What is the water cycle?

Water is the basis of life and is needed for people, animals and plants to survive. It shapes the earth’s surface and is part of our climate and how it works. Earth receives water as rain, which runs into rivers or filters into the soil. Water may be stored underground, or in dams or lakes before it flows into the sea. Evaporation occurs when water in soils or rivers, lakes and the sea changes to a gas and moves back into the atmosphere as the surface warms-up. This process allows water to collect in clouds and be returned to the earth again as rain, in what is known as the water cycle (Figure below). A water resource is any water supply that can be used by people in their daily lives.