K-12 Resources – Water


Water is essential for humans - and all living things - to function and thrive. Metro Vancouver is responsible for supplying over 2.7 million residents with their clean drinking water every day.

With three natural watersheds and some of the world’s most innovative water treatment facilities, Metro Vancouver is a world leader in sustainable water systems. However, even with our modern technology, the single most important way to ensure our water remains clean and abundant is through education.

Where Does My Drinking Water Come From?

This knowledge builder provides a brief overview and introduction to Metro Vancouver’s Drinking Water Supply System, including our drinking water sources, our water treatment, water testing and water conservation.

Download Water System Overview

K-12 Curriculum Connections – Water

Water is a key conceptual focus throughout the big ideas and core content of our provincial K-12 curriculum, from simpler explorations at the Elementary level to more complex inquiries during the Secondary years. Through teacher-developed K-12 resources and learning opportunities, Metro Vancouver supports teachers and students to deeply engage in curriculum-connected, place-based inquiry and learning about water in our region.

Download K-12 Curriculum Map – Water


These flexible activities aim to spark curiosity, develop competencies and promote inquiry.

How Do We Use Water in Metro Vancouver?

Metro Vancouver provides clean, safe drinking water through its member municipalities for 2.7 million residents in the Lower Mainland. Metro Vancouver residents use a lot of water every day. This inquiry spark activity aims to generate curiosity about how we use water and how we can use it more water wisely.

Download Inquiry Spark 1
Do this activity online!

Where Does My Water Come From?

Metro Vancouver uses a system of supply watersheds and reservoirs, dams, treatment facilities, pump stations and water mains to connect to municipal systems throughout the region, which deliver water to your tap. Follow the flow of water from the watershed to your home and your school. What parts of the system did your water travel through? What other questions do you have about our water supply system?

Download Inquiry Spark 2


    These brief activity ideas can be adapted into more fulsome activities to guide learner inquiry.

    Water Cycle Collage

    Core Question: What does the water cycle look like?

    Overview: Gather a variety of magazines and cut out pictures that help explain the water cycle. Combine your selected magazine pictures and add drawings to make a water cycle collage. How does your collage represent the water cycle?

    Condensation Fascination

    Core Question: How does water move between liquid and gaseous states?

    Overview: Place an empty cup in the middle of a bowl. Pour water into the bowl until it surrounds the cup, but not so much that the cup floats. Cover and seal the bowl loosely with clear plastic wrap, using tape if necessary. Place a small rock on the plastic wrap directly above the cup. Set the bowl in the sun. Wait and observe. What happened? What does this tell you about water and its ability to change state?

    A Drop in the Bucket

    Core Question: How much fresh water is actually available for human consumption on Earth?

    Overview: Start with a liter (1000ml) of water in a 1000ml beaker or other glass container - this represents all the water on Earth. Pour 30 ml of the water into a 100ml graduated cylinder (or other glass container) - this amount (3% of all water) represents Earth’s fresh water. Pour salt into the remaining 97% left in the 1000ml container to simulate the world’s oceans (that are unfit to drink). Pour 6 ml of fresh water into a small dish to represent non-frozen fresh water (leaving 24ml representing the frozen fresh water of polar regions in the 100ml container). Use an eye dropper to remove a single drop from this small dish - this is the amount of fresh water that is actually available and fit for human consumption. Release this small drop into a bucket, listening carefully for the sound it makes. Discuss the results of the demonstration. Why is it important to carefully manage this precious drop of water?

    That was Then, This is Now

    Core Question: How have water supply practices and systems changed over time?

    Overview: Choose a period in history that interests you and imagine that you are living in that time. Conduct research on the following questions: How was drinking water supplied then? How was it treated? How did the people bathe, clean their clothes or wash dishes? How did they get hot water? Where did their wastewater go? Make a chart headed "Then" and "Now" and record similarities and differences in water supply systems from the past to modern day. Compare the ideas you collected with others. What questions do you have now?

    Everything is Made with Water

    Core Question: How much water does it take to produce commonly used products?

    Overview: There is almost nothing that can be manufactured without the use of water. Here are some examples of how much water is used to produce goods:

    Goods Litres of water used
    One can of fruit or vegetables35
    One glass of a cola soft drink38
    One ear of corn99
    A hamburger, fries and soft drink5,320
    One car148,000

    Choose an item and research the resources and processes needed to produce it. List all the times water would be used to obtain and process the raw materials, and then manufacture and deliver the items. How could you be more thoughtful about the water and products you use?

    Making Every Drop Count

    Core Question: How much water does it take to produce commonly used products?

    Overview: Keep track of the water you use over a one-week period using a chart (or a journal) to record your water use and the estimated number of litres used. At the end of the week, consider: Do you think they used water wisely? Did you ever waste water? Research water conservation strategies and make a list of actions you can do to conserve water at home and at school. How could you be more water wise?



Where can you go to learn more about water in Metro Vancouver?



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We Love Water - Favourite Glasshttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/_t/FavoriteGlassShare_jpg.jpghttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=4&RootFolder=/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGalleryWe Love Water - Favourite Glass
Running Tap Waterhttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/_t/runningwater_jpg.jpghttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=5&RootFolder=/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGalleryRunning Tap Water
Storage lake with water intake towerhttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/_t/StorageLakeWaterIntake_jpg.jpghttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=2&RootFolder=/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGalleryStorage lake with water intake tower
Student Circle with parachutehttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/_t/Student-parachute_jpg.jpghttp://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGallery/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=1&RootFolder=/events/school-programs/K-12-resources/water/WaterResourcesPhotoGalleryStudent Circle with parachute