Investigate sustainable water cycle management

This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to understand the water cycle, sustainable water usage and the testing of water quality. The ability to understand the link between the services and systems of the water organisation and supply to, and usage by, the consumer is essential to performance.


This unit supports the attainment of skills and knowledge required for new entrants to the industry or those who are preparing to enter the water industry workforce or undertaking assignment and field work related to water research. Successful completion of this unit would be facilitated by partnership with a water industry organisation. There are opportunities to integrate delivery and assessment of this unit with mainstream high school programs (mathematics, science, geography, physics, engineering and English).


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1Identify water cycle and water systems.

1.1 Find out about and explain continuous cycle of evaporation and condensation that controls distribution of earth's water.

1.2 Find out about and explain methods of capturing, storing and distributing water.

1.3 Find out about and explain range of water and waste systems used to deliver services.

1.4 Find out about and explain community's use of water services.

1.5 Use appropriate water industry terms when communicating and reporting.

2Identify sustainable water practices.

2.1 Identify and report ways for households to minimise water usage and increase available supply.

2.2 Find out about and report ways for communities to minimise water usage and increase available supply.

2.3 Find out about and report ways to increase sources of water supply.

3Assess factors affecting water quality.

3.1 Identify bodies responsible for establishing and managing standards for water quality.

3.2 Identify and explain characteristics, requirements and standards for drinking water.

3.3 Identify and explain environmental risks and impacts to water services.

3.4 Find out about and report methods and procedures used by water organisations to maintain water quality.

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required skills:

research and interpret legal, social, community and environmental requirements and impact on water resource management

identify system and infrastructure components of selected water systems

identify agencies involved in water management

identify environmental policies, plans and procedures

use literacy skills for verbal and written communication in collaborating, research and reporting.

Required knowledge:

legal, social, community and environmental requirements which apply to a selected water environment

terminology applicable to water systems, water usage, water conservation and the water industry

control procedures for environmental risks and incidents

principally environmental impact assessment

primary agencies involved in drinking water quality and environmental management

water quality performance indicators

overview of the water supply system

water hazardous agents and preventative strategies

community and agency roles and responsibilities in monitoring water quality

recording methods.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, the range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

The candidate should demonstrate the ability to research and interpret the water cycle, sustainable water usage and the testing of water quality including:

identifying and exploring the meaning of the water cycle and implications for community's use of water services

identifying and exploring systems and customer services offered by water industry organisations

identifying the factors which influence customer expectations and satisfaction

identifying and exploring factors that can contribute to sustainable water practices within communities and households

identifying and exploring strategies that can be employed to increase access to water resources

exploring and communicating factors affecting water quality.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Access to resources including:

library, water enterprise information, information sources for research and investigation

mentors, advisors and teachers able to guide and support research and investigation of water resource management

guided visits to key locations associated with water resource management.

Access must be provided to appropriate learning and assessment support.

Assessment processes and techniques must take into account language, literacy and cultural factors which might have an impact on the candidate's demonstration of competency.

Validity and sufficiency of evidence requires that:

competency will need to be demonstrated over a variety of assignments and activities reflecting the scope and practical requirements of research and practical assignments

assessment can be through assignments, projects, excursions and simulated project-based activity and must include evidence relating to each of the elements in this unit.

In all cases where practical assessment is used it will be combined with targeted questioning to assess underpinning knowledge.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Range of water and waste systems include:

water catchment systems

water storage systems

water treatment systems

water distribution systems

stormwater drainage systems

sewerage systems and sewerage treatment systems

trade waste treatment systems.

Appropriate water industry terms include:

sewage versus sewerage

rising main or pressure main

reservoirs and tanks


pumping stations

water and wastewater


infiltration and inflow

pressure and head



Ways for households to minimise water usage and increase available supply include:

installation of water saving fittings

behavioural change

roof water re-use

grey water recycling.

Ways for communities to minimise water usage and increase available supply include:

use of tiered water access or rationing systems

promotion and use of incentives to drive behavioural change in consumers

planning changes to allow water recycling and re-use

introduction of third pipe systems in new housing estates.

Ways to increase sources include:

introduction of desalination plants

introduction of new treatment plants and re-use strategies

development of new catchment infrastructure.

Environmental risks and impacts may include:

impact of mismanagement of potential pollutants

impact of mismanagement of biological agents and contaminants

impact of variable and changing water resources

community waste disposal

impact on urban and non-urban water catchment areas

impact on rivers, waterways and channels

water and wastewater treatment processes

trade waste treatment and disposal processes

construction and infrastructure

risk factors for catchment water quality

backflow and cross-connections


function of wastewater and stormwater systems.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit of competency contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.