“Panchi… Your bucket is full! Turn off this tap.. You are wasting water,” Amma shouted at Panchi who was out watering the plants in her garden using her toy bucket, but had started playing with her puppy.
Oops… I’ve forgotten Amma…” Panchi came back running with her puppy.
“We have water.. But do you know how many children around the world suffer from not having clean drinking water..?” Amma asked in an annoyed tone. “Hmm.. don’t they have taps like we have Amma?” Panchi honestly thought there were taps everywhere, like they had in their garden.
Panchi’s puppy suddenly started barking at somebody at the gate. It was the officer who comes to check their water meter and Amma opened the gate. After checking the water meter, he gave the bill. “Why do we have to pay for water Amma..?” Panchi asked.
“Well.. The water board cleans and purifies all this water and they also have to pump water to our houses, so it is costly. And many rural areas do not get tap water like we do and depend on other ways to get water from lakes, wells or tube wells.”
“About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but there is very little percentage of drinking water,” Amma explained. “Amma.. What is a water cycle..?” getting up after a nap, Puncha was coming out to the garden, drinking a glass of water.
“Well.. The earth has a limited amount of water. That water keeps going around and around. It is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again,” Amma explained.
But Panchi was puzzled.
“It is a combination of Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation and Collection. When the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turns into vapour or steam, it is called Evaporation. The water vapour leaves the river, lake or ocean and rises into the air. This also includes Transpiration where water absorbed by plants from the soil moves from the roots through the stems to the leaves and then evaporates from the leaves.”
“The next step is the Condensation, where water vapour in the air gets cold and changes back into
liquid, forming clouds.” Amma noticed that Puncha was drinking a glass of water poured from the
container in the refrigerator. “Look Puncha… Have you noticed that water collects around your glass that
contains cold water..? That water didn’t leak from the glass, but actually came from the air. Water vapour in the warm air, turns back into liquid when it touches the cold glass.”
It was a new fact for both children. “Water vapour in the air gets condensed in clouds and when so much water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore, the clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain or snow. This is called Precipitation.”
“When water falls back to earth as precipitation., it may Collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land. When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth or become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and flow into the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts again.
The water in your glass may have fallen from the sky as rain just last week, but this water itself has been around pretty much in the earth circulating in this cycle even during the dinosaurs’ time”. Both Puncha and Panchi learnt a lot about water and they wanted to share this information with their friends for World Water Day which will be on March 22 – next Tuesday. Perhaps you too can share these facts with your friends and make a promise not to waste water on this year’s World Water Day…!”
Published on FundayTimes (kids section of SundayTimes) on 20.03.2011 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110320/FunDay/fut_05.html