Scientists tell us that only 1 percent of the earth's water is usable. As populations continue to increase, it is crucial to learn methods to conserve this precious resource. Making small changes at home can add up over the long run. Informing the adult public is necessary to encourage the implementation of new habits, but children should be equal participants in learning the many ways to save water.
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Take A Tour
Before expecting your child to start saving water, take the time to explain that water is a limited natural resource that needs to be conserved. Show your child around the house and give her examples of careful water use and water waste. Make a comparison of shower versus bath water use by collecting the water for each and measuring the water levels. Project this difference over a week or even a year. Use examples that are relevant to your child, such as 'this amount of water over a year will fill a swimming pool.' Give your child the knowledge that she, as small as she may be, has the power to make a real difference.
Turn It Off
Running water can turn into gallons of waste in a matter of minutes. Show your child how much water is wasted by turning on a faucet and letting it run into a bucket or a plastic gallon milk jug for a short period of time. Then show your child how that water can be used to water plants, clean windows or wash the car. When your child sees the largess that can occur in the blink of an eye, she develops a greater sense of the immediacy of turning off the faucet. Teach your child to turn off water when she is brushing her teeth and to turn it on when water is needed for rinsing. Similarly, have your child soap her hands with the water off, using it only to rinse.
Water collection methods vary from small and simple to large and complex. Simply placing a bucket in the shower with your child or outdoors during the rain collects sufficient water for house plants or window cleaning. A larger system, such as a rain barrel, collects water that runs from the roof into the rain gutters. Contemporary rain barrels are decorative and usually equipped with a hose attachment.
The Great Outdoors
Your child can help decrease water needs outside your home and get her hands dirty in the bargain. Incorporating drought-tolerant plantings in your yard or garden is fun for your child. Most nurseries have a wide variety of drought-tolerant plants. Have your child select plants that she finds appealing. Let her help with the planting and care. Teach her that incorporating compost, adding mulch and keeping weeds to a minimum boosts soil and retains water.
Tell A Friend
Kids love to talk. Encourage your child to pass on water conservation ideas to her friends and other adults. You child may be small, but her influence may be immeasurable.