Mon 13: Water

A ‘weather bomb’ threatens the nation, but not to fear, a bit of foul weather creates an opportunity to create…

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story. If young readers find it tricky; just look at the pictures and read the captions to figure it out.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the top picture, does the water look like you expect water to look, or a bit different? What colours can you see?
  • The Southern Alps interrupt rain clouds drifting eastward from the Tasman, so Fiordland and the West Coast get lots of rain but Canterbury gets very little. Did you know that some parts of New Zealand get more rain than others? Do you have to be careful with water use where you live?
  • A drop of water coming out of a Canterbury tap might have taken 100 years to get there—being squeezed through ancient rocks one drop at a time. Did you know that water comes from the ground? How else do you think we get drinking water in New Zealand?
  • There are plans to make farms bigger and stock them with more animals, but this will use a lot more water. Some people think this will damage rivers. How might rivers change, if a lot more water were taken from them? Do you think it is important to leave nature alone or does it make sense to use it as a resource?
  • Did you know that people used to be able to drink out of most New Zealand streams and rivers? What would it feel like to drink from a river? What are some things that make rivers clean for swimming and drinking?

Task—Make a rain gauge

Much of New Zealand was forecast to get some rain today, so have a go at learning to measure rain at your place—if you’re lucky enough to get any!

  1. Take a large plastic bottle. A bottle without a handle is easiest to use but just use whatever you have.
  2. Take off the lid. Cut the top quarter or so off the bottle.
  3. Insert the cut-off top into the bottle. This creates a funnel which will stop your collected rainwater from evaporating.
  4. Hold a ruler against the bottle, with 0 at the base.
  5. Get a permanent marker and mark on each centimetre up to 15 cm (or higher if you live on the West Coast!)
  6. Place your rain gauge outside in the open, away from trees and buildings.
  7. Secure it in place by burying it slightly in the garden or in a pot.
  8. Wait for the rain! Make sure you empty it out every day so you can measure from 0 each time you check.

Send us a picture of your rain gauge and tell us how much it rained where you are!

Just ideas

Maths-challenge: For each centimetre of rain that falls, every square metre of your roof catches about 10L of rain. If you have water tanks, you can collect this rain and use it to water the garden. An average-sized house in New Zealand has a roof of about 150 square metres, so 1cm of rain could yield up to 1500L of water. (1cm rainfall x 150 square metres of roof = 10Lx150= 1500.)

See if you can find out how many square metres your roof is, and work out how much water you could be collecting in tanks.


There are droughts in much of the country. How are you saving, or collecting water? Send us a photo showing us how you’re being kaitiaki of water at your place and we’ll share your good idea with others.