Word problems tend to give people some difficulty. Especially in problems where there is a lot of information that is not needed to solve the actual problem. However, most of the problems we deal with involve words.
How much money did I pay in taxes last year?
How many pounds of chemical do I need to add to this water supply?
How many gallons of water were sold last month?
What is the flow rate of water through that pipeline?
What is the area of the filter bed?
Yes, the questions posed above do not have any information to be able to solve for the answer, but these are some very common questions water operators are asked to solve. In word problems, there is always an underlying question that must be answered. Narrowing down the problem to the question you are trying to solve is an important step. Another important step is being able to pull out the information (numbers) in the question to help you solve for the answer.
In word problems with percentages, there are a couple of things you should take note of. The word “is” should be treated as an equal (=) sign and the word “of” as a multiplication (\(\times \)) sign. You must also remember to convert the percent to a decimal prior to solving.