NCWR

About NCWR

Water in the city

In a nutshell

In this activity we ‘explore’ the urban water cycle and we learn what sustainable water management within a city is all about.

1 class hour

12-13 years old

In the field

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Find out how the human activities impact the water cycle.
  • Discover how the water cycle works in an urban environment.
  • Be informed about the practices of sustainable water management.
  • Be motivated to consume water responsibly.

Things to use

Notebooks and pens, photo camera (or a cell phone to take photos)

Water-readings

Three water systems in a city

Cities are big consumers of water! In most cases its water is transferred from far away. This way its water “inflow” relies not only on precipitation in the surrounding areas but also in others from where the water is transported to the city.  After being collected, water is treated and distributed through an underground pipeline network, the water supply system.  Apart from river dams, lakes and reservoirs, precipitation and groundwater the water supply system may rely on seawater through desalination hat is the case of many arid areas, such as the Mediterranean islands.

On the other hand, the city returns water (after its use by houses, offices, shops, hotels, etc.) as wastewater. Wastewater is progressively recognized as an alternative (non-conventional) water resource after its treatment and under controlled conditions.

In a city, when rainwater is not absorbed by the soil usually drains into the rainwater drainage system. This is a network of channels and pipelines ending either into a river or the sea. This drainage system needs to be properly designed and maintained so that the city does not flood. The large amount of sealed surfaces (e.g. streets, highways, pavements, buildings, etc.) block the rainwater from being absorbed, reducing and enrichment of the groundwaters.

In this context, there are three systems that are crucial in how the urban water cycle operates: water supply, wastewater and rainwater drainage system.

Stop and wonder

Discuss in class:


  • How should a city’s well-designed and well-maintained rainwater system look like?
  • Who is responsible for the system’s design and  maintenance?
  • What role can the citizens play?

Play & learn

Observe the pictures and choose the system they belong to (supply, sewage or rainwater drainage).


city_rain01


city_wastewater_01


city_watersystem01


city_rain02_Jim.henderson _wiki_CC


city_wastewater03


city_rain03_greywateraction.org


Play & learn

The urban water cycle

Drag and drop the labels that refer to processes of the water cycle as well as to activities related to water management.

 water-in-the-city quiz-hotspot
1
2
3
4
5
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  • 1 1 precipitation
  • 2 2 reservoir of the water supply system
  • 3 3 wastewater treatment plan
  • 4 4 water collection in a dam
  • 5 5 desalination plant
  • 6 6 evaporation
  • 7 7 condensation
  • 8 8 surface run-off
  • 9 9 water for irrigation
  • 10 10 greywater recycling

Water-readings

Water management in a city

In cities, population and water demand is concentrated to a relatively small, dense area. This concentration increases the pressure on the water resources. Water management in a city should assess the supply and demand relation and to reduce the impacts of urbanization to the natural water cycle. The study of water supply and demand relation, the promotion of  water recycling, the handling of leakages, the maintenance of water infrastructures are among the tasks of a Water Services  Company.

So in a city, sound water management means:

  • To ensure enough water of good quality for all.
  • To maintain the water supply network in order to avoid leakages.
  • To monitor the water quality.
  • To monitor the amount of available water for the city.
  • To conserve the quality of the water resources.
  • To properly design green spaces in and around the city (parks, streams, greenbelts, etc.).
  • To maintain the storm/rainwater system so as to avoid flooding.
  • To harvest and use rainwater achieving water saving and reducing the risk of flooding.
  • To use the recovered water and the sludge from the sewage treatment plant.
  • To raise awareness of the citizens in order to save and use water properly.

Play & Learn

According to what you have read so far, which of the following corresponds to a sound water management in a city?

Water shares


Water meter

I liked this activity:

Way forward

Dive in…

Do you know about grey water? if you want to remember what greywater is

Wastewater treatment if you want to remember what black water is

Go back to the homepage!

Acting for Climate

Water works through time

Water in the city

The water basins

Desalination

Greywater recycling in practice

Do you know about grey water?

Wastewater treatment

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

Rainwater harvesting

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Climate change: Why should I care?

Water resources

The water cycle

Where do I begin?

Acting for Climate

What are the main sectors contributing to climate change? What are countries doing to address it? What can we do for climate collectively at school and at community level?

Continue!

Water works through time

Let's discover the story behind the old fountains, cisterns and aqueducts of our town!

Continue!

Water in the city

What is the "urban water cycle"? Which are the important aspects of water management within a city environment?

Continue!

The water basins

In this activity we learn what a water drainage basin is and why it is important for the experts to study it.

Continue!

Desalination

Let's find out how sea and brackish water can become a freshwater resource!

Continue!

Greywater recycling in practice

How a greywater system is installed? Let's find out!

Continue!

Do you know about grey water?

Let's find out what "greywater” is and how we can use it!

Continue!

Wastewater treatment

In this activity we learn about how wastewater is treated and what we can do with the treated water.

Continue!

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

What are the various types of rainwater harvesting systems? Let's find out more about them!

Continue!

Rainwater harvesting

Can we collect rainwater? And how do we use it? Let's find out!

Continue!

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

What is our water footprint and how can we reduce it?

Continue!

Climate change: Why should I care?

We discuss the greenhouse effect and the greenhouse gases, how climate change is linked to our lifestyles and ways we can cope with it on a personal level.

Continue!

Water resources

Lt's discover the water resources of our region.

Continue!

The water cycle

Let's travel within the water cycle!

Continue!

Where do I begin?

Let's see why it is important to know about water in our region.

Continue!