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What is the water cycle?

The water cycle is the movement of water around the earth.

As a result of natural processes, water transfers between the land, rivers, creeks, ocean and atmosphere in a continuous cycle.

The amount of water on earth stays fairly constant over time, but it is naturally cleaned and replenished though the water cycle. It takes about 10,000 years for a drop of water to complete the cycle.

As water moves through the cycle it changes state, from liquid in the waterways and oceans, to gas in clouds, and to solid in the form of snow and ice.

The water cycle is an essential ecosystem that supports all life on earth.

 

The natural water cycle

Runoff
Infiltration
Precipitation
Transpiration
Condensation
Evaporation

Move your mouse over the picture to learn more about the natural water cycle.

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This website was delivered in partnership with the State Government of Victoria