Questions for ‘A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources’


Freshwater makes up just a tiny percent of the water on Earth. Yet we depend on it for everything from growing food to manufacturing to everyday uses at home. The averge American uses 340 liters (90 gallons) per day.

Valery Bocman/iStockphoto

To accompany feature “A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources” 


Before Reading: 

1.  List all the ways that you use water during the day. How much water do you think you use daily?

2.  The water you use daily probably comes out of a faucet. But how does it get there? What is its source? And could that source be affected by a drought?

During Reading:

1.  What was “Day Zero” in Cape Town, South Africa?

2.  What is the water cycle?

3.  How did the GRACE satellites measure Earth’s water?

4.  How did climate change influence dry times in Cape Town?

5.  What are three ways that Cape Town could prepare its water supply for future droughts?

6.  Why does it matter that climate change is shrinking snowpack in California and other places?

7.  How does changing the timing of precipitation affect water availability?

8.  How much of Earth’s freshwater is trapped underground?

9.  Why does it take a really long time for groundwater resources to be recharged?

10.  What are “sponge cities”? How can they help people to deal with climate change?

After Reading: 

1.  Samantha Reinders and other Cape Town residents made do with 50 liters (13 gallons) of water a day during the city’s drought. That’s just a fraction of what most Americans use daily. Brainstorm five ways that you could cut your water use. Which way would cut the most water use? Which way the least?

2.  Should you limit your water use when there is not a drought? Explain your answer using evidence from the story.