According to the UN, 7.5 litres of water a day is enough for every person’s basic water needs. However, around 20 litres a day are needed if we also take into account things like hygiene. Where is this fresh water all coming from?

That’s the point of today. March 22, World Water Day.

There has been a World Water Day on this date since 1993 and every year the United Nations chooses a topic to highlight regarding water. This year the UN chose “Water and Sustainable Development”. What does this mean? This year’s theme focuses on how water is linked to our everyday lives and how people today need to consider how water will be supplied in the future. Not every human has access to water today, let alone will have in the future! In school we can ask where our students think all this water comes from. Most will say from a tap. In reality oceans, seas, forests and wetlands are the real sources assisting in the cycle of water. Ecosystems help water to be recycled and looking after them is part of our jobs. Pollution can cause the demise of an area and with it the destruction of an important link in the water cycle.

Seeing that one out of every two people now lives in an urban area, at school we can discuss how water gets to our homes and our schools. Underground pipes and tunnels carry most of it, and some of these pipes and tunnels date back to many decades ago, even centuries ago! The world’s oldest are to be found in India and date back some 5000 years!
Does your city have an aqueduct nearby? If so, what do your students know about it? If not, do they know of any famous aqueducts? Get them to find out for homework.

Activities and facts

Putting bodies of water into order according to size.
For example use these words to categorise:
ocean, pool, sea, drop, lake, pond, puddle, lagoon, loch (Scottish), tarn, strait.
Categorise flowing water:
river, creek, stream, canal, spring, brook, torrent, rivulet, tributary.

Students can prepare projects on ways to save water for the future. Simply turning off the tap when brushing one’s teeth is an easy, practical and good way to start.

How long can a human survive without water? Without water one dies very quickly- normally after just 3 days, though there are people who have survived for longer.

How many people in the world don’t have access to clean water? 783 million. Basically, one person in nine. What is being done to help? Get your students to find out. 

The UN Water website will give you loads of facts and data.