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What Is Water Abstraction?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Water abstraction is a term that is used to define the process by which water in its natural environment may be artificially removed through some sort of manmade structure or through the process of changing the flow of the water from its usual course to some other course that the people responsible for the diversion may have set. This process of water abstraction is an ancient one that goes back many centuries and may be achieved by many means, for many purposes. The exact means for the water abstraction depends on a lot of variables that include the purpose for the abstraction, the location, the type of laws in place regarding the procedure, and the type of resources available for the extraction process.

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An example of a means by which water abstraction may occur is one that is very common in many countries of the world, and also one that has existed for millennia. This process is through the digging of a well in the ground until it reaches the water table that lies at various degrees below the ground's surface, depending on the location. Once this table has been reached, the individuals responsible for drilling the hole will be able to reach the water and draw from it for many purposes, including for drinking, domestic use or other types of uses. Another application of this method is through the development of an irrigation process for agricultural crops whereby such water will be sourced from some type of main flowing point that may either be a water body, or through the drilling of holes to below the surface of the ground.

Another type of water abstraction method that is popular in some developing countries of the world is drilling bore holes from which the water will be pumped to the surface through some type of machine. As can be seen from the foregoing, some sort of regulation is necessary in order to guide the abstraction of water through various sources due to the negative consequences that are associated with the rampant removal or diversion of water. Some of these negative factors include the overdrawing of the water in that area until the water table falls to a level that will not be easily accessible, or the manner in which such abstraction affects the level of other natural bodies of water, such as rivers and streams. To this end, many countries have many laws and regulations that are specifically targeted toward this area.

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