What is the water cycle?

The water cycle

Water on Earth is constantly moving. It is recycled over and over again. This recycling process is called the water cycle.

1. Water evaporates into the air

The sun heats up water on land, in rivers, lakes and seas and turns it into water vapour. The water vapour rises into the air.

2. Water vapour condenses into clouds

Water vapour in the air cools down and changes back into tiny drops of liquid water, forming clouds.

3. Water falls as precipitation

The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the ground in the form of rain or snow.

4. Water returns to the sea

Rain water runs over the land and collects in lakes or rivers, which take it back to the sea. The cycle starts all over again.

Triangle character floating on cloud
The water cycle is the journey water takes as it moves from the land to the sky and back again. It follows a cycle of evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection.