By Uma Campbella:
Most of us in this country are privileged to have lived our lives accessing fresh water simply by turning on a faucet. However, because society as a whole hasn’t been particularly conscious of our natural water sources, we do indeed have a depleting supply. We need to be taking better care of our water supply and sources, particularly for the future. This can begin by teaching our children simple ways to save water.
Let’s back up a step, though. Why should we as adults save water? First, our lives depend upon it. Without being overly dramatic, the truth is that the human body requires fresh water to sustain life. This may be the ultimate reason we need to pay more attention to our water supply. Saving water also leads to savings in money as well as energy. Finally, conserving water protects our ecosystem from further damage, in particular, providing benefit to endangered species and our water supplies, as well as reducing and preventing sinkholes.
The first and foremost important thing we can do to teach our children to save water is simply leading by example. Understand that there are basic things you can do at home to conserve water, from making sure the dishwasher is full before running it to taking quick showers, and learning how to properly water your lawn. If you regularly incorporate some of these simple habits into your daily routine, so will your children. It will then be taught to their children, and so on, and so on.
There are multiple steps that can be taken in the bathroom, as well, to teach kids to save water. As soon as they are old enough, have them shower instead of bathe. And then teach them to shower quickly. Filling a tub uses a lot more water than taking a quick shower, and reducing a shower by 1-2 minutes can save as much as 150 gallons of water per person per month. Turn showering into a game to see who can effectively shower the fastest. Also teach them to turn the water off while they are brushing their teeth and washing their hands. This can save an estimated 4 gallons of water per minute. While you’re at it, have them reuse towels to minimize the number of loads of laundry being washed.
Teaching them to be responsible with pet care also can help save water. For example, when they clean the fish tank or pour fresh water for the dog, have them use the old water for plants and flowers. Teach them to bathe the dog outside, where it can serve to water the grass also. These simple steps are effective tools for teaching them water conservation.
Finally, teach them to play with water responsibly during warm months. The good old days of playing in the sprinkler need to stay in the past. Instead, have them choose water toys that don’t require a constant stream of running water. This type of water play can still cool them off, but it is more environmentally friendly and will help save water.
Although often taken for granted in our society, water is a valuable commodity. It is up to us to take care of our supply, keeping it clean and using it minimally to make it last for future generations. By incorporating some simple steps into our regular routines and directly teaching our children about water conservation, we can make a significant difference, not only for today, but for the future.