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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.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Water use
- 2 The water cycle
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Water use and the water cycle
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
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Science courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Science courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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