Water as a Resource


Water supply is key to our existence and yet we often forget how important it is. Watch the video below and think about the many ways that we depend on water.

Lesson 1) Water Availability and Use


1) Look at map below. It uses territory size to show the proportion of freshwater found in each region.

//Click here to see an animated version// of the map. Roll your mouse over the map and look at how the size of the countries change.

Global Water Resources:Water resources here include only freshwater, because saline (sea) water requires treatment before most uses. Only 43 600 cubic kilometres of freshwater is available as a resource each year, despite more than twice this amount falling as precipitation (rain and snow). Much is lost through evaporation. Those countries with higher rainfall often have larger water resources. Of all the water available, the regions of South America and Asia Pacific have the most.People living in Kuwait use sea water that is processed at a desalination plant. As such Kuwait has no area on this map because there are no freshwater resources there.(from world mapper.com)

i) Describe the geographical locations that have more than average levels of water resources. These are the countries that get bigger when you roll the mouse over them. You should name regions (eg Sub Saharan Africa) and countries.

ii) Describe the locations that have less than average levels of water resources.

Global Water Usage:Four thousand cubic kilometres of water are used by people each year around the world, for domestic, agricultural and other industrial purposes. This does not include non-consumptive uses such as energy generation, mining, and recreation.China, India and the United States use the most water. These are also the territories where the most people live. But water use per person is about three times higher in the United States than it is in India and China.Whilst everybody needs water, people use hugely varying quantities. On average, people living in Central Africa each use only 2% of the water used by each person living in North America.(from worldmapper.com)

iii) Describe the geographical locations that have more than average levels of water use.

iv) Describe the locations of countries that have less than average levels of water use.

v) Using page 306 in the text book and other sources available to you, define the following terms.

  • Groundwater

  • Surface water

  • Aquifer

  • Water Surplus

  • Water Deficit

  • Desalination

  • Drought


a) Use the diagram on 307 of your text book explain the factors that can lead to a water surplus or deficit. Use the word document below for your explanation. Give examples wherever possible.

Factors Affecting Water Surplus or Deficit.docx

b) Answer Q11 (b) on page 307 of your text book.

Lesson 2) Water Usage in the USA:


Look carefully at the diagram below. Although the data is the 2000, the pattern of water use is still the same.


i) Use the data in he diagram to complete the excel sheet below. Once you have completed the table, click on the graph tab at the bottom of the excel sheet to see your data in graph.


ii) Use the graph you have produced to answer these questions.

a) What is the Thermo-electric sector and why does it need water?
b) Describe the pattern of water use shown in the graph you have produced.
c) Which ‘water use’ uses the most water?
d) Which ‘water use’ uses the most groundwater?
e) Which ‘water use’ uses the most surface water?


Look at the graphic below.

1) How does water usage change as a country becomes more developed?

2) Why do you think this change in water usage occurs?

3) As water supplies are already under pressure, how can we ensure that all countries can provide a sustainable water supply in the future? Use the internet to find an example of a project that is working to encourage sustainable water usage.


Lesson 3) Water Scarcity

California’s drought: What losing 63 trillion gallons of water looks like

California Drought.PNG
Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville. Top: July 2011; bottom: August 2014. (Top: Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images Bottom: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Discussion Point:

What impact would water shortages have on a countries people and economy?


Look at the map below that shows predicted water scarcity for 2025.

Projected water scarcity 2025.gif

  1. Use the internet to explain the difference between Physical water scarcity and Economic water scarcity.

  2. Describe the geographical locations that are predicted to have physical water scarcity.

  3. Describe the geographical locations that are predicted to have economic water scarcity.

  4. Describe and explain some problems facing a country facing physical water scarcity.

  5. Read these articles about drought in Colombia and California Make notes on each article under the headings, Causes, Social Impacts, Economic Impacts and What can be done?

Oil tanker in Colombia.jpg
Drought in Columbia: Water is being delivered to some of the worst hit areas to replenish ponds, but many of the lorries carry oil.

Lessons 4 and 5: It all starts with Water.

“Water and sanitation underpin health, education and livelihoods, and yet hundreds of millions of people live without these basic human rights.”


Water Aid are a charity that work to bring water to communities all over the developing world. Watch the video below for an introduction to the work they do.


Read the information and watch the video below. Click on the links to find out more about the ways in which water can help improve people’s lives. You are going to use the information to complete the task below so you might want to make notes as you read.

You are to imagine that you are a young girl who’s village has had a constant supply of clean water for 2 years, thanks to the work of a charity.

The charity have asked you to talk about how the water supply has changed your life for a promotional film they are making. You are to write out in full what you are going to say.

You have 250 – 400 words.

“When water comes…everything changes.”


In developing countries, about 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. Clean and safe water is essential to healthy living.


It may seem simple, but we forget that without access to a reliable source of water, food is hard to grow and even more difficult to preserve and prepare.


Without water,you can’t grow food, you can’t build housing, you can’t stay healthy, you can’t stay in school and you can’t keep working.

Without clean water, the possibility of breaking out of the cycle of poverty is incredibly slim.


The lack of safe water can cause even the best students to lose momentum as they deal with stomach pains and diarrhea from disease and hunger.

Students miss class to go fetch water, or to care for sick parents or siblings.

Case Study: The Highlands Water Project: Lesotho, Southern Africa

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Lesotho’s White Gold