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Water use and the water cycle

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Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. Water use and the water cycle is a free course designed to give the student an introduction to the subject.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the different ways in which water is used, and the quantities used for various purposes
  • distinguish consumptive and non-consumptive uses of water
  • recognise uses of water that are elastic in demand and those uses that are inelastic in demand
  • describe and quantify the processes that transfer water between parts of the hydrological cycle, calculate residence times for water in different parts of the hydrosphere, and identify those parts of the cycle that are most suitable for water resources
  • recognise the factors that control precipitation, interception, evaporation, transpiration and how these vary globally.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 10 hours
  • Updated Tuesday 22nd March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Environmental Science
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Water use and the water cycle

Introduction

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Most of us are probably more familiar with the Earth's physical resources than we realise. They are basically those non-biological parts of our natural world that we can put to good use. In this course we will help you to appreciate aspects of one particular physical resource - water use and the water cycle.

Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future.

In the UK there are areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately.

Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a world where there is climate change.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in Environment & Development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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