003 - Water, land and food

Geographic knowledge and understanding

An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of:

• water, including embedded water in food and manufactured goods

• land/food, including changing diets in middle-income countries




Key Concepts

The location (place)  of resources helps to create powerful nations who can exert influence over others. Technology creates possibilities for resource extraction, transfer and use. The demands of the middle classes changes the process of food production. With the unstoppable process of global development and rise of the middle classes, is there the possibility of a serious resource crisis?



Key Terminology

  • Trend

  • Pattern

  • Water footprint

  • Blue, green and grey water (will come up in the youtube clip in activity one)

  • Virtual water (will come up in the youtube clip in activity one)

  • Embedded water

  • Aquifer

  • Middle-income country


Define the key terms above by using your new Geography textbook 'Geography Global Change' by Simon Oakes pages 84 - 87.

Useful Links




Activity One - Where is water?

  • Watch the youtube clip below from UNESCO and make notes on where our water is and how much water we use. A few of the key terms above are mentioned and explained in the clip, it would be good idea to define them.

Where is Water? Virtual Water


  • In the first lesson we discussed what a nexus is. Water and our water footprint is one element of the nexus and is an approach to looking at demand for resources that we will keep returning to. Watch the youtube clip below and write down why investigating the global footprint is an important issue to focus on.

The Water Footprint of the Modern Consumer Society




Activity Two - Describe - Water

As you are becoming used to in Geography it is important to be able to read different types of maps and graphs which show the patterns and trends of a specific knowledge point. This particular syllabus point demands that we focus on the pattern of water consumption and the trend of how this has changed over time. But it is not as simple as it first seems as we use water not just for our own domestic use.
  1. List or mind map the different uses we have for water. You could link it to the production of a good such as a T-shirt.
  2. Using image one below describe the global pattern of the availability of water. Remember to use data and specific areas when appropriate.
  3. What can impact the availability of water? Is it as simple as the amount of precipitation that falls? Explain your answer.
  4. Describe the global consumption of water using image two.
  5. Explain how the consumption of water is changing. Try and link back to the previous lesson.
  6. Using image three describe the trend for the global availability of water.
  7. Using image four describe the changes in consumption between 1995 and 2025.

Image One - A map to show the global availability of water.
Taken From: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=102
Taken From: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=102

Image Two - An infographic to show the global consumption of water
The Threat of a Global Water Shortage

From Visually.



Image Three -  A graph to show the global availability of water from 1965 to 2014
Taken From: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ER.H2O.INTR.PC?locations=1W

Image Four - A graph to show the annual withdrawal of freshwater from 1995 to 2025
Taken From: http://www.eohandbook.com/eohb05/ceos/part2_5.html
Taken From: http://www.eohandbook.com/eohb05/ceos/part2_5.html




Activity Three - Describe - Food

Food is just as important resource as water for our survival. One way to compare how much people eat is to focus on calories. But how many calories should we be eating each day and does it accurately show health?

  1. Using image five describe the trend in land used for agriculture over time.
  2. Using image six describe the trend in daily calorie intakes to illustrate consumption.
  3. Reading section II.1 Food supply and prosperity in the article in the 'useful resource' box explain the important correlation between food supply and the level of a country's prosperity.
Image Five - Share of land use for agriculture
Taken From: https://ourworldindata.org/yields-and-land-use-in-agriculture/

Image Six - Daily calorie intake over time

 Useful Resource







Activity Four - Impact

While it is interesting to look at the changing availability and use of water and food across the world it is important to explain why these changes are happening. Using the four resources in the 'Useful Resources' box below explain why the demand for food and its availability has changed over time. Think about the changes to peoples diets due to globalisation as well as the developments in technology.

 Useful Resources


'Geography Global Change. Study and Revision Guide' by Simon Oakes page 84






Exam Style Question

Explain two ways in which the changing lifestyle of residents in middle-income countries are impacting the global patterns and trends in the consumption of water or land. [3+3 marks]