Human Use of Resources—Water Use

Summary: How much water do we use? By exploring online water use resources and conducting personal surveys at home and in the classroom, students will gain an understanding of how humans utilize water resources.

Concepts to teach: Water use, resource, conservation

Goals: Students will gain a better understanding of the ways water resources are utilized in residential, industrial, and agricultural settings. They will gain an appreciation for the amount of water used for various activities in the community.

H.3S.1, H.3S.2, H.3S.3

Specific Objectives:

  1. Calculate personal water use at home and school.
  2. Describe how much water is used in three different human activities.
  3. Identify three ways water might be wasted.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • The Oregon Story: Water
    • Lesson 1—Explores the importance of water and how it is used.
    • Lesson 2—Helps students better understand water flow; where it comes from and where it goes.
    • Lesson 3—Focuses on water as limited resource, water rights issues, and a case study of the Klamath Basin conflict.
  • Develop inquiry studies that allow students to discover through research or personal data collection the amounts of water used for various human activities.
  • Trace the path of local drinking water.
    • Contact local planning boards and soil & water conservation districts to obtain information and maps pertaining to municipal water pathways.
    • Take a field trip to a local reservoir and/or water treatment plant.


  • Create a worksheet or classroom document on which students predict how much water is used for various human activities. Revisit the document at the end of the learning period and make adjustments as needed. Students may share their findings with the class through a written or oral report.
  • Compare and contrast water use by residential, agricultural and industrial activities.