What is the water cycle?
The amount of water on Earth never changes. In fact, every drop we drink has been in use for billions of years. That’s because the water cycle continuously recycles the water we use. This means when you drink a glass of water, it’s quite possible a T-Rex may have already drunk it years before you. Read below to see how the water cycle works, or download our poster.
Heat energy from the sun causes water to evaporate (turn into water vapour) into the atmosphere from sea, lakes and the soil.
Air currents containing water vapour rise over higher ground, taking vapour into cooler regions of the atmosphere. The cooler temperature causes the condensation of water vapour to form clouds.
Air currents cause clouds to move around the Earth and across sea and land. As the clouds cool, precipitation occurs as snow, sleet, hail or rain. This precipitation returns water into the Earth’s oceans, seas, lakes and rivers.
We collect water from streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater sources including aquifers, boreholes and wells. This is stored in small quantities for personal use or in reservoirs ready for distribution and treatment.
Collected water is treated by Severn Trent at our water treatment works. Once treated, the clean water is distributed via pipes to homes, businesses and industry. All our water is tested by the Environment Agency and Drinking Water Inspectorate for quality.
Waste water from homes, businesses and industry is sent back to Severn Trent through sewers and drains. Our job is to clean it at the sewage treatment works. Clean waste from the sewage treatment works is then returned to streams and rivers.