We use 70% of our worldwide water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% for household purposes. Pressure on water resources is partly due to increasing demand for feeding livestock: producing meat requires 8–10 times more water than producing grain does.

Module 4: Water and Family

 “Not only has my son brought back water saving methods into our home, but he has also shared this with his uncles and aunts. Now they also use laundry water to flush toilets!” – Parent, Swarovski Waterschool China 


Day to day activities and survival of every family, regardless of size, composition, nationality, or social and economic status, depends on water. All families everywhere need water for preparing food, bathing, cleaning our homes and clothes, and for activities such as growing vegetables or fishing. Recreation is an important part of children’s development, and clean waterways provide a place for many people to have fun swimming, hiking, or traveling by boat.  Although the need for water is universal, the amount of water that we use – how we receive, store, and dispose of it – is not equal between countries or in different areas of the same country. 

Many people overuse and waste a lot of water without thinking, while others do not have enough to stay clean and healthy. Some people are able to turn on the tap, and water flows to meet their needs. For others, having water at home can mean walking long distances to fetch just enough water to meet the family’s needs for a day or two. When considering the safety of water for drinking, if supplies must be transported by hand, it is important to remember that containers for carrying and storing water need to be kept clean and covered. 

Thematic concepts

Water footprint

The water footprint of a product is the volume of freshwater it takes to produce the product, including the water consumed and polluted during the various steps along the supply chain. 

Blue and green water

"Blue” refers to water that is used for irrigation and in processing. “Green” water is from precipitation (rain or snow).

Virtual Water

Large quantities of the world’s water are used for agriculture and industry. “Virtual” water is water that has been used to produce the food we eat, the things we use, and the clothes we wear.


Is there enough water to go around?
Activity Time: 30 minutes on 2 consecutive days Activity Thematic Areas: Social Studies, Life Skills
Water is everywhere – The hidden mystery of water in our homes
Activity Time: 50 minutes Activity Thematic Areas: Science, Social Studies, Mathematics
How our families use water
Activity Time: 30 minutes Activity Thematic Areas: Civics, Social Studies