Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Water for LA

The city of Los Angeles is in an arid semi-desert area that could not support its population if it did not pump in huge amounts of water from the northern part of the state. Estimate how much water all the people in the city of Los Angeles use in one day. (Note: Most of the water required in California is used for agriculture. Only estimate here the personal use of water by individuals.)

During their summer, the ice sheet over Antarctica breaks off large blocks of ice from the glaciers that cover the land. A few years ago, it broke off a piece that was 100 m thick and covered an area the size of Rhode Island. If this could be towed to Los Angeles, how long could it provide fresh water for the city? (For this problem, please look up the population of Los Angeles and the area of Rhode Island. Be sure to cite your sources and state why you think they are reliable. Ignore the melting of the ice while it is beig towed. Keep 2 sig. figs.)

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Page last modified March 15, 2009: G20