Skip Navigation


Print this page




Explore the Water Cycle

Did you know that you drink the same water the dinosaurs drank billions of years ago?

That’s right, it’s all because of the amazing water cycle – the natural circulation of water. It’s Mother Nature’s way of making sure we have water available for us to use all the time!  Join us as we travel through the stages of the Water Cycle. We will explore many Water Words, and explain them just for you!!!

Let’s explore the water cycle together and learn the definition of words used to describe each step.  Come on, follow the flow, it’s fun!

The Water CycleImage: Water Cycle


When water is heated by the sun, tiny molecules of water evaporate from the surface, like the steam that you see rising from a hot bathtub. This process is called evaporation. Evaporation occurs anywhere there is water such as lakes, streams and ponds. Since most water on earth is in the sea, this is where most evaporation occurs. It can also occur from soil and trees.


Clouds will hold rain water as long as they stay warm. If the air around them cools, they start to lose water, and it begins to rain. Rain is the way water returns to the Earth from the clouds. Rain is also known as precipitation.


Rain falls to the Earth and is absorbed into the ground. It seeps into the earth and collects with other water, a level known as the “Water Table” (this is the level of ground water below which the rocks are saturated with water). The water then flows into rivers and streams.

Rain can also be collected in man-made reservoirs. A reservoir is like a very large bowl. The reservoirs benefit from all the nearby hills that can make the level of a reservoir rise by 3 or 4 inches when the rainfall has only been 1 inch. Anne Arundel County draws water mostly from underground aquifers and deep wells. We have 58 wells that supply water to our Treatment Plants.

Water Treatment Plants

Before water is safe to drink, it must be cleaned. Water is purified by many different processes. Anne Arundel County has 12 Water Treatment Plants to protect us from diseases and to supply water for drinking, bathing and fire protection.

Cloud Storage

If you look out of the window into the sky, you can see clouds. Clouds are made up of evaporated water. The clouds will hold the water as long as they can, then it will rain.

Storage Tanks

These tanks ensure water pressure and water volume are sufficient to fight fires even during power failures. They also provide an extra source of drinking water during the day when water use is high.


When the water has been made safe to drink by Anne Arundel County Water Treatment Plants, it is then pumped into our homes and our schools.

Thank you for traveling the water cycle with us. I hope you enjoyed learning about water!


Social Networking Icons (Fb, Twitter, RSS, Pinterest, Email List)

Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000