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Water Works: Teaching Sustainable Living

by Megan Bittner 

Water is one of our most precious resources and conserving and using it wisely is a great responsibility. Simple water conservation and collection techniques can help cut your family’s water usage by half, which helps conserve energy and reduce your carbon footprint as well. Another important part of responsible and sustainable water usage is protecting our water sources from pollution, chemical contamination, and over-usage. This week’s Homeschool Classroom will explore ways for you and your family to conserve, collect, and protect this valuable resource.

 

Conserving Our Water

Whether you experiment with xeriscaping or install a low flow shower head, you can reduce your water usage–and cost–within a month. Check out these 20 ways to conserve water from Care2.

Use It Wisely offers conservation tips, games, videos, interactive lessons, and more, all geared toward a younger audience. Use these tools as inspiration or supplements for your own water conservation lessons.

 

Collecting Our Water

Collecting rainwater for multiple outdoor and non-potable uses can reduce both water and energy costs by eliminating the treatment and supply process for water that you use for gardening, exterior and vehicle washing, and more. Rainbank offers some compelling reasons for collecting and repurposing rainwater.

Check out three ways to collect rainwater from WikiHow.

Building and installing your own rain barrel is not as daunting as it may seem. Some basic mechanical skills and a couple of hours are all you need to repurpose a plastic drum or other container into a gutter-fed rainwater collection system. Treehugger.com has instructions for creating four different types of rain barrels. Making and installing a rain barrel of your own is an excellent family activity, and allows you to model responsible water usage in a tangible way. 

This rain barrel diverter and parts kit includes everything you need to convert a large container or repurposed drum into a household rain barrel–even the round cutting bits necessary to drill holes for the diverter and spigot.

 

Protecting Our Water

This kid-friendly explanation of our water supply and how it works can be an excellent starting place for a conversation about water conservation and protection.

Want to get more involved in water conservation and protection? Source Water Collaborative offers a “How to Collaborate” toolkit with tips for raising awareness, encouraging cooperation between communities and authority figures, and more.

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