The Geography of Water

Vivek Shandas, Portland State University
Alton Straub, Portland State University
Yongxia Kou

This is the publisher's final PDF


The geography of water is extremely complex. The simple act of drinking water from a tap is based on historical development patterns, with several systems that work in synergy to provide adequate water resources for our region - an ecological system that cleans and replenishes it, an engineering system that transports, process and disposes of it, and a cultural system that determines the type of use. In addition, providing water to our growing population requires coordination of several local, state, and federal government agencies to ensure that every drop can travel from the source over 40 miles through volcanic and sedimentary soils, valleys and mountains, swamps and forests, arriving clean to your tap. This process of capture, use and disposal describes a "metabolism" of water as it moves through the metroscape. We begin by describing the system's inputs (precipitation, surface and groundwater) and outputs (how we use it on a large scale). Then, we investigate these processes on a smaller scale - where you get your water and interesting patterns of use.