What are some examples of human activities that affect processes in the water cycle?

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  1. Water pollution
  2. Excessive consumption of the water
  3. Deforestation


  1. Water pollution can affect the water cycle since it can disturb the normal flow of water in different areas. Air pollution can create a haze that allows less sunlight through and affects evaporation (learn more here).

  2. Excessive consumption of the fresh water can also affect the cycle because it disrupt the normal pattern of water cycle. For example, aquifers are a main source of freshwater for many people. If we remove water from aquifers at a rate that is faster than the aquifer can replenish itself, that will lower the ground water in the area and affect the surrounding soils and ecosystem. Ground water depletion can also affect river and stream flow. Read more about ground water depletion here.

  3. Deforestation may affect the water cycle since trees and other plants absorb water. If there are fewer trees, the rainwater will either flow across the soil to areas of lower elevation or the soil may become more saturated in water (typically, because deforestation also means sunlight will reach a greater area, the soil dries out). Trees also release water back into the atmosphere. For more information, see here.

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