A1.2.1.1 Continued …



When water falls back to the earth as precipitation it collects. This may be in rivers, lakes or oceans. Depending on where it falls, it may soak into the ground and flow as groundwater, or it may flow into the sea from rivers.

Human impacts on the water cycle:

As populations increase, so too does the demand for water. Water demand is not only for drinking and washing, but also through the increase demands placed on industry by an increased population. An increase in demand for water will place an additional strain on the rivers, lakes and groundwater we source our water from.

When the water intake increases, so too does the requirement to discharge waste water. This requires treatment before it can be released, or it will adversely affect the receiving water body.

With a rising population comes a greater need for housing (and the associated roads, shops and industry). Towns grow in size and cities sprawl. In developed areas this increases the land area covered by concrete and tarmac. Rainwater cannot run off naturally, which leads to flooding. This is especially prevalent in areas where developments have been placed on floodplains.

Over recent years there has been an increased awareness of the true water usage of the average person. What water do you use?

Would you say, washing clothes, washing yourself, watering the garden, cleaning the car?

What about the water used by the factory that made your clothes?

Or the water used by the manufacturing companies that made your TV, your computer, your furniture, the paint on your walls, the carpet on your floor or the tinned food in your kitchen?

Don’t forget the water used during the manufacture of packaging for all of these items or in the transport of these goods.