Friday, September 24, 2010

Ground Water Depletion

“All the water that will ever be is, right now.” (National Geographic 1993)
As the years pass, the consumption of water on our planet has increased dramatically. Humans across the globe have been pulling out ground water faster than ever imagined; as a result the water ends its cycle into oceans. This increase of water consumption has tampered with our ability and capacity of sustainable development. The increase in population and the changes in lifestyles are few of many factors that have resulted in the billions of gallons of water wasted.

In the following article the primary source titled "Groundwater depletion rate accelerating worldwide" found in the issue of Geophysical Research letters is being compared to the brief secondary source found on an online journal titled "Groundwater depletion rate said doubled". The primary source begins to explain the impact groundwater depletion has on rising sea levels. Similarly, the secondary source uses facts and numbers to gain the audiences interest. The primary source explains and gives reasons to why the sea level is actually rising (in this case evaporation, and precipitation of the water). It goes on to break down the potential consequences of misusing the privilege of what used to be an untapped resource. The article emphasises that the water being drawn has accounted for 25% of the annual sea level rise across the planet. The study goes on to compare the estimates of groundwater added by rain to the amounts being removed for agriculture and other uses. This was done by collecting a database of global groundwater information including maps of groundwater regions and water demand. Since the total amount of the world’s groundwater is not known it becomes very hard to estimate how fast the global supply will run out, but according to scientists if water was drained as rapidly from the great lakes they would go bone-dry in around 80 years (Marc Bierkens 2010).

The secondary source on a similar note seems to be getting the reader’s attention by going straight to the facts. The article repeatedly quotes parts thought to be important in the primary source. Such an example would be right in the opening paragraph where the writer quotes, “Findings published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters say water is rapidly being pulled from fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions... The rate at which global groundwater stocks are shrinking has more than doubled between 1960 and 2000.” The article gives a brief summary of the actual content and gives an emotional appeal to the topic by underlining major points and interesting statistics.

On the contrary, major differences between the two sources are quite obvious. The two sources are both conveying the same message, but in a very different manner. As stated above, the secondary source comes onward to keep the attention of the reader. This kind of writing is often aimed at certain audiences, whereas the primary sources comes forward in a more scientific manner, by laying out the evidence and discussing cause and affects. As stated in the primary article, ground water embodies about 30 percent of the available fresh water on the planet, with surface water accounting for only one percent. The rest of the potable, irrigation friendly supply is locked up in glaciers or the polar ice caps. This means that any reduction in the availability of groundwater supplies could have undesirable effects for a growing human population. The research also further goes into the possible solutions of the matter, all of which was left out in the secondary article. Such kind of paraphrasing often leaves behind important details or even accentuates the less important points. This is the most prevalent flaw languages have, that every time something is translated or re-written it almost always loses part if not most of its meaning. On a larger scale, these kinds of differences can have more serious consequences, not always as short sighted as wanting to hold onto the reader’s attention. It is important to take advantage of such observations, to appreciate the importance of proper scientific method and to apply this change in future writings.

To conclude, both sources are speaking out to voice their concerns for a certain cause, in this case the depletion of ground water. They had their similarities and differences; the most evident was that the secondary source seemed to be a derivative of the primary source. It gave the reader a summary of the original material. A preferable alternative for someone who is not so passionate about the matter.


"Groundwater Depletion Rate Accelerating Worldwide." - Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine. Web. 23 Sept. 2010. .

Secondary :
"Groundwater Depletion Rate Said Doubled -" Top News, Latest Headlines, World News & U.S News - Web. 23 Sept. 2010. .

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