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Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
The Watershed Concept

Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses and is delivered to the earth as dew, rain and snow. Condensed water droplets or ice particles in the atmosphere are visible to us as clouds. The movement of water from the atmosphere to the earth is called precipitation.

Many of our problems with water supply are due to the fact that precipitation is not evenly distributed over the earth’s surface: some areas are very wet (Miami, Florida gets 120 cm of precipitation each year) and others are very dry (Reno, Nevada gets 18 cm of precipitation each year). In addition, precipitation is not evenly distributed in time. This leads to wet periods (flooding) and dry periods (droughts).

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