Sample Essay on Effects of Soil Erosion on Water Quality
Effects of soil erosion on water quality are due to deposition of the sediments that are carried away by rain water, ice and wind. In simple terms, soil erosion can be described as the carrying away of the top soil layer by ice, wind or water. The top layer comprises of various elements of soil which are carried away from the higher grounds to the lower grounds where deposition occurs.
Water quality as well as aquatic habitat can greatly be diminished by soil erosion. Deposition of the carried soil or sediments in the waterways or water bodies increases the turbidity of the soil. It also hinders penetration of adequate light into the water. This affects proper growth of aquatic plants that require light from the sun for biological processes such as photosynthesis.
In addition, some sediment is suspended on the water. These can clog the gills of fish and other aquatic organisms. At the same time, the sediment can also cover the bottom of the stream. Fish eggs at the bottom of the stream can suffocate due to the deposition of this sediment.
Spawning substrate can also be destroyed due to the activities of benthic macro-invertebrates. The high amount of particles that are introduced by the sediment deposited from higher ground reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in water due to high water temperatures.
Toxins such as pesticides, herbicides and some metals are sometimes deposited in the water. These are sometimes suspended on the surface of water and they further increase toxins’ concentration in the water. Eroded particles can also have phosphate. These toxins can kill aquatic lives such as fish.
It can also make the water environment unsuitable for some aquatic organisms forcing them to migrate. It can also affect the balance in the ecosystem when it creates suitable environment for some organisms while making it unsuitable for others.
When water has high amount of phosphate deposited along with sediment an algal bloom can occur. Algal bloom results in the reduction of the oxygen dissolved in the water and this makes it unsuitable for some aquatic lives such as fish.
Siltation in lower grounds can also affect not only the quality of water, but also the water bodies wholly such as rivers and dams. In some places, some waterways have disappeared as a result of the deposition of sediment. If sediments are deposited from higher grounds in large quantities small water bodies are covered and these eventually disappear.
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