# Water. We use it everyday. We drink it

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Water. We use it everyday. We drink it
Introduction to water Water. We use it everyday. We drink it Wash ourselves (and our pets) in it Cook with it Swim in it Water our plants with it Put out fires with it Use it recreationally Eat food from it Flush our toilets with it We need water to survive! So, where does all this water come from? This presentation helps to show students why it is important to take care of our waterways, and to reduce our water use. For this slide you might like to ask students to list the different things we use water for before showing all of the examples. See if they can guess all nine in their answers. All living things need water to survive. You could ask your students if it is only people who need water in order to survive, and see if they can name other things, such as plants and animals, that also need water in order to survive.

Where does water come from?
There is a lot of water on Earth. Imagine a 1 litre jug of water. You would need 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 1 litre jugs to hold all of the water in the world. Out of all the water on the planet, 97 percent of it is in our oceans. 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres is a calculated estimate of how much water there is in the world. Ask students if they can pronounce this number. One sextillion, two hundred and sixty quintillion litres of water (it’s a bit of a mouthful!).

If there is so much water in the ocean – why do we need to save water?
Water in our oceans Earth has five oceans. Together they cover over 70 percent of the planet’s surface. These oceans are also very deep. The average depth of oceans in the world is over 3km! If there is so much water in the ocean – why do we need to save water? It has to do with what is in the water in the ocean. What is different about water from the ocean, compared to water from a tap? That’s right! Ocean water has salt in it, which means we cannot drink it. In this slide we look at the planet’s five oceans: Arctic, Pacific, Indian, Atlantic and Southern. We also look at how deep the oceans are. One average the world’s oceans they are over 3km deep, but the deepest trench in the ocean is over 10km. You might like to ask students how long it would take them to swim, or to ‘walk’ to the bottom of the ocean floor. You could also talk to them about why this would not be possible without special equipment: it is very cold at the bottom of the ocean, the pressure changes so our lungs would not work without special equipment, there is no light (it is very dark), there is no oxygen (unless we have an oxygen tank)…etc. You might also like to look into the types of animals and plants that live at the bottom of the ocean. There are some very interesting creatures living at the bottom of the oceans. They are often extremophiles - meaning they love extreme living conditions – such as boiling water from volcanic vents under the sea, or icy cold water and no light.

Fresh water This means, only 3 percent of the worlds water is fresh (not salty) water. Of that 3 percent, 2.97 percent of the fresh water in the world is frozen in polar ice caps and glaciers, or found in groundwater. This means that only 0.03 percent of all the water in the world is fresh, and available for us to drink. And we use that 0.03 percent for everything, including flushing our toilets and washing our cars! Ask the students what they use the water from their taps for. Examples include: brushing our teeth, washing our hands, drinking, washing dishes, watering plants etc. This slide can match up with Activity 2 – How much of the world’s water is fresh water? – found in the Water Resources for Year 5 and 6.

Our water has been around for millions of years
There is something else that you may not know about water. The water we drink today, has been around for millions of years! Since before the dinosaurs! All of the water on Earth is recycled (just like we recycle paper, plastic and other items). Except water is recycled through nature. We call this the Water Cycle. So, how does the Water Cycle work? The water we use today has been around forever. You might like to represent this in another way (other than ‘older than dinosaurs’).

The Water Cycle is the ‘life cycle’ of water.
There is no start or end to the water cycle, it simply keeps going and going. During the water cycle, water changes state. This means it changes from a liquid (water), to a solid (ice), to a vapour (steam), within the cycle. Let’s take a look at the different stages of the water cycle. See if you can figure out which state the water is in at each stage. This slide might be the first time your class has seen the terms: changes state, liquid, solid and vapour. If you have started this topic already, your students may be familiar with solids, liquids and gases. A vapour in its natural state (i.e. at room temperature) is a solid or a liquid – such as water. A gas in its natural state (i.e. at room temperature) is a gas – such as oxygen. Therefore, when talking about the changes in states of matter for water, we say: solid, liquid and vapour.

Precipitation Precipitation (also known as rain), is a stage of the water cycle we are all familiar with. When it rains, water falls from the clouds and onto the ground (or into the ocean). When rain lands on the ground, it either soaks into the soil, or runs off the surface. If rain falls over the ocean, it joins the water in the ocean, just as it would a river or a lake. Ask students which month of the year they think it rains the most. You might like to make this an investigation question for them.

This is known as infiltration.
When it rains over (permeable) land, the water that falls onto the ground soaks into the soil. This is known as infiltration. Infiltration of water into the soil helps plants to get water from the soil, which helps them to grow. Water which is not taken up by plants soaks down further and becomes groundwater. What happens to the water once the trees absorb it? You can describe permeable surfaces to the students here using the Key Terms section (Page 2) of the Water Resources.

This is called transpiration.
When the trees have absorbed the water from the soil, they bring it up through their roots and push it out to the tips of their leaves. When the sun is shining and the atmosphere is warm, the trees transpire (sweat) water, just like we do when we are hot. This is called transpiration. This water then evaporates in the atmosphere and turns into water vapour (just like the steam of a boiling kettle). The water then travels up into the atmosphere as water vapour. This slide has many new words in it: absorbed, atmosphere, transpiration, evaporation and vapour. Some of these will be explained throughout the presentation, others (such as absorbed and vapour) you might like to look at with your class.

This is called condensation.
As the water vapour travels higher into the atmosphere it gets much colder. This change in temperature slows the water vapour down, and brings it closer together, causing it to form water droplets. Just as the steam from a hot shower forms water droplets on the bathroom walls once the room cools down. This is called condensation. These water droplets accumulate in the clouds. When the clouds can no longer hold the water – it rains. Ask the students how cold the atmosphere is, where the clouds form. Why might the atmosphere get colder? Ask students for other examples of when steam (or vapour), turns to liquid when the temperature drops. To explain why the water comes together when it is colder, you might like to use this example: if all the students were in the classroom together and it suddenly got very, very cold – what would be the fastest way of staying warm? To huddle up together. This is similar to the action that water molecules preform when it is very cold, they ‘huddle’ up together. When it is freezing (when it is 0 degrees Celcius), the water molecules will huddle so closely that they will stop – i.e. turn to ice.

Just as before - it rains!
Precipitation Just as before - it rains! But this time the rain falls on a surface that is impermeable, such as concrete. This means the ground will not soak up the water as it did before. What happens to the water if it cannot soak into the ground for the trees to absorb? Ask the students what they think some impermeable surfaces around the might be. Examples include: concrete, bricks, asphalt and buildings might be some around your school.

This is called surface runoff.
Precipitation that does not soak into the ground, sits on top of the ground. This is called surface runoff. Surface runoff can also happen when there is a lot of rain and the soil is water logged. This happens a lot in cities where there is less permeable ground (such as grass and soil) and more impermeable ground (such as footpaths, roads and bricks). If the surface water cannot soak into the ground it either pools on the surface and creates puddles, until it evaporates when the weather dries up, or it runs along the ground to the lowest point (often a gutter and then stormwater drain). This can be bad for people, has it can create a hazard and it can be bad for the environment as it picks up pollutants and litter along the way to the drain.

Anything that does not belong in the waterways
Stormwater and Litter If water is unable to soak into the ground, it runs along the gutters and into the stormwater drains. As it travels towards the drains it collects litter that has been left on the footpath or road. This litter includes: Food wrappers Oil from cars Animal waste Cigarette butts, and Anything that does not belong in the waterways And it all goes directly to the stormwater drains. Ask students if they have seen stormwater drains before. Have they seen a stormwater canal? Have they ever noticed litter near the drains? Ask the students what they think the term litter might mean. Litter consists of waste products that have been disposed improperly, without consent, at an inappropriate location. This means anything that is left where it is not meant to be is considered litter. This includes animal waste left when walking the dog, or a car that leaks oil on the road. Ask students for more examples of litter.

Why do you think this might be a problem?
Stormwater and Litter The openings to stormwater drains are often large to allow a lot of water to come in when it rains. This means that any litter that is near a stormwater drain is likely to end up in the stormwater. Why do you think this might be a problem? Ask students to list reasons why litter in our stormwater might be a problem.

Stormwater drains often go directly to the ocean.
Litter in the ocean Stormwater drains often go directly to the ocean. This means, any litter that makes its way into the stormwater drains, will end up in the ocean. This is very dangerous for the animals that live there. Marine animals such as turtles can confuse our litter for pieces of food, and swallow them accidently. This can be fatal for them. How can we help reduce this from happening? We can pick up any litter we see on the ground! Stormwater drains can be filtered to reduce litter going to the ocean, however a lot of litter that enters stormwater drains goes straight into the ocean. Ask students to list examples of the types of litter that can effect marine life. Examples include: animals confusing plastic bags with jelly fish, swallowing plastic, etc.

This is called evaporation.
Once the water reaches the ocean it will stay there until the atmosphere above the ocean is warmer than the ocean water. When the air is warmer, the ocean water will start to change state, back into water vapour and rise back up into the sky. This is called evaporation. As the salt in the ocean water is too heavy to evaporate, it will stay in the ocean. This means that the water vapour will once again be fresh water! You might like to match this slide with an experiment that looks at steam (water vapour) rising.

It is this dust and dirt that helps clouds form.
Condensation Just as before, the water vapour will continue to rise up into the atmosphere. As the vapour rises it will collect dust and dirt that is in the atmosphere. It is this dust and dirt that helps clouds form. Clouds are a combination of dust and dirt, water vapour and a change in atmospheric pressure. When the clouds are full of water again, it rains. There are some great science experiments that you can do with the class to show how clouds are formed, using a plastic bottle, a burnt match and some water. An example of this can be found at:

We call water that is safe for drinking, potable water.
Precipitation Rain doesn’t always fall on land. In fact, rain is more likely to fall into the oceans, rivers and lakes than it is to fall onto land. When rain falls straight into our rivers, we can use it for drinking water. We call water that is safe for drinking, potable water. To use this potable water, we need to store it, and filter it, so it is clean. How can we store a lot of water? Rain is more likely to fall into the oceans as 70% of the planet’s surface is ocean. It is also due to the constant evaporation and condensation that occurs above oceans.

Storage dams Storage dams hold water that has made its way into rivers and lakes when it rains. We use storage dams to keep the water in one area (just as we use a water bottle to bring water around with us, we use a storage dam to keep the water in one place so it is easier to use). Storage dams are very important, especially when rivers flow through many towns and states. We have to ensure there is clean water for everyone. Ask the students why storage dams are important. What happens if there is a drought? How will storage dams help in this situation?

Potable water Water from storage dams is filtered and sent along water pipes to our schools and homes. Australia has some of the highest quality potable water in the world – we are very lucky. Many countries do not have readily available access to potable water. The means they must travel long distances to get clean water, or drink non-potable water which can make them sick. In Australia, we use potable water for many things we don’t need to, such as flushing our toilets. Instead of using potable water for these things, we can use recycled water. Ask the students which countries in the world may not have access to clean, fresh drinking (potable) water. You might like to ask students what they would do if they didn’t have readily available potable water (for a very small cost) from our taps. Where would they go to get their water? Ask the students what they think we should use potable water for. Should we use it for everything, or something things only?

Sewage water Sewage water is what we call water once it has been flushed down the toilet. Although we use potable water to flush our toilets, once it has been in the toilet, it is considered sewage water. When we flush the toilet the sewage water goes through the sewerage (sewage pipes) and ends up at a Water Treatment Facility. Most countries use recycled water to flush their toilets – Australia is one of the last countries that still uses potable water to flush our toilets. Point out the differences between sewage and sewerage. Students might like to research which countries use recycled water for their toilets.

Water Treatment Facility
When water makes its way through the sewerage it ends up at the Water Treatment Facility. The Water Treatment Facility filters the sewage water so that it is safe enough to go back into the waterways. This takes a lot of filtering, but by the last stage of the treatment, it is almost as clean as potable water! The Water Treatment Facility in Werribee has a great education centre. You students can go on a guided tour of the Treatment Facility and see how the water is treated from raw sewage to the final stage of filtered water. It is a very interested tour, and shows just how important it is to use water wisely.

Washing our clothes Sewerage isn’t the only form of pipes that take water from our house. Some households have special pipes installed that take their soapy water from their washing machine and their bathroom sink and send it straight to their garden. This helps reduce the build up of nutrients such as phosphorus (that are found in some detergents) from reaching our waterways. This slide can be linked up with activities looking at what we put into our waterways. Many detergents have ingredients such as phosphorus that can build up in our waterways and cause blue green algae. Look at a few types of detergents with phosphorus, and some without. Many detergents that do not have phosphorus will advertise it on the bottle.

This soapy water is known as greywater.
Greywater is not potable water as it can not be used for drinking (the soaps in it will make us sick). It can however be used for other purposes such as watering your (non-edible) garden plants. Using greywater on your garden saves the potable water from the tap for drinking! Greywater pipes are purple. Ask students if they have seen purple pipes coming from houses before. What plants could you water with greywater? What plants can you not water with greywater? What are some other uses for greywater?

Raingardens Another way to reduce excess nutrients and litter reaching our waterways is by building a raingarden. Raingardens are designed to filter pollutants out of the stormwater before they reach the drains and waterways. To do this, raingardens are layered with many layers of fine sand and other materials to trap pollutants before the water reaches the groundwater. You might like to look into building a small raingarden at your school. To find out more about raingardens, visit:

Groundwater When the water soaks deep into the soil it forms a pool underground. This is called groundwater. Groundwater is very important. Trees use groundwater to get the water they need to grow and people use ground water to help irrigate farmland for agriculture. The use of groundwater is very topical. Ask students who they think should be allowed to access groundwater (farmers, industries, the community). What happens when we overuse our groundwater?

All of these steps make the water cycle function.
As you can see, without the water cycle there would be no rain, no oceans, no plants, no rivers, and no animals (this includes people too!). We need the water cycle to survive. To make sure the water cycle is able to work as well as it can, we also need to look after our waterways so they stay clean and healthy. What kinds of waterways do we have in Brimbank? You might like to link this slide with an activity about the water cycle. Activity 1 in the Water Resources for Years 5 and 6, have an activity on creating a game for the water cycle. If your school is near a waterway, ask your students what type of waterway this is.

Caring for our local waterways
Did you know that in Brimbank we have many creeks, rivers and wetlands? What can we do to help keep our creeks, rivers and wetlands clean? We can: Pick up any litter we see Pick up dog poo when we are walking our dogs, and Avoid using washing detergents with phosphorus in them We could also reduce the amount of water we use at home and at school to ensure our waterways stay full. You might like to show your students a map of your local area. How many creeks, rivers and wetlands do you have in your local area?

Why is it important to save water?
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world! This means we get very little rainfall compared to other countries. Even when we are not in a drought, it is important to use water wisely. This doesn’t have to mean showering with buckets in your shower – but it does mean being thoughtful when using water, and only ever using the amount of water you need. What are some ways we can reduce the amount of water we use? Antarctica is the driest continent in the world – however, as it is not permanently inhabited, Australia is considered the driest inhabited continent in the world. You might to ask your students to look up how much water Australia gets on average per year. How does this compare with other countries around Australia (such as New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia)? Although we are no longer officially in a drought, it is still important for us to use water wisely. Ask students what they think a drought means (you might like to link this in with Natural Disasters). Explain to them that we were in a drought for over ten years in Australia, and that we are likely to face droughts again in the future.

Keep an eye out (and tell someone about): Dripping taps, and
Reducing water use There are lots of simple things that you can do to reduce your water use. Keep an eye out (and tell someone about): Dripping taps, and Leaking pipes Remember to: Have 4 minute showers, and Turn the taps off while we brush our teeth Wash the car with a bucket of water instead of the hose Be water wise when using water Ask students to list as many ways as they can to reduce water, and to be water wise. You might like to ask them to put these ideas up on posters around the classroom.

Being water wise at school
What can we do to be water wise at school? Put buckets outside when it is raining to collect rain water for the garden Wash our paint brushes in a bucket instead of using a running tap Tell a teacher if a toilet or tap won’t stop running Pick up any litter that you see so it doesn’t enter the drain And remember – we need water to survive, so let’s be wise with it! Being water wise is about being mindful of the water we use. It is also about realising that we are very lucky in Australia to have access to clean drinking water and that not long ago we faced a big drought that risked that. You might like to ask students to come up with ideas to save water in the school and make a song, play, activity or poster about them – and remember to share the water wise message with other classrooms as well.

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