Do people who live close to the sea consume more or less water than those who live inland?Featured science projectScience project video

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Complexity level:
8
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 7 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

None

Abstract

This survey was done to ascertain the difference in the water consumption of people who live near the ocean and those who live further away.

Hypothesis

People who live near the oceans will consume less water.

Background

Facts about water

Water is very important for life on earth. All life on earth requires water to survive. Water is used by us in many ways. Besides drinking water, we use it for cleaning, bathing and washing, growing crops, generating power and even putting out fires. Although almost 70% of the earth is covered in water, 98% of this water cannot be consumed by us, primarily because it is salt water. Less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh water that is safe for consumption.

A person may survive for up to a month without any food but he will not be able to survive more than a week without water. This is because over 60% of our body consists of water. Our blood cells consist of 92% water, our muscles and brains consist 75% water, and even our 22% of the weight of our bones comes from fluids within.

The fresh water on our planet is naturally replenished through the rain cycle. Water evaporates from the oceans and condense into cloud formations. These clouds move towards land and precipitate as rainfall. Rain water is either trapped in fresh water lakes or flows back to the oceans through the rivers.

Alas, our consumption of water is higher than the rate at which fresh water is replenished, making it necessary for us to conserve water. Our drinking water is processed in water treatment plants before it is pumped into our homes. Water that is discharged from our homes is also treated in septic tanks and water treatment facilities before being returned to the environment.

Scientific Terms

Rain cycle, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, waste water treatment

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:
- 50 families that live within a 2 km distance from the ocean
- 50 families that live more than 50 km away from the ocean
- a computer to help analyze the data
- a survey form
- permission from your school’s administration, to obtain data from the students

Procedure

1. For this science project, the independent variable is the location of residence of the families – within 2 km from the ocean or over 50km from the ocean. The dependent variable is the average amount of water consumed by each person in the family. This is determined by calculating the data obtained from the students’ families. The constants (control variables) are the income levels of the families, the price of water and the constant supply of water to the homes.

2. To simplify this project, 2 schools are selected. One school is located within 2 km from the ocean while the other school is located over 50 km from the ocean.

3. Permission and assistance is obtained from the administration of the school to distribute the survey forms to 50 students from each school. Table 1 shows the sample  survey form. The completed survey forms are collected a week later.

4. Once the survey forms are obtained, the data is analyzed with the help of a computer. The data obtained from both schools are separated according to the monthly income levels of the family. They are grouped as follows - less that US$1,000, between US$1,000  and  US$3,000, between US$3,000  and  US$5,000, and over US$5,000

5. The amount of water used per month in each household is divided by the number of persons living in the home in that month. This figure is then totaled for the whole year and divided by 12 to obtain the total amount of water consumed per person.

6. The average of the figure obtained in procedure 5 is calculated for each group and the result is recorded in  table 2 given below.

Table 1 – Table used to source water consumption data from the students’ families.



Name
 

School
 


Total family income
 

Distance from sea (tick)


□ < 2km  □  >50km


Month


Water used (m3)


No. of persons in home


Average water consumed, per person


January
     


February
     


March
     


April
     


May
     


June
     


July
     


August
     


September
     


October
     


November
     


December
     


Total
 


Monthly Average (Total / 12)
 

Observation

The data gathered will very likely  suggest that  water consumption  by residents living near the ocean and away from the ocean, is similar. What would probably make a difference to the amount of water consumption, is the income levels of the various families. The higher the income level, the higher the water consumption.

Table 2 – Average water consumption per person

Income level (RM)

Average water used per person in a month (m3)

< 2km from sea

> 50km from sea

Less than 1K

3.7

3.5

Between 1K to 3K

5.3

5.2

Between 3K to 5K

6.4

6.7

Over 5K

8.3

8.1

The graph below represents the results of our project.

water consumption science project

Conclusion

The hypothesis that people who live near the ocean will consume less water, is proven to be false. However, as the income level of the families increased, , the average amount of water consumed also increased.

Water conservation is important for our planet and all creatures and plants living on it. Saving water helps to protect the environment and to reserve it  for animals and fishes. We also save energy and cost by reducing our need for water processing and waste water treatment.

Also consider

The project can be repeated again by comparing the water consumption of families who live beside a river and those who don’t.

Try ascertaining the difference in consumption between urban families and rural families.

References

Why conserve water? - http://www.jea.com/community/education/efficiency/wisely/save.html

Water facts - http://www.waterinfo.org/resources/water-facts

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