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Difference Between Surface Water and Ground Water

Surface Water vs Ground Water
 
The water found on the surface of the earth, like water in the river or lake, is known as surface water. The water that is trapped under the earth’s surface is the ground water.

Ground water is normally used in households for drinking, cooking and other activities. The surface water may also be used for drinking and washing, but they have many other uses, like in agriculture and generating electricity.

The surface water also recharges the underground water. The rainwater that drips deep into the ground, melting snow and glaciers recharge the ground water.

It can be seen that surface water is exposed to evaporation whereas ground water is not. Another difference that can be seen between surface water and ground water is in the temperature. The ground water maintains a constant temperature whereas the temperature of surface water alters according to the surroundings.

There is also much difference in the chemical composition between surface water and ground water. For example, the surface water contains less salt content when compared to ground water. Moreover, as the depth increases, the salt content also increases.

Unlike the surface water, ground water is free from pathogenic organisms such as salmonella and malaria.  In mineral content, ground water contains more minerals than surface water.

Surface water contains different contaminants like pesticides, animal wastes, insecticides, algae, industrial wastes and other organic materials. Though some think that ground water contains less contaminants, it is not true. All the contaminants present in the surface water are also seen in ground water.

Summary

  1. The water found on the surface of the earth, like water in the river or lake is known as surface water. The water that is trapped under the earth’s surface is the ground water.
  2. Surface water is exposed to evaporation whereas ground water is not.
  3. Ground water is normally used for household drinking, cooking and other activities. The surface water may also be used for drinking and washing but they have many other uses, like in agriculture and generating electricity.
  4. The ground water maintains a constant temperature, whereas the temperature of surface water alters according to the surroundings.
  5. Though some think that ground water contains less contaminants, it is not true. All the contaminants present in the surface water are also seen in ground water.
  6. Unlike the surface water, ground water is free from pathogenic organisms such as salmonella and malaria.  


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