The water cycle

The water cycle

Fern and Water

All of the earth's water already exists, captured in the ground, oceans, lakes, ice, snow and the atmosphere.

Through the natural water cycle, water is used over and over again.

Powered by the sun, the cycle from rainfall to evaporation to rainfall is one of the largest physical processes on Earth. Only 3% of the earth's water is freshwater and this always remains the same as no new water is added to the water cycle.

Water falls as rain, snow or sleet. It collects in ice, rivers, groundwater and the oceans.

The water cycle naturally cleans the water. When water evaporates from lakes or the ocean, it leaves impurities behind.

The same purification happens when plants transpire (breathe) and water evaporates through their leaves.

These natural processes keep the environment healthy.

Humans have altered the water cycle in many ways. More than 60% of the world's rivers have been dammed for human use, changing the natural flow of water through the landscape.

Providing water downstream of dams is important for the health of our environment, and supports native fish, plants and animals that live in and beside creeks and rivers. Water released to maintain a healthy river environment is called an environmental flow.

Water Cycle

The water cycle is one of the largest physical processes on earth, with the earth's water used over and over again.


Friday 25 June
2,484,588 ML
2,581,850 ML
9,070 ML
1,296 ML
4,003 ML
Friday 25 June