Physical Water Quality

Water is constantly in movement.

From our own experiences with the hydrologic cycle, we know water flow rates are rapid in rivers and streams. Water flow rates are slow and often relatively complex in lakes and reservoirs. And ground water flows are much slower and influenced by the subsurface geologic environments.

Water movement patterns and their effects must always be considered when studying natural water systems. In systems where equilibrium is not attained, water will have compositions influenced by both movement rates and by chemical rates of reaction. Therefore, studies must carefully consider the type of natural water and how it may be influenced.

Ground Water

Ground Water represents water that is pumped from wells and aquifers. It is water located beneath the ground surface between soil pore spaces and in the layers and fractures of rock formations that can be very far below the surface. more….>>>

Surface Water

Surface water is water that collects on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean. Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation in the form of rain and snow and also from groundwater. more….>>>

Lake and Reservoir Water

A lake is a body of relatively still fresh water localized in a basin that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean, and are larger and deeper than ponds. A reservoir is an artificial lake that is used to store water and produce other amenities. more….>>>

Water Drainage Basin

A water drainage basin is morphology and geology shaped by the influence of water. The surrounding area of land where water from rain and melting snow or ice along with groundwater converges to a single point, usually the exit of the drainage basin. more….>>>

Physical Water Variables

The physical parameters of water quality such as temperature, turbidity and taste or odor to name a few can be measured. Temperature of water has dominant influences on the aquatic ecosystem. Physical parameters need to be thought of in relation to the ecosystem and how these interactions produce the water we see in a drainage basin.

With these concepts in mind, let us now discuss some of the basic water quality parameters that are commonly measured. Some examples of their biological significance will be presented.

Water Temperature

Temperature is a physical property of water that quantitatively expresses hot and cold. Waters of low temperature, but not freezing are cold, while only few degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot.

More about Water Temeprature
Water Temperature Definition
Water Temperature Influences in Rivers and Streams
Water Temperature Patterns in Lakes
Water Temperature Significance in Natural Water
Water Temperature Effects on Fish and Aquatic Life

Physical Water Quality Parameters  <<<...return
Ground Water
Surface Water
Lake and Reservoir Water
Water Drainage Basin
Water Temperature

Next Topics…
Water Color Odor Taste
Water Turbidity
Water Sediment and Particulates

Go Back to:
Physical Water Quality
Chemical Water Quality
Biological Water Quality
Water Basics 101



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