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  • If you live in a town or city, have you ever wondered where your drinking water comes from? Water is collected from a natural source, then has to go through a treatment process. Treating drinking water is a complex and expensive task, requiring many resources.

    In this activity, students learn about water treatment processes for drinking water in Waikato. Explore the steps in the process and the inputs and outputs.

    Steps in getting water ready to drink

    Reset Incorrect Reset All Check Answers Full Screen Print Page Download Exercise

    Step 1 Collection and screening

      Step 2 Sedimentation

        Step 3 Sand filtration

          Step 4 Carbon filtration

            Step 5 Disinfection UV

              Step 6 Storage and usage

                Unused items

                  Steps in getting water ready to drink

                  Most urban drinking water is cleaned and treated in an ordered series of steps.

                  This activity is part of a suite of resources that support Smart Water – a context for learning, which provides students and teachers with opportunities to connect with water and learn more about drinking water in the Waikato region. The science and mātauranga concepts that underpin Smart Water are transferable to other locations in Aotearoa New Zealand.

                  By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

                  • order the steps in the drinking water treatment process
                  • describe the purposes of water treatment.

                  Download the Word file (see link below).

                  Nature of science

                  This activity relates to the Nature of Science ‘Investigating in science’ strand. Students ask questions, find evidence and explore simple models to find out how drinking water is sourced and treated.

                  Related content

                  Smart Water – a context for learning groups Smart Water resources into key science and teaching concepts that underpin water conservation.

                  Rivers and Us – a context for learning has pedagogical information and links to numerous resources that explore water use and water quality.

                  Activity ideas

                  Other activities in Smart Water:

                  • Getting to know water collects students’ prior knowledge and experiences of freshwater as the starting point to form an inquiry plan.
                  • Water in nature explores states of matter in the water cycle.
                  • Te mana o te wai explores the concept of mauri – the health and wellbeing of a waterway.
                  • Water in the Waikato explores the major freshwater features and sources of water for the Waikato region.
                  • Global water perspectives explores water availability and water stress around the world, with comparison and reflection on Aotearoa New Zealand’s situation.
                  • Water use challenge investigates how much water we need for our daily tasks.
                  • Water issues and effects explores water issues in the Waikato region, their effects and alternative possibilities.
                  • Being smart with water uses the knowledge gained from the ongoing inquiry to make a difference in how we use water.

                  Useful links

                  Visit Smart Water for water level alerts, water saving tips and more.

                  Find out about drinking water treatment processes in the Waikato:

                  Visit Hamilton City Council’s website and read A guide to Hamilton’s water supply: River to the tap.

                  Visit Waipā District Council – water treatment and supply.

                  Visit Waitomo District Council – water services.

                  Watch these videos to learn more about water treatment:


                  This resource has been produced with the support of Smart Water.

                  Rights: Smart Water

                  Smart Water

                  Smart Water is a partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council. Aiming to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water from source to tap, it supports schools, organisations and the community to use water sustainably.

                    Published 11 May 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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