“Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes – one for peace and one for science.” John F. Kennedy


  • Drinking water – transportation, purification
  • Waste water – sewage, waste treatment – settling,
  • Toilet to tap
  • Marine – boats, ships, bridges, waterways, navigation, technology, research

water treatment

  • Desalination
  • Water management
  • Water pumps
  • Water purification

How Water Works – from the American Water Works Association – an interactive tour of ‘How Water Works,’ including source, treatment, distribution, collection, sewage treatment and reuse.

Down the Drain Project – Internet-based collaborative project – share information about water usage with other students from around the country and the world. Based on data collected, determine the average amount of water used by one person in a day. Compare this to the average amount of water used per person per day in other parts of the world.


  • Spidey sense Eight-legged pollution monitors – polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs in the muck along the bottoms of many U.S. rivers, lakes and other waterways.

That’s Engineering – How did they do that? How does it work?
How might we WHAT for WHOM in order to CHANGE something?

Deliver clean safe drinking water to people wherever they live so they have plenty of water for drinking, cooking and washing that won’t make them sick

  • filter local water to remove impurities and germs to make it safe for drinking
    • filtration – screen out tiny particles of dirt, bacteria
  • boil or distill water to kill germs that could cause sickness
    • vaporization, condensation – only the water in gas form can cross into the container of “distilled” water leaving behind any other material
  • bottle clean water and transport it to those in need, recycle the bottles or reuse for other purposes
    • plastic forming – manufacture empty bottles and caps that can be sealed when they have been filled with safe water to keep the water inside clean until it is ready to use.

Engineering ideas

  • flow, pump, treatment, retention, filtration

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • Conserve water – look through the lists of ways that you can conserve water. Pick 2-3 and do them for a week. How did you do? Estimate the amount of water you saved.
  • Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense Kids – Check out EPA’s WaterSense Kids Page to learn why it’s important to save water and tips for how to do it. Then, test your knowledge with the WaterSense pipe maze, but watch out for water-wasting monsters along the way!
  • Drinking Water – For Students (Grades 4-8) For Students (Grades 4-8)
  • Water, water everywhere quiz * For each question fill in the appropriate answer. The answer box will turn green if your response is correct and red if incorrect.

Learn more…