Water Conservation and Management

Course CodeBEN302
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Learn to manage water better in the landscape

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to water conservation
    • Importance of water
    • The water cycle rainfall, evaporation, infiltration, effective rainfall
    • Water sources and storage water quality
    • Facts on water uses water use at home, in primary and other industries
    • Why conserve water personal, regional and global significance
  2. Water conservation at home
    • In Australia
    • In the United Kingdom
    • In the United States
    • Measures undertaken to save water in the home in the kitchen, bathroom and in the garden.
    • Water Saving Devices
  3. Water conservation in the workplace
    • General principles
    • Implementing water saving strategies
    • Installing small appliances
    • Large water saving devices
  4. Water management
    • Water quality maintaining water quality, salinity, chemical contaminants
    • Controlling Use and Quality of Water water flow measurement, water quality control, testing water salinity
    • Preserving Water Quality minimising evaporation, water sanitation
    • Water Audits
    • Water Management Plans
  5. Water conservation in Primary Production I
    • Water Saving Measures
    • Water Wise Plants
    • Water Wise Procedures
    • Water Wise Irrigation systems
    • Water Wise Landscaping
    • Equipment, structures and tools to save water
  6. Water conservation in Primary Production II
    • Use of water in primary production
    • Methods of water storage
    • Rainwater collection and storage
    • Bore water
    • Farm dams planning, lined ponds
    • Water Requirements livestock requirements, domestic requirements
    • Water Quality
    • Water Problems on Farms contamination and disposal of water, evaporation, seepage, runoff, overspray, scheduling
    • Using Farm Waste Water
    • Irrigation System Design
    • Maintenance Procedures and Scheduling
    • Surface/Flood Irrigation
    • Sprinkler Irrigation
    • Swales and Keylines
  7. Water conservation in Services industries
    • Use of Water in Services Industry
    • Contamination and Disposal of Water
    • Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
  8. Water conservation and Health
    • Hospitals, nursing homes, laundries, clinical laboratories, dental practices, human and animal research facilities
    • Uses of water in Health Industry control pathogens, general use
    • Water minimisation
    • Water efficiency
  9. Water conservation in other sectors
    • Use of water in manufacturing, construction and heavy industry
    • Water use in the production process
    • Examples of water using activities in food facilities
    • Water holding
    • Benefits of cleaner production
  10. Water treatment, reuse and recycling
    • Water Sanitation filtering and disinfection
    • Water Reuse and Recycling classification and composition of waste water.
    • Recycling Wastewater
    • Wastewater treatment
    • Suitable plants
    • Treating saline water


All around the world water accumulates in different forms. Some water resources are found beneath the earth’s surface, some above the surface of the earth, while some may still be found in the atmosphere (i.e. rain, clouds, snow). Water resources can be reused and diversified into our daily water supply, whether it’s for household use or in agriculture (i.e. irrigation), industrial (i.e. thermoelectric power industries), mining, tourism or other cultural, recreational and environmental activities. However, changes in climate as well modifications in the natural environment and wilderness can greatly affect our water resources. 


Basic Outlook between Surface Water and Groundwater 

Surface water is found and collected in the surface of the earth either as oceans, lakes, rivers, basins, dams, ponds, creeks and other reservoirs. This water fills up mainly by rainfall, storms and stream flow, which can depend strongly on seasonal variations and weather conditions. The main uses of surface water in today’s world include household and public uses, for irrigation purposes and by thermoelectric power plants.

Although the Oceans make up to about 97% of today’s Earth water, only that 3% accounts for glaciers/ice caps, then groundwater, followed by rivers, lakes and streams, and the remaining is found in the atmosphere.

Groundwater, as the name explains it, is found below the earth’s surface, mainly from the infiltration of water through the soil or through porous rocks. Groundwater is immensely important for the environment and it is one of our most valuable resources on the planet. It not only connects with wetlands and other surface water sources, it also supplies water to trees, plants and other vegetation on the earth. 

Although surface water and groundwater occupy physically different areas in the planet, they are directly linked together. Groundwater is the base for surface water - this is also known as ‘baseflow’. Without baseflow some water sources would have to depend merely on rainfall to avoid drying out, instead, baseflow gives off a slow seepage of water into riverbanks allowing rivers to carry a constant waterflow (provided the right conditions are present) and distribute it to other water sources, such as lakes and oceans.

Groundwater is comprised of two zones:

  • Unsaturated zone
  • Saturated zone

The water table is found in the unsaturated zone; directly beneath this is the saturated zone. Aquifers, which are permeable rock through which water can flow, are located in the saturated zone.

Aquifers can store huge amounts of water and, depending on the porosity and permeability of the rocks, water can be delivered to springs and streams or pumped out by wells. If the permeability of the rocks in the saturation zone is high, it means water can run through it a fast enough rate and allow placement of pumping wells, however, if the pumping rate is higher that the water replenished in this zone, there is a good chance that the water supply can dry right up. Overtime, this effect can cause the water table to go lower and lower to an extent that water will not be able to be pumped from that well ever again.


The origin of seawater comes is an ocean or a sea. Seawater, also referred to as saltwater, is composed of approximately 35ppt (parts per thousand) of dissolved salts. About 97% of the Earth’s water is saltwater. Saltwater is composed of a large concentration of dissolved ions and other minerals. 

The ‘saltiness’ in seawater comes mainly from rocks on land. The way this works is through the acidity found in rain. Rain contains carbonic acid, which comes from the carbon dioxide found in the air bonded with the particles of water. As acid rain falls and hits the rocks on land, the rocks break down into electrically charged particles – or ‘ions’ – which reach rivers and streams thru runoffs, and sequentially carried away to the ocean. The main ions present in seawater are sodium and chloride, also known as NaCl or sodium chloride, which are the ones responsible for its salty flavour. 

Seawater is not suitable for human consumption as such, however, salt can be removed, but it is not a cheap nor simple process to unfold. 

Fresh Water

Fresh water includes all-natural waters occurring in the earth’s surface, including lakes, rivers, glaciers, ponds, dams and streams, among others. Underground streams and aquifers are also fresh water bodies. Most of the freshwater comes from precipitation, whether it’s in the form of snow, rain, or mist. 

Unlike seawater, fresh water has very little salt concentration (on average, less than 0.5ppt), which is why in some places fresh water is also called ‘sweet water’.

Fresh water is composed of main ions, microelements, dissolved gases and nutrients, as well as organic elements and heavy metals. The chemical composition of these bodies of water may be altered by anthropogenic impacts.

Brackish Water

Brackish water (also known as ‘brine water’) is basically where seawater and fresh water meet, including estuaries (generally where rivers meet the sea) and mangrove swamps (coastal wetlands, mainly found in tropical and subtropical areas). The salinity in brackish water, therefore, can range anywhere between 0.5 and 35 parts per thousand.