CAMP PROBLEM STATEMENT                                                                 WaterSheds

When it rains, the water that falls from the sky has to go somewhere. In many cases, it runs into storm water inlets at curbsides and, from there, into rivers. The water that runs over the ground after a rain is called runoff. As the water moves through roofs, streets, lawns and parking lots, when it's raining, it picks up chemicals, dirt and trash. At industrial sites (factories), trucks with toxic chemicals such as gasoline, oils, organic solvents and heavy metals may drop some of these substances in factories parking lots and loading docks. When it rains, this stuff moves with runoffs into streets and storm water inlets and find their way into rivers, lakes and ground water (subterranean water).

 In cities, we obtain our water from local rivers, reservoirs (man made lakes) and in some cases from wells deep in the ground that reach into ground-water reservoirs which are similar to underground lakes. Every time it rains, polluted runoff contaminates our drinking water supply.

The water company removes trash and toxic substances from the water it takes from rivers and lakes. The more contaminated the water the more work they have to do to make it drinkable. Dirtier water becomes more expensive to clean and as a result our water bills go up.

We humans have to pay more for clean water as more and more factories, houses and roads are built and contribute to water pollution. Animals, birds and fish on the other hand have to live and drink this contaminated water. They have no choice. As a result of runoff from factories and cities many animals, birds and fish that use and live in these waters simply die because that waters are contaminated.

A watershed is an area on the surface of the earth that drains to one single low point. There are millions of watersheds on the earth. Each river has its own watershed. Cities, forests, highways and people exist on specific watersheds. If you live in Newark you may get your water from the Hackensack river watershed.

In this computer camp you will help us determine how people in New Jersey use the land of the Hackensack river watershed where you get your water. Using satellite images you will determine the areas that generate the most contaminated runoff during rain events and the water bodies (rivers and lakes) that are most affected by this runoff. Once this is determined you will create a virtual fly-by that will help us show the areas where our water supply is most threatened.

You will use satellite images to determine where rivers and lakes are in this watershed. You will use the same images to determine where industry exists in the watershed. Finally, you will use an elevation model (tells you about terrain elevation) to calculate the different slopes in the watershed. With this information you will locate industrial areas that exist on slopes greater than 5%. These are the areas that are most likely to generate contaminated runoff. You will create a single image that shows where rivers and lakes are in relation to industrial sites. Finally, you will use this image to generate a fly-by video that will show the most threatened water bodies in the watershed.

 Finally, you will help us with ideas of some changes that could be made so our water sources are protected from runoff and animals and humans can have plenty of clean water to drink and live in.