The hydrologic cycle is important because it is how water reaches plants, animals and us! Besides providing people, animals and plants with water, it also moves things like nutrients, pathogens and sediment in and out of aquatic ecosystems.
One of the ways that water moves through the cycle is through its ability to permeate, or soak, into the soil. There are four key areas that impact that part of the cycle:
- changes in the ability of soil to soak up water through increases of impervious surfaces, like roads and buildings, and removal of forest cover;
- water withdrawals or impoundments (such as through wells or dams)
- filling depressional wetlands; and
- altering stream flows and beds.