The main input to the system is precipitation. The type of precipitation (rain or snow, etc), the intensity, the duration and frequency all have an effect on the amount of water in the system. Each subsystem of the drainage basin system will also have inputs and ouputs, and the output from one stage of the diagram will form the input for another.
Water is stored in a drainage basin on the surface in lakes and channels or underground in the groundwater store. Water reaches the groundwater store via the processes of infiltration and percolation. During these processes, some water will be stored in the soil and rock. The amount of water stored will vary depending on the porosity of the soil and on the permeability of the rock. Water can also be temporarily stored via interception. This refers to the storage of water on leaf and plant stems. Dense foliage may result in little water reaching the ground, since it often evaporates from the leaves.