The water cycle describes the continuous movement of water above and below the ground and in the atmosphere. Surface water movements erode the land surface and deposit sediments creating ever changing landforms. Both groundwater and surface water resources support ecosystems, agriculture, industry and settlements across the country.

Teacher Guides and Resources


Groundwater mini unit - Teacher and Educator notes and student activities

Explore important concepts about groundwater using this comprehensive teaching resource. This mini unit includes case studies of Australian groundwater topics, First Nations Australian perspectives about water use and groundwater are also included.


Discovering Geoscience

Poster showing a theoretical geological cross section from the ocean through a mountain range to inland plains including underground water locations.


How do rocks store groundwater? Porosity and permeability experiments

This document describes a series of experiments that enhance student understanding of porosity and permeability as it relates to groundwater. Sediments are used as a substitute for sedimentary rocks and water movement through these different types of sediment is evaluated.


Further information



Information about underground water, groundwater in Australia and the Great Artesian Basin.


DEA Water Observations

Decades of satellite observations have been used to compile observations of surface water and the proportion of the time that any part of Australia is covered with water or not.


Shaping a Nation: A geology of Australia book

Exploring the geology, resources and landscapes of Australia, this comprehensive book reveals how these have helped to shape this nation's society, environment and wealth. Chapter 7 is all about groundwater.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 4

Science > Science Understanding > Earth and Space Science > Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity (ACSSU075)

Year 7

Geography > Geographical Knowledge and Understanding > Water in the World > Classification of environmental resources and the forms that water takes as a resource (ACHGK037) > The quality and variability of Australia’s water resources compared with other continents (ACHGK039) > Economic, cultural , spiritual and aesthetic values of water for people including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and peoples of the Asia region (ACHGK041).

Science > Science Understanding > Earth and Space Science > Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, including water that cycles through the environment, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)

Senior Secondary

Earth and Environmental Science > Unit 1: Introduction to Earth systems > Rocks are composed of characteristic assemblages of mineral crystals or grains that are formed through igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes, as part of the rock cycle (ACSES019)

Earth and Environmental Science > Unit 3: Living on Earth – extracting, using and managing Earth resources > The availability and quality of fresh water can be influenced by human activities (for example, urbanisation, over-extraction, pollution) and natural processes (for example, siltation, drought, algal blooms) at local and regional scales (ACSES080)