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  • Most urban drinking water is cleaned and treated in an ordered series of steps.

    Steps in getting water ready to drink

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    Step 1 Collection and screening

      Step 2 Sedimentation

        Step 3 Sand filtration

          Step 4 Carbon filtration

            Step 5 Disinfection UV

              Step 6 Storage and usage

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                Rights: Smart Water and The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Published 11 May 2022 Referencing Hub media

                Drinking water in urban areas is collected from a surface water source (river, lake or spring) or groundwater source (aquifer). The water goes through several processes to clean, treat and store it so it’s safe to drink when it comes out of the tap.

                This interactive uses Hamilton City Council’s drinking water treatment plant as an example of the treatment process. Most urban locations will use similar steps to treat and store their drinking water. There are additional steps not pictured, such as backflow prevention, which stops any water flowing backwards in the treatment process. The water is carefully monitored before it is piped to homes and other locations.

                Use your mouse or finger to drag and drop a text box onto the image that represents six of the steps in the drinking water treatment process. The steps are shown in the order that occurs during treatment.

                If you want to redo an answer, click on the text box and the answer will go back to the bottom so you can move it to another image. Note: If the text box has not changed to blue, check it is fully within the image area. If you want to check your answers, use the Reset Incorrect button. This will reset incorrect answers only. When you are happy with your selection, use the Check Answers button to check them. Use Reset All to practise again from the start.

                For optimal viewing of this interactive, view at your screen’s default zoom setting (100%) and with your browser window view maximised.

                Use the Download Exercise button for a PDF version of this interactive.

                See the activity Getting water ready to drink for additional support in using this interactive.


                This resource has been produced with the support of Smart Water.

                Rights: Smart Water

                Smart Water

                Smart Water is a partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council. Aiming to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water from source to tap, it supports schools, organisations and the community to use water sustainably.

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