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Water Conservation and Management

Activity Description/Rationale                                                          

These lessons are to more specifically discuss water conservation and management.


NYS/CCL Standards (Content Knowledge, IAD)



Goals: Process Skills (Basic & Integrated) and Attitudes/ (Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions)

Now that students have been discussing water quality, they should understand the importance of water conservation and management. The goals are to get students work on critical thinking on these topics.

Universal Design for Learning/Differentiation

The discussion starts with a review of the water cycle, and leads into a discussion of reading and movies that the students have performed prior to the class.


Movie. Suggested: FLOW or Blue Gold.

Reading assignment – Nile River


Estimated Length of Activity:

3 class periods (2 hrs 15 minutes – 2 hrs 30 minutes)


Some prior discussion of water may be beneficial.

Activity Instructions:

Class 1

(10-20 minutes) Have students review the water cycle. Make sure they know it accurately, and can describe it to others. Discuss the global distribution of water. Discuss water policy legislation and how it impacted our water supplies.

(10-20 minutes) Discuss water conservation. Go through the different ways to increase our water supply, and then have the class discuss which one is the ‘best’. This is a great opportunity for discussion because there is no concrete correct answer. Try to have students interact with each other, rather than just talk to you. It may facilitate discussion to have students work in small groups, then discuss as a class.

(10 -20 minutes) End class by discussing watershed management. Bring up ideas of who are the stewards. They should have a solid basis in water pollution and how that impacts water quality at this point, so management discussions may be pointed towards pollution control.

Class 2

            Have the students watch a documentary on water. Suggested films are in the materials section. If it would reduce the chance of distraction use a worksheet. It’s unlikely that a documentary will fit in the class period, so try to have segements you want to show ready prior to the class. Save 5-10 minutes at the end of the class for discussion while the documentary is still fresh in the students mind.

Class 3

(30-40 minutes) Have students read the nile river water article, and have them discuss it in class.

Some questions/prompts with answers to supplement discussion of article:

  1:: Which ten African nations share access to the Nile River?

              Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda

  2:: What issue, regarding the Nile, was put on the African Summit agenda in February of 2004?

              The Nile Water Agreement of 1929

3:: In what ways did the Nile Water Agreement of 1929 give Egypt an advantage over other African nations?

Other countries could not build structures that would reduce the amount of water flowing into Egypt.  Also, the agreement gave Egypt the right to “inspect and investigate” the entire river.

4:: What pressures intensified the demand for the Nile Basin countries to re-negotiate the 1929 agreement?

              Population, frequent droughts and increasing soil salinity

              5:: Identify and explain the four suggested alternatives for Egypt.

  1. Reduce waste through an improved irrigation system
  2. Begin charging market rates for water
  3. Maintain the status quo
  4. Resort to the use of force

6:: Why would Egypt been considering or threatening the use of force against other African nations? Why was Egypt’s use of force unlikely?

Egypt wanted to maintain the dominant access to the Nile provided by The Nile Water Agreement of 1929. Egypt was unlikely to use force because it did not have the military capability to take on such a large effort and ultimately would not be able to justify the validity of the 1929 agreement.

7:: Ethiopia and Tanzania announced plans to construct dams and pipelines. According to the article, the Egyptian perspective at that time was, “any change in the volume of its water could have devastating effects on Egypt”. Describe the position of the leaders of Ethiopia and Tanzania.

The Ethiopian Minister of Water Resources stated that Ethiopia has the right to implement any project in the Blue Nile Sub-basin at any time. The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Livestock Development questioned the legality of the water agreement and stated that Tanzania is not restricted from using Nile waters.

8:: If you were an Ethiopian Minister of Water how would you have responded to threats from Egypt designed to prevent you from accessing Nile water?

(10-15 minutes) Have students discuss water issues informally. Ask them what they’ve learned about water, and if their perspectives have changed at all. Use these prompts as a starting point, but prepare other prompts relevant to the class to ensure continuous discussion.


Reading the Nile River article, possibly filling out worksheet for documentary.

Assessment and Reflection

Assessment is based primarily on in-class discussion. There are opportunities to create worksheets that may be graded. The goal is to see how many students will participate, and how they can relate what has been discussed to what they’ve already learned about water quality.

Instructor’s Notes:

The lectures that are included have a large amount of text. You may want to go through them and select what you want to focus on, or print the presentation for the students to avoid losing too much time to copying notes.