This website serves as an electronic archive of the University of Michigan’s Winter 2011 LSA Theme Semester on Water. The Water Semester featured more than 75 courses and over 100 events, including a distinguished speaker series, films, concerts, a water literacy campaign, exhibits, and a variety of student-organized activities. More than 60 campus units and 12 community partners participated in funding and planning Water events. Total event attendance, including UM students, faculty, staff, and members of the Ann Arbor community, exceeded 15,000. For more information about the Water Semester, click on the tabs above.
For more information about LSA Theme Semesters, visit

Our uncommercial for Tap Water, stars Olympic Medalists and national champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and features music by Passion Pit.

Your life depends on water

Up to 60% of your body is water! Depending on your size and activity level, you should ingest about 2.4 liters of water per day through liquids and food.

You drink the Huron River

Approximately 85% of Ann Arbor’s municipal drinking water comes from the Huron River. Wells provide the other 15%.

When it comes to water, what goes around comes around

There is no “away” when it comes to water. What you pour down the drain, spread on your lawn, or flush down the toilet will sooner or later end up back in the Huron River or in our ground water.

Freshwater is the ultimate limited resource

Most water on Earth is not available for human use: only 3% of Earth’s water is fresh and less than 1% of that freshwater is available for human use.

There is a global water crisis

What’s the crisis? Rapid human population growth and changes in global distribution of water are stressing many of Earth’s water systems. Consequently, availability of clean freshwater is dwindling in many parts of the world.

The U.N. states that clean water is a basic human right

Recognizing that about half the world’s population lacks access to clean water and/or sanitation, the U.N. passed a resolution on July 28, 2010 stating that clean water is a basic human right.

Tap water meets your drinking needs

Municipal tap water undergoes much more rigorous and frequent testing than bottled water. It tastes great too!

Some water is hidden: You consume more than you drink!

You never actually see the vast majority of the water you use. This “virtual water” is consumed in the manufacture and distribution of most products. Everyday items and energy use consume an enormous amount of water.

Disposable water bottles waste water and energy

It takes 5 liters of water to make about 1 liter of bottled water. It also requires about a quarter of a water bottle of oil to produce, transport, and dispose of a single bottle of water.

All life depends on oceans, lakes, rivers, and wetlands…working together

Healthy oceans, lakes, rivers, wetlands – components of the water world – are essential for all living organisms.

Know where your water comes from . . . and where it goes

Understand and minimize your water footprint

Drink tap water

Don’t leave home without your reusable water bottle

Reduce, reuse, and recycle – this saves water!

Eat lower on the food chain – eat more plant products

Save energy — this also saves water

Don’t pollute

Encourage others to take action to conserve water

Take action, get involved! You can help protect our water resources!