Free course

Water use and the water cycle

Free statement of participation on completion

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 an introduction to the subject.

Course learning outcomes

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.

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content