AP Environmental Science : Water Problems and Solutions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Water Problems And Solutions

What percentage of the Earth's water is accessible and suitable for human use?

Possible Answers:

Less than 

Between  and 

Correct answer:

Less than 

Explanation:

 of the Earth's surface is water, but only  is fresh water. Considering just the fresh water, only about  is accessible to humans in the form of lakes, rivers, and other drinking sources. That is only .007% of the Earth's water. This is the basis for the clean water crisis that faces Earth's population.

Example Question #2 : Water Problems And Solutions

What proportion of the world population do not have access to clean drinking water?

Possible Answers:

1 in 20 

1 in 15

1 in 5

1 in 12

1 in 9

Correct answer:

1 in 9

Explanation:

750 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. The total world population is about 7 billion, meaning every one in nine people do not have access to clean drinking water. 

Example Question #3 : Water Problems And Solutions

Which of the following would be an example of non-point source water pollution?

Possible Answers:

Much of the Shenandoah Valley is devoted to beef cattle, whose feces contaminate the watershed from water runoff containing E. coli.

At the turn of the last century, oil refineries were making huge profits on kerosene, but gasoline was considered a waste product at the time and was regularly discharged into the local rivers and waterways.

In the 1970s, companies that produced decaffeinated coffee regularly dumped the chlorophyll waste byproduct into nearby watersheds.

An electricity-producing firm that has been grandfathered into existing environmental policy dumps pollutants directly into San Francisco Bay regularly.

In the early 1900s, rivers in the Eastern industrial cities in America were catching fire due to pollution from factories that ran along the waterways.

Correct answer:

Much of the Shenandoah Valley is devoted to beef cattle, whose feces contaminate the watershed from water runoff containing E. coli.

Explanation:

A point-source discharge is when pollutants are entering the watershed through an identifiable source, such as a drainage pipe from a factory. Water contamination from agricultural runoff is typically not a point-source because in a largely agrarian region, there are many farms contributing to the pollution but no specific point-source from which the pollutants enter the watershed. Agricultural pollutants typically enter the watershed either by leeching from the soil or through above-ground runoff. 

Example Question #71 : Ap Environmental Sciences

Which of the following best describes greywater? 

 

Possible Answers:

Water that has been contaminated by human or animal fecal waste and has the potential to contaminate larger bodies of water.

Waste water from toilets that is unfit for irrigation or any reuse.

Waste water from sinks, toilets, and household appliances that is unfit for irrigation or reuse.

Waste water that originates from showers, dishwashers, and sinks that can be reused for irrigation.

Waste water from toilets that can be reused for irrigation.

Correct answer:

Waste water that originates from showers, dishwashers, and sinks that can be reused for irrigation.

Explanation:

Greywater typically includes all household sources of wastewater, with the exception of toilets. Greywater can be used to irrigate lawns and golf courses but is not safe for drinking.

Example Question #4 : Water Problems And Solutions

The current drought has seriously affected farmers in California. Which of the following is NOT something a farmer would want to do to conserve water?

Possible Answers:

Experimenting with hot-house cultivation. 

Planting fields with drought-resistant crops, such as artichokes. 

Switching from spray irrigation to drip-line irrigation, which uses less water. 

Raising livestock that consume less water, like goats and chickens. 

There's very little freshwater in California, but a farmer could irrigate their fields with seawater. 

Correct answer:

There's very little freshwater in California, but a farmer could irrigate their fields with seawater. 

Explanation:

Seawater is not fit for use in agriculture. An excess of salt in a field results in water being drawn from plant roots due instead of the other way around. Spartans salted the orchards of their enemies to cripple their civilizations; one should not irrigate with seawater if one's intent is to grow crops. 

Example Question #37 : Water Resources

Which of the following countries is most likely to use the process of desalination as a method of obtaining drinking water?

Possible Answers:

Canada

United Arab Emirates

England

Ecuador

Correct answer:

United Arab Emirates

Explanation:

The United Arab Emirates is most likely to obtain drinking water by way of desalination. Seawater desalination is used primarily in arid, coastal regions.

Example Question #73 : Ap Environmental Sciences

Saltwater __________ has been described as the influx of salt water into freshwater aquifers. This is a natural process; however, human over-exploitation of aquifers has led to the contamination of drinking water in some instances. 

Possible Answers:

recharge

invasion

rebound

investment

intrusion

Correct answer:

intrusion

Explanation:

The correct choice is "intrusion" because it is the only term that describes the movement of saltwater into freshwater aquifers. Saltwater intrusion is a major threat to many coastal land managers, because fresh groundwater can become contaminated and unusable for residents in the area. 

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