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Watersheds: Why it's important to keep your local creek unpolluted

The water in that small creek or stream ends up in a bigger waterway

ATLANTA — Have you ever wondered where the excess rainwater goes that isn't absorbed into the ground outside? It will follow the ways of gravity, flowing downward to the nearest creek or stream. 

But where it goes from there is determined through a series of watersheds. A  Watershed is just an area that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and eventually larger bodies of water like rivers, bays and oceans. 

Each one of us lives in a watershed. And that small watershed is part of a bigger watershed, and so on and so forth.

Credit: VectorMine - stock.adobe.com
Drainage basins vector illustration. Labeled educational rain water scheme. Geological precipitation collection structure with spring, tributary, main river channel, divide and confluence examples.

If you have a polluted creek or stream, that dirty water will flow into and pollute the larger watershed its a part of. This is why its so important to keep your local area creeks and streams clear of trash and pollutants like gas or chemicals.

RELATED: What’s causing drinking water from Lake Lanier to smell?

This concept is easily demonstrated with a fun hands-on learning activity you can complete with students of all ages. You'll need a series of different sized clear bowls or containers, water, and food coloring.

Organize the bowls from small to large. The small bowl represents that small creek in your local neighborhood. It flows into a larger creek or stream, then a river, etc. until the water flows out into the oceans.

If you introduce some dirty and polluted water into the first small bowl with some food coloring, what do you think will happen when it's emptied into the larger waterways? 

Those will also turn polluted and dirty.

This is why it's so important to keep your local area creek and streams clean. Protect our Earth's water! 

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