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Aquatic conservation is the practice of saving and protecting water resources, which not only include surface water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, but underground water sources as well, such as aquifers. The purpose of such conservation is to fully preserve the biological diversity of an area, while also providing healthy drinking water for the human population. The aquatic conservation effort is enhanced and based on scientific research, which is used to identify problems, as well as possible solutions.
One of the key goals to conserving aquatic environments is simply to stop or prevent water pollution. While there will always be some impurities in water, there could be times when those impurities become detrimental to the organisms dependent on that water. This could lead to the death of certain organisms, and potentially set off a chain reaction that could impact the entire food chain.
The research should address many different and important issues. For example, scientific research could help identify what impurities are dangerous, and at what levels they become dangerous. It can also help determine if those impurities occur naturally or if they are somehow influenced by the actions of humans in the area. If humans are suspected to be the source of the pollution, it may identify possible sources of contamination specifically, such as a factory.
Often, aquatic conservation not only relies on scientific research, but also on regulation and enforcement actions to accomplish its goals. For example, companies found polluting ground or surface water supplies can be fined, or even shut down in the most serious cases. Such measures would not be possible if it were not for science and the legislative and executive branches of government working together for the common good.
Another key objective of aquatic conservation is to determine whether the use of aquatic resources are sustainable over the long term. This could include irrigation and drinking water, as well recreational water usage. In some cases, even recreational use of an aquatic environment could, ultimately, be harmful to it. Therefore, users must act responsibly and understand they are interacting with a sensitive environment.
Overall, aquatic conservation efforts rely on the support of the general public in order to succeed. If the public was unaware or ambivalent toward conservation efforts, then the program would likely fail. Therefore, education and outreach are other important aspects of water conservation, especially when the issues are complicated. Conservation professionals often spend a great deal of their time educating the public about the importance of such efforts.