It may not be obvious, but the answer is right in front of you. Do you see that pipe on the left side of the picture? The pipe allows water to drain off the roof of the building onto the ground below.
When we draw the water cycle, we often forget to include the rain that gets stuck on rooftops or in parking lots. But a tiny droplet will travel to many unexpected places. Look at the picture below and see if you can find one way that a water drop can travel from the sky to the ground and back again.
- Precipitation falls from the sky and can either get caught up in trees or rooftops or it might make it all the way to the ground.
- From the roof or trees, a drop of water can evaporate or flow down into the drainage pipes and run off into a collection point.
- Trees also are able to perform transpiration, which means that they can release water into the air through their leaves.
- A lawn might have a sprinkler system to keep it green and fresh.
- Any extra water that reaches the ground from precipitation or irrigation can either evaporate, run off into a collection point like a drainage system or body of water, or seep into the ground to restore soil moisture and recharge groundwater levels.
Now it’s your turn to try this at home! Take a picture somewhere in your community and try to find all the places where a water droplet could travel. Bonus activity: on a rainy day, try following a water drop or two, or two hundred! Good luck!