Surface Water Quality

​​The Water Cycle & Watersheds

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle is a great place to start teaching kids how rain is connected to stormwater, streams, rivers, lakes and even the water in our homes!

Water Cycle Resources

Three water cycle questions for kids:

  • Where does the rain go when it hits the street outside of our house?
  • How does the path of water in the water cycle change when we have a lot of impervious surface covering the ground? 
    (Impervious surface doesn't allow water to soak into the ground. i.e. roads, sidewalks, rooftops)
  • How is rain connected to the water we drink?​


A watershed is an area of land where all the
rain drains to one body of water.

Rain falls everywhere, so we all live in a watershed! The name of the watershed changes depending on the name of the stream, river, or lake where rain eventually flows. Rain and stormwater runs downhill and comes together in creeks, rivers, lakes, and eventually the ocean.

A watershed can be very large or very small. For example, all the land that drains to a river or lake would be quite large while all the land that drains to a small creek or pond would be relatively smaller.

  • All water flows downhill but that's not always south!
  • Topography determines which way rain, streams and rivers flow.
  • Rain flows into streams, which flows into rivers and lakes, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.