I had the privilege of spending a day recently with children from Medart Elementary School for their annual Project Learning Tree (PLT). During PLT, community representatives make presentations on nature, conservation and sustainability practices. The 2013 theme was Wakulla Life is Nice!
I decided to speak on water conservation since we live in such a wonderful part of Florida with an abundant amount of clean, fresh water. Through an imaginary trip to Wakulla Springs, the children and I noted the clear water and discussed how and why it remains that way. We concluded that we were quite special to have the Springs so close by to enjoy. I reminded them that people visit Wakulla Springs from all over the world to witness the clear, clean water and that water is not that way for many people around the world. I used a poem written by a student who wrote,
“When I look through my water window….
I see lake water for fun.
I see ocean water for surfing.
We’ve got water by the ton!
But when I look a little closer for the part that we can use,
I see we’ve only got a little;
if I waste it – we ALL lose!”
The students were reminded that even if a world map looks like it contains a lot of water or 71% of its surface, 96% is salt water and the other 4% is fresh. When looking at it through this lens, the amount of water on the earth’s surface looks somewhat different. We decided that there was “water, water everywhere, but only a few drops to drink.”
I suggested ways that they might assist to save the 4% of fresh water on the earth’s surface. The United State Environmental Protection Agency offered some great facts to allow the children to get a better grip on how people use or misuse water. For example, did you know that:
- A household can save up to 20,000 gallons of water each year by fixing leaky faucets. A leaky faucet puts 3-5 gallons of water down the drain every minute.
- More than five gallons of water is wasted if the tap water is running while brushing teeth. Only ½ gallon of water is used if the toothbrush is just wetted and rinsed. This results in a 4 ½ gallons savings each time teeth are brushed.
- Washing dishes with the tap running can use an average of 30 gallons of water.
- Washing a car at home, using a hose, uses up to 150 gallons of water. Washing a car at a self-service car wash uses 5-10 gallons. Using a sponge and a bucket, uses 1.5 gallons.
- Taking a bath uses between 30-50 gallons of water. A 4 minute shower takes 20 gallons. If your shower is longer, it could use more water than a bath so the secret is with either a bath or shower, to get in, wash and turn the water off. A low-flow showerhead will also assist in the saving of water.
I then asked the children to sign a pledge. It read: “PLEDGE TO SAVE WATER. I know that our Earth’s water supply is limited. I will do my part. I will turn off the water while brushing my teeth and I will shorten my shower to 4 minutes.” 99% of the Medart Elementary students who participated signed the pledge. I was proud of them and the decision that they made.
Are you willing to conserve water to keep the world from losing the fresh water available??