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A Precious Resource

Lake Taupō's Web of Life
Threats to Ecology

Water is a limited resource - it can run out. It is needed for all living things and must be looked after.

Freshwater environments

Streams, rivers and lakes are home to different types of plants and animals. Some of these living things need very pure freshwater. Almost all living things on Earth have a body that is half water.

Human use

Humans have many uses for freshwater.

Agriculture (farming)

Nearly 70% of all freshwater in the world is used for irrigation.


About 20% of freshwater is used to make things like metals, wood, paper products, chemicals, petrol and oil. Lots of our water in the ‘industry’ category is used for generation of electricity.

Domestic (at home)

The remaining 10% of freshwater is used in homes – all the things we do at home like drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering the garden all need freshwater.

Wastewater treatment

Wastewater is ‘used’ dirty water from homes, industries, and businesses. It must be cleaned before it goes back into the environment so that it does not harm people, plants and animals.

It costs money to treat water before and after it is used by people. Using less water at home means saving money. We need to think carefully before using water at home so that it does not run out during dry times.

Audio Māori keywords: 

Water use calculator: Give this interactive water-use calculator  a go to find out how you can conserve water around the home to see how much water is used in your household.

Freshwater environments are important for all living things. Image: LEARNZ.

People use water mostly for agriculture. Image: LEARNZ.

Water is even used to make electricity. Image: LEARNZ.

Wastewater needs to be clean before it goes back into the environment. Image: LEARNZ.

Lake Taupō's Web of Life
Threats to Ecology