector Reforms Improve the Efficiency of Public Water Utilities?
  • What Are the Modern Technologies Used to Treat Water?
  • How Does Water Pollution Affect Global Warming?
  • Can Sea Water Generate Usable Energy?
  • What Are the Steps Taken by the Government to Reduce Water Pollution?
  • Can Sugar Help Lower the Freezing Point of Water?
  • Do We Need More Laws to Control Water Pollution?
  • Can the Global Community Successfully Confront the Global Water Shortage?
  • What Is the Government Doing to Save Water?
  • Can Virtual Water ‘Trade’ Reduce Water Scarcity in Semi-arid Countries?
  • Does Urbanization Improve Industrial Water Consumption Efficiency?
  • How Has Technology Helped Us Save Water?
  • Does Piped Water Improve Household Welfare?
  • Can Water Pollution Policy Be Efficient?
  • How Does Green Infrastructure Improve Water Quality?
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100 Water Pollution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Water pollution essays are an excellent way to demonstrate your awareness of the topic and your position on the solutions to the issue. To help you ease the writing process, we prepared some tips, essay topics, and research questions about water pollution.

🌎 Air and Water pollution: Essay Writing Tips

🏆 best water pollution essay topics & examples, 📌 remarkable air and water pollution research topics, 👍 good research topics about water pollution, ❓ research questions about water pollution, 💯 free water pollution essay topic generator.

Water’s ready availability in many locations makes it an easy choice for a variety of purposes, from cleaning to manufacturing to nuclear reactor cooling. However, many companies will then dump water, now mixed with waste, back into rivers or lakes without adequate cleaning, leading to significant environmental pollution.

However, there are other types of harm, such as noise pollution, which are less obvious but also dangerous to sea life. It is critical that you understand what you should and should not do during your writing process.

The stance that big manufacturing industries are the sole culprits of the damage done to the world’s rivers and oceans is a popular one. However, do not neglect the effects of other water pollution essay topics such as microorganisms.

Microbes can spread dangerous illnesses, making them a danger for both water inhabitants and the people who then use that water. Furthermore, they can eat up oxygen if left unchecked, starving fish and other water organisms and eventually making them die out.

Such situations usually result from agricultural practices, which can lead to powerful nutrients entering the water and enabling algae and other microorganisms to grow excessively. An overly lively environment can be as harmful as one where everything is threatened.

With that said, industrial manufacturers deserve much of the attention and blame they receive from various communities. Construction of dedicated waste-cleaning facilities is usually possible, but companies avoid doing so because the process will increase their costs.

You should advocate for green practices, but be mindful of the potential impact of a significant price increase on the global economy. Also, be sure to mention more exotic pollution variations in your types of water pollution essay.

Provide examples of noise pollution or suspended matter pollution to expand on the topic of the complexity of the harm humanity causes to the ecosphere.

You should show your understanding that there are many causes, and we should work on addressing all of them, a notion you should repeat in your water pollution essay conclusions.

However, you should try to avoid being sidetracked too much and focus on the titles of pollution and its immediate causes.

If you stretch far enough, you may connect the matter to topics such as the status of a woman in Islam. However, doing so contributes little to nothing to your point and deviates from the topic of ecology into social and religious studies.

Leave the search for connections to dedicated researchers and concentrate on discussing the major causes that are known nowadays. By doing this, you will be able to create an excellent and powerful work that will demonstrate your understanding of the topic.

Here are some tips for your writing:

Check IvyPanda to get more water pollution essay titles, paper ideas, and other useful samples!

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Article The top 100 global water questions: Results of a scoping exercise

We identify 100 priority global water-research questions for the coming decade

The 100 questions are in six thematic areas connecting the local to the global scale

Questions about governance and knowledge production cut across all scales

These questions offer a shared framework for interdisciplinary water research

Science for society

Water is a vital resource and is critical for sustainable development. Human survival, energy and food production, and healthy ecosystems are all dependent on water availability. Water security is also impacted by and is at the core of adaptation to climate change. Yet, pressure on freshwater resources is growing, and water stress and water risk are increasing at both the local and global scale. The challenge of water security is therefore complex and requires research and action across multiple levels: from household access to water and sanitation; to managing water safety and risk for human populations and ecosystem health; to working through the political and technical challenges of water scarcity and distribution; to understanding the dynamics of the water cycle and how it is being impacted by climate change. The 100 questions identified by this scoping review offer suggestions for research priorities across these different levels and also provide researchers and funding agencies with a shared language to talk across different disciplines and interests.

Global water security presents a complex problem for human societies and will become more acute as the impacts of climate change escalate. Water security connects the practical water and sanitation challenges of households to the dynamics of global hydroclimates and ecosystems in the Anthropocene. To ensure the successful deployment of attention and resources, it is necessary to identify the most pressing questions for water research. Here, we present the results of a scoping exercise conducted across the global water sector. More than 400 respondents submitted an excess of 4,000 potential questions. Drawing on expert analysis, we highlight 100 indicative research questions across six thematic domains: water and sanitation for human settlements; water and sanitation safety risk management; water security and scarcity; hydroclimate-ecosystem-Anthropocene dynamics; multi-level governance; and knowledge production. These questions offer an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar framework for guiding the nature and space of water research for the coming decades.

Graphical abstract

good research questions about water

Data and code availability

The data for the figures in the main text are available within the supplemental information . All survey responses (anonymous) are available at the Research Data Leeds Repository: https://doi.org/10.5518/1144 . Extra coding steps and guide for this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

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National Academies Press: OpenBook

Integrating Multiscale Observations of U.S. Waters (2008)

Chapter: appendix a; key water science research questions and challenges, appendix a key water science research questions and challenges.

(Derived from National Research Council reports and meetings)


The challenge is to develop an improved understanding of and ability to predict changes in freshwater resources and the environment caused by floods, droughts, sedimentation, and contamination. Important research areas include improving understanding of hydrologic responses to precipitation, surface water generation and transport, environmental stresses on aquatic ecosystems, the relationships between landscape changes and sediment fluxes, and subsurface transport, as well as mapping groundwater recharge and discharge vulnerability.

Grand Challenges in the Environmental Sciences (NRC, 2001)

Validate the water cycle components of climate models. The science questions contained in the water cycle science plan that are related to understanding and predicting variability require an improved understanding of hydrologic processes and their representation in climate models. Therefore, it seems that advances in this area are also fundamental to the water cycle science plan, and the research community is poised to make these advances. Advanced climate change impact assessments are dependent on progress in this area. The path forward in this area requires the identification of the weakest elements in the characterization of the water cycle, and it requires the identification of quantitative improvement goals.

Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle (NRC, 2002)

Scaling of Dynamic Behavior: In varied guises throughout hydrologic science we encounter questions concerning the quantitative relationship between the same process occurring at disparate spatial or temporal scales. Most frequently

perhaps, these are problems of complex aggregation that are confounding our attempts to quantify predictions of large-scale hydrologic processes. The physics of a nonlinear process is well known under idealized, one-dimensional laboratory conditions, and we wish to quantify the process under the three-dimensional heterogeneity of natural systems, which are orders of magnitude larger in scale. Solving these problems will require well-conceived field data collection programs in concert with analysis directed toward “renormalization” of the underlying dynamics. Success will bring to hydrologic science the power of generalization, with its dividends of insight and economy of effort.

Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences (NRC, 1991)

Innovative Engineering Approaches for Improving Water Quantity and Quality Management: The research should aim to improve our capabilities in hydrologic forecasting for water resource managers to evaluate and make decisions. Networks of sensors, robotic water quality monitoring sites, realtime data collection, and communication links can be developed into an intelligent environmental control system that will enhance the protection of urban ecosystems and the health and safety of its inhabitants. Such a system can be used as an early warning system and to identify emerging problems such as flooding, lack of water, riparian habitat degradation, and the presence of toxic compounds.

CLEANER and NSF’s Environmental Observatories (NRC, 2006)

Land Surface-Atmosphere Interactions: Understanding the reciprocal influences between land surface processes and weather and climate is more than an interesting basic research question; it has become especially urgent because of accelerating human-induced changes in land surface characteristics in the United States and globally. The issues are important from the mesoscale upward to continental scales. Our knowledge of the time and space distributions of rainfall, soil moisture, ground water recharge, and evapotranspiration are remarkably inadequate, in part because historical data bases are point measurements from which we have attempted extrapolation to large-scale fields. Our knowledge of their variability, and of the sensitivity of local and regional climates to alterations in land surface properties, is especially poor. The opportunity now exists for great progress on these issues.

Find solutions to existing and emerging problems involving contaminants in the environment that affect ecosystems and human health. Some environmental problems that affect water resources are of such a magnitude that they are of

national concern and require engineering research based on data collected through observatories. Two such problems are the containment or removal of contaminated sediments and the effects on aquatic and human health of residuals from pharmaceuticals and other household products.

Sediment Transport and Geomorphology: Erosion, transport, and deposition of sediments in fluvial systems control the very life cycle of rivers and are vulnerable to changes in climate and human landscape alternations. Yet, compared with water quality and quantity information, there is relatively little available information on sediment behavior in river systems, particularly large-order reaches. By advancing basic research on sediment transport detection, quantification of bedload, suspended load, and washload, and monitoring flow velocity and water temperature associated with such sediment transport conditions, the USGS could better detect morphologically significant flows, develop methods to mitigate future problems arising from sediment movement, and play a guiding role in multiagency efforts to deal with the increasingly important national sediment challenges.

River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey (NRC, 2007)

Coordinated Global-scale Observation of Water Reservoirs and the Fluxes of Water and Energy: Regional and continental-scale water resources forecasts and many issues of global change depend for their resolution on a detailed understanding of the state and variability of the global water balance. Our current knowledge is spotty in its areal coverage; highly uneven in its quality; limited in character to the quantities of primary historical interest (namely precipitation, streamflow, and surface water reservoirs); and largely unavailable still as homogeneous, coordinated, global data sets.

Learn how changes in climate, land cover, and land use affect water quantity and quality regimes and their impact on ecosystem health and other uses of water such as for drinking, irrigation, industry, and recreation. Using long-term data, comparative studies, modeling, and experiments, observatory systems can determine pathways of movement of water and solutes through human-dominated landscapes and forecast responses to changes.


Land Use and Habitat Alteration: Deforestation, suburbanization, road construction, agriculture, and other human land-use activities cause changes in ecosystems. Those changes modify water, energy and material balances and the ability of the biotic community to respond to and recover from stress and disturbance. Actions in one location, such as farming practices in the upper Midwest, can affect areas 1,000 or more miles away because areas are joined by water and nutrient flow in rivers and by atmospheric transport of agrochemicals.

NEON: Addressing the Nation’s Environmental Challenges (NRC, 2003)

Chemical and Biological Components of the Hydrologic Cycle: In combination with components of the hydrologic cycle, aqueous geochemistry is the key to understanding many of the pathways of water through soil and rock, for revealing historical states having value in climate research, and for reconstructing the erosional history of continents. Together with the physics of flow in geologic media, aquatic chemistry and microbiology will reveal solute transformations, biogeochemical functioning, and the mechanisms for both contamination and purification of soils and water. Water is the basis for much ecosystem structure, and many ecosystems are active participants in the hydrologic cycle. Understanding these interactions between ecosystems and the hydrologic cycle is essential to interpreting, forecasting, and even ameliorating global climate change.

Ecological Implications of Climate Change: Human-induced climate warming and variability strongly affect individual species, community structure and ecosystem functioning. Changes in vegetation in turn affect climate through their role in partitioning radiation and precipitation at the land surface. Climate-driven biological impacts are often only discernable at a regional-continental scale. Regional changes in ecosystem processes affect global water and carbon cycles. Therefore, a national approach to understanding biological response to climate variability and change is required.

[Grand Challenges include:]

Biogeochemical Cycles: The challenge is to further our understanding of the Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles, evaluate how they are being perturbed by human activities, and determine how they might better be stabilized. Important research areas include quantifying the sources and sinks of the

nutrient elements and gaining a better understanding of the biological, chemical, and physical factors regulating transformations among them; improving understanding of the interactions among the various biogeochemical cycles; assessing anthropogenic perturbations of biogeochemical cycles and their impacts on ecosystem functioning, atmospheric chemistry, and human activities, and developing a scientific basis for societal decisions about managing these cycles; and exploring technical and institutional approaches to managing anthropogenic perturbations.

Invasive species: Invasive species affect virtually every ecosystem in the United States, and can cause substantial economic and biological damage. The identification of potentially harmful invasive species, the early detection of new species as invasion begins, and the knowledge base needed to prevent their spread require a comprehensive monitoring and experimental network and a mechanistic understanding of the interplay of invader, ecosystem traits and other factors including climate and land use that determine invasiveness.

The nation is spending billions on riverine restoration and rehabilitation projects, yet the science underlying these projects is not currently well understood and thus the approaches and their effectiveness vary widely. Therefore, a fundamental challenge is to quantitatively understand how rivers respond physically and biologically to human alterations from dredging to damming, and to specifically address: What are the required “environmental flows” (i.e., flow levels, timing, and variability) necessary to maintain a healthy river ecosystem? And which biota and ecological processes are most important and/or sensitive to changes in river systems?

How can local riverine ecosystem processes be scaled from habitat patches across river reaches to produce basin-wide predictive capabilities? (I.e., how can we estimate regional aquatic ecosystem processes over river basins?)

COHS workshop on "Towards Integration of Hydrologic and Ecological Sciences,” West Palm Beach, Florida, October 2000.

Algal Blooms and Water-Borne Infectious Diseases: The rapid proliferation of toxic or nuisance algae, termed harmful algal blooms (HAB), can occur in marine, estuarine and freshwaters, and are one of the most scientifically complex

and economically significant water issues facing the United States today.

Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond (NRC, 2007)

Vector Borne and Zoonotic (VBZ) Disease: VBZ diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and filariasis are believed responsible for millions of deaths and tens of millions of illnesses annually. The introduction and spread of West Nile virus through North America by mosquitoes during the past five years and recent concerns about the world-wide dissemination of H5N1 avian influenza are key recent examples where large human populations have come at risk over extensive geographic regions in short periods of time by these VBZ diseases. Attempts to control VBZ disease epidemics with limited available resources are hindered by the ability to prioritize and target areas for intervention. The major goal of such [remote sensing] efforts is to establish relationships between environmental conditions, as monitored by satellites, and risk to human populations from VBZ diseases. This goal requires improved characterization of the earth’s land use, ecological changes and changing weather, at finer spatial and temporal scales.

Infectious Disease and the Environment: The challenge is to understand ecological and evolutionary aspects of infectious diseases; develop an understanding of the interactions among pathogens, hosts/receptors, and the environment; and thus make it possible to prevent changes in the infectivity and virulence of organisms that threaten plant, animal, and human health at the population level. Important research areas include examining the effects of environmental changes as selection agents on pathogen virulence and host resistance; exploring the impacts of environmental change on disease etiology, vectors, and toxic organisms; developing new approaches to surveillance and monitoring; and improving theoretical models of host-pathogen ecology.

Water is essential to life for humans and their food crops, and for ecosystems. Effective water management requires tracking the inflow, outflow, quantity and quality of ground-water and surface water, much like balancing a bank account. Currently, networks of ground-based instruments measure these in individual locations, while airborne and satellite sensors measure them over larger areas. Recent technological innovations offer unprecedented possibilities to integrate space, air, and land observations to advance water science and guide management decisions. This book concludes that in order to realize the potential of integrated data, agencies, universities, and the private sector must work together to develop new kinds of sensors, test them in field studies, and help users to apply this information to real problems.

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Research Paper Topics on Environment & Water

Man intrudes upon nature, and research can determine how much so.

Persuasive Speech Topics on Water

"The planet is in distress," according to Al Gore, and his statement reflects our abiding responsibilities for the care of the environment and the viability of our water supply. There is perhaps no more important task than grounding our students in these responsibilities. Research papers that create student ecological awareness are therefore essential, and the topics for those papers should create and encourage concerned citizenship about our natural resources.

Global Warming: Hoax or Truth?

The debate over global warming is still one of the most contested topics in recent years. Is it real or based only on seasonal or anecdotal observations? A valuable research paper topic can address this question, attempt to prove global warming as a viable concern or debunk it as a "Chicken Little" fear. Either way, your students will find a spectrum of evidence that supports either view and good research material for their essays.

Water Pollution is Still with Us

Water pollution, once thought a vanished concern of the 1970s, is still very much with us, and the groundwater quality of various locations is still of great concern to experts. Student research essays can select water quality as a topic, researching the current extent of water pollution as well as our efforts to overcome it. For instance, what challenges are present in municipal water systems built near businesses that pollute, such as factories or agricultural corporations? What is being done to control this problem? How might local water supplies or private wells be impacted by this situation?

Man-Made Intrusions

Environmental research often uncovers the idea that man-made intrusions reduce the viability of the ecosystem. Wetlands areas were cut in half by man's building and "civilizing" the land, and dams have intruded on the natural water flow in areas where they are constructed. One good research topic would take a single structure, such as Three Gorges Dam in China, and research its ecological impact or compare and contrast that structure with another such as Hoover Dam. Similar topics could address how other man-made structures impact the land they are built on or damage the raw materials used to build them.

Natural Healing of the Environment?

There is fascinating new evidence that Al Gore's "distress" quote may not be entirely accurate. Recent studies indicate that oceanic oil spills, both of recent memory and historically significant events such as the Exxon Valdez catastrophe, are actually cleaning themselves naturally. The Exxon site, for example, is believed to have cleaner water now than before the spill occurred, and human cleanup efforts may have done more harm than good. These would make fascinating research topics and perhaps give a more balanced view to mankind's role as ecological damage controller.

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About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.

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