Comparing global water use across sectors

What do humans need water for, and how does that vary across the globe and with climate change?


  • Chelsea Martinez


This POGIL Activity on global water resources and use was developed by me during the 2022 Climate Justice Symposium. I was interested in creating a map-heavy POGIL activity for my GOB chemistry students, who are interested in public health and health careers but don't get a lot of exposure to nutrition concepts in our course, at least in the first semester. I have also found students struggle with seeing relevance in percentages and unit conversion sometimes. In this activity I hoped to make maps that are color-coded relevant, meaningful sources of quantitative information. 

Additionally, I was interested as a California native, in student understanding of the uses of water where they live and in other countries; in particular the similarity of water for agricultural use in the American West and the global south was interesting to me, and in recent surveys of public opinion, it has been revealed that the average citizen doesn't quite know what % of water in CA goes to farming, industrial, private ("golf courses") and residential use. I imagined a follow-on activity (the one I started out making at the Symposium) about water use in the home with respect to showers, laundry, dishes, irrigation, etc. 

Level: Undergraduate
Setting: Classroom
Activity Type:  Learning Cycle  
Discipline: Environmental Science
Course: Climate science
Keywords: water, climate change




How to Cite

Martinez, C. (2024). Comparing global water use across sectors: What do humans need water for, and how does that vary across the globe and with climate change?. POGIL Activity Clearinghouse, 4(2). Retrieved from



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