Without water there would be no life. We are made up of about 65% water and three quarters of the earth is covered with water. We can live 30 days without food but only 3 to 5 without water. Water exists as a liquid covering the earth in oceans (97%), rivers, and lakes (.20%); as ice in the polar caps (2%); as groundwater (.80%) and as a gas in the clouds and atmosphere. Scientists estimate that ninety-six percent of all liquid fresh water on earth is underground. Yet in many places, groundwater supplies are being stretched thin and precious water is being depleted. Shallow groundwater may accumulate within 300 years, but deep groundwater may take thousands of years. In the US, approximately half of the water used is from groundwater sources which are not easily renewed. Fresh water from the Great Lakes represents 20% of the world’s fresh water resource. One flush of a toilet is the same as a person’s daily intake in a third of the world. Only a third of the world’s population has access to safe, clean drinking water. How much water do you need to drink? How can you conserve water? Where will water be in 2050?
Shower vs. bath: How much water is used?
water facts! Where is our water on Earth? ocean 97% ice 2% groundwater .80% lakes, rivers, wetlands .20%
Where is water in us? muscles 75% water bones 22% water blood 83% water
Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water. About one-half of 1% is groundwater. Only about 1/100 of 1% of the water is in rivers and lakes.
By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in conditions of water shortage, compared with around 40% today!
Activity 1 – Fresh Water Measure
Fill a 2-liter bottle with tap water. This represents all of the water on the earth. Add 3 drops of blue food coloring into the bottle. Pour out 50 ml into a cup; this represents all the fresh water on earth. Now remove 70% of 50 ml; this represents fresh water trapped in glaciers or too deep in the ground to be used. The remainder, less than 1% of the Earth’s total water supply, is all that is left to support human agriculture, drinking and washing, and freshwater ecosystems. Record this exercise in your journal.
Activity 2 – Map The Water Cycle
The water cycle is critical to all living things. Water falls as precipitation and then runs into lakes, rivers, and oceans and infiltrates the ground and replenishes water sources. Plants and animals use water through capillary action. The sun’s heat evaporates water that rises as water vapor. Droplets cool, condense and form clouds, and then rain, sleet or snow. Make a diagram of the water cycle. Label the key parts.
Activity 3 – be water smart!
Water is everywhere. While we need water to live, we also use water to make things. You would be surprised to know how many gallons of water it takes to make a cup of coffee, take a bath or a shower, wash dishes, make a t-shirt, or produce a car. Once you begin to measure our activities and products in gallons of water, it will help you appreciate that water is critical to our survival and that we need to find ways to use less water in the things we do and the things we make. While some places ration water for watering landscapes, other countries ration water for drinking. If we look at the world as connected, we will see that water is in everything and is needed for everything and that we need to know this to make better choices about what we buy, use and consume.
Be water smart!
Activity 4 – Water Equivalencies
People are made of water. Our brains are 70% water. Our lungs are…90% water! We are actually all 70% wet! Look at the well being journey to see that next to air, water is the most important necessity for life. The earth is covered approximately 75% by water. Look at the water journey to see how little of the world’s water is fresh and drinkable. What if you lived in an area where water did not come out of a faucet? We should drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water or 64 ounces of water a day. How would you find those 8 cups? How would you wash your food and clothes? How much water do we need? Yet common daily activities take many more gallons. Record these amazing amounts of water used to make things you use or wear. Think again about buying that t-shirt or that third pair of jeans!
Activity 5 – Make A Water Conservation Plan
Water conservation is a complex subject. It is as much up to the individual as it is up to the community and to the government of a country. How do we conserve fresh drinking water? How much water is needed for taking a shower vs. a bath? Do we let the water run while brushing our teeth? How can we use water more efficiently? Do some research to find ways that you can conserve water.
- There is enough fresh water everywhere in the world.
- Freshwater represents 50% of all of the world's water resources.
- Water evaporates with the heat of the sun and rises as vapor.
- Plants give off water in evapotranspiration.
- Everybody can conserve water.
- AQUA: A Journey into the World of Water
- Atelier Dreiseitl
- Be Water Wise, DC, Atlanta and Miami
- Blur Building
- Change the State of Water
- Christo + Jean Claude + Over the River
- Clean Water Challenge
- CUP:Sewer in a Suitcase
- Discover Water The Role of Water in our Lives
- EPA Climate Impact on Water Sources
- Fluid Science Projects: San Francisco Exploratorium
- Global Fresh Water Supply
- Greening of the Great Lakes
- Ground Water and Drinking Water:Expert's Guide
- H2o for life
- Hippo Roller
- How much water do you use?
- Jason de Caires Taylor Underwater Sculpture
- Kids Water Fun: Games and Activities
- Last Call at the Oasis Movie Intro
- Life Straw
- National Geographic Water Footprint (free sign in)
- Natural History Museum H2O Exhibit
- Ned Kahan: Fog
- Our Future Earth: Water
- PBS Eekoworld Water
- Pond Water Safari A Microscopic Video
- Project Wet
- TEDed Fresh Water Scarcity
- TEDed Why Does Ice Float in water?
- The Story of Bottled Water
- UNICEF TAP Project
- Unicef World Water Map
- United Nations: Human Right to Water
- Urban Lab Growing Water
- USGS Water Cycle Advanced
- US Water-use Atlas
- Video CHASING ICE: Glacier "Calving"
- Video Pipe Dreams Water Rights
- Video TEDed Where did Earth's Water Come From?
- Video Water Food Energy NEXUS
- Water Conservation Measures
- Water Costs of Energy
- Water Cycle Animated Diagram
- Water Cycle Diagram
- Water Cycle Discover Water Project (Interactive)
- Water Cycle Quiz
- Water Education Foundation
- Water Energy Calculator/United Kingdom
- Water Energy Connection
- Water Food Energy NEXUS
- Water Footprint Calculator
- WATERLIFE Movie Trailer
- Water Resource Maps
- Water Wheel
- What Our Water is Worth
- Where our water comes from (US)
- World's Water in a CUBE
- WWAP World Water Assessment Programme
- Buildings as Bodies
- Coral Reefs
- Great Lakes
- Green Dollhouse
- Green Roofs
- House of the Future
- Outdoor Classrooms
- Rain Gardens
- Rain Water Harvesting
- Urban Agriculture
- Water Conservation
- Water Quality
- Water Taxis
- Well Being