According to the Environmental Protection Agency, less than 1 percent of the Earth's water is usable for humans. With such a small amount of water available to us, water conservation becomes a concern at home, work and in schools. Small steps toward water conservation make a big impact. Integrating the conservation efforts with an educational program for the students makes the campaign more effective.
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The school restrooms present an opportunity to dramatically reduce the amount of water consumed. Installing sensor-operated sinks work well for kids because the faucets shut off automatically. This eliminates the risk of a child turning on the faucet and leaving it running after she leaves the restroom. Check the faucets regularly to look for leaks. Fix any leaking faucets immediately to conserve water. Water-efficient toilets decrease the amount of water used each time someone uses the restroom.
Launch a water conservation awareness campaign within the school. Encourage the teachers to discuss the benefits of conserving water and ways the students can get involved in using less water. A water conservation poster contest allows all of the kids to take part in spreading the news. Choose the best designs and have them turned into permanent signs to hang in the restrooms. The signs serve as a reminder for students to conserve water. Assigning students the role of water monitors during busy restroom times also puts the responsibility in the hands of the students.
Many cleaning duties require water. Using running water to clean ends up increasing the consumption over using a container of water. Fill a bowl or bucket with water and cleaner when cleaning surfaces in the classroom or lunchroom. Use buckets of water for kids to rinse out paint brushes in art class. Use a mop and bucket to clean floors rather than hosing down areas. When cleaning exterior sidewalks and walkways, a broom works well to remove debris. Choose this method instead of using a hose to spray off the walkways.
Water-efficient landscaping helps a school conserve water outdoors. Choose plants that are native to the area to reduce the need for irrigation. Most native plants can survive on the natural rainfall in the area since they are accustomed to the climate. Surround plants with mulch to help them retain moisture. This reduces the amount of watering necessary to keep the ground moist. Ground cover such as rubber under the playground equipment reduces the need for irrigation. It also provides a safer option under the equipment in case a child falls.