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 the first 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 conservation lessons.

Explore this water conservation home challenge for instructions for installing low-flow shower heads, tips for finding and fixing often silent water leaks in your home, and a water consumption calculator to help you evaluate your household’s water usage and align it with your family’s needs.


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.

This rain barrel diverter and parts kit includes everything you need to convert a large container 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.

Our water supply is polluted, contaminated, and exhausted a multitude of ways, many of which are preventable. This guide to protecting water resources discusses ways in which individuals, communities, and businesses can protect the groundwater and other water sources.

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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