There Is No New Water!

— Written By Leah Joyner and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
en Español

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drop of water falling

Water is a valuable resource. We use water every day to brush our teeth, wash our clothes, make our coffee, and so much more! The importance of water is all around us, so when used water from urban areas and rural areas come together, the pollutants it creates can have a significant effect on the environment. When geographical regions that have densely populated urban areas come in contact with less populated rural areas, it’s called an urban/rural interface. At the lowest point, like a valley, when groundwater and surface runoff drain to the lowest point in that region, that is called a watershed.

Here is an activity that you can do to simulate watershed from urban and agricultural lands. All you need is a piece of aluminum foil, a spray bottle with water, and two different colored markers. First, take the aluminum foil of about 12’” x 12” and draw a line down the center. On one side of the aluminum foil, draw pictures depicting an urban setting with one color marker. On the other side of the line, draw pictures depicting an agricultural setting using a different colored marker. Next, crumple up the aluminum foil and gently pull out the four corners a little bit. This will allow some ridges or “peaks and valleys” to form over the surface of the foil. Next, use a spray bottle filled with water and spray about a foot over the aluminum foil 10 times. This simulates a rainstorm and you will see how the colors run together. As you observe what happens, notice how it could simulate watershed when the two lands come together in the valleys in the urban/rural interface. This activity came from There’s No New Water! curriculum and is a great way to convey these concepts to youth and have them think about the ways water pollutants can affect the environment. 

Union County 4-H will be leading an activity like this one at the Family Field Day hosted by Union County Soil and Water Conservation District on Saturday, August 8 at the Union County Agricultural Center. The day will consist of fun activities for families to participate in including a stream walk, environmental science 4-H activity, gardening project, Tree ID Hike, and ecoExplore nature hunt. If you are interested in registering or have questions, contact Educational Specialist Breanna Walker at or (704)-324-9217.