Recently, there has been quite a buzz in the news about how California is running out of water. A drought emergency was actually declared at the beginning of last year, and ever since then there has been a big push for Californians to reduce their water consumption. However, Californians are not the only ones who should care about conserving water. Read on to find out why water should be conserved, and how you can go about teaching kids water conservation.
What happens if we don’t have water?
Although here in Canada we might not be going through a drought, what’s happening in California still affects us. It just so happens that in Canada we get the majority of many fruits and vegetables from California. With the state going through a drought, that means less crops, which means less fresh produce for us, not to mention an increase in prices.
Why we should be teaching kids water conservation
Even in places like Vancouver, where it rains a lot, it is very important to conserve water. According to National Geographic, fresh water sources in residential areas and agricultural lands are often polluted. Many major rivers in the world have become so overtapped that they hardly discharge any water into the sea. This disrupts the natural water cycle.
And it’s not that easy to use the ocean to solve the drought. Do kids know the difference between freshwater and seawater?
Water is so basic, that we often don’t think of all the things we couldn’t do without it, besides drinking it. Could we wash our clothes? Would we have macaroni and cheese?
In Ethiopia, health care providers are having a hard time helping people with solvable diseases because it is so hard to access water. John Green (a popular teen novel writer and YouTube star), went to Ethiopia and heard many people cite “water” as their primary need. He explained his experience in this video. The interesting thing to note when watching it is that kids can relate to what he shows in that video; a child dying from too much diarrhea is a real thing kids can ‘feel’ and understand.
So when kids get excited about trends such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, they often don’t think of the ripple effect dumping water all over the place can have. If they won’t listen to you, get them to watch celebrity Matt Damon dump toilet water on his head, and explain that it was probably cleaner than what many people have access to in other countries.
To avoid having these same water-shortage problems in our well-to-do cities, it is important to teach kids water conservation so that they grow up with good water-usage habits.
How to go about teaching kids water conservation
- Start simple, by making sure they know to turn the water off while they brush their teeth or wash dishes.
- Encourage your kids to take shorter showers, or try to limit the number of times a day they flush the toilet
- Check out wateruseitwisely.com for tips to tell your kids, or even go through it with them. Some of their tips include washing pets outdoors in an area of lawn that needs water, or running the dishwasher only when it is full.
- Have your kids play some fun games relating to water conservation, and talk to them about what they got out of it. Again, wateruseitwisely.com has a great page with a list of water conservation games.
- Buy local fruits and vegetables, if possible. Explain to kids about the California situation, and how the lack of crops affects us here. Bring your kids to a farmer’s market and teach them about the importance of buying local vegetables and how it’s better for the environment. Or, start a vegetable garden in your back yard!
- Limit or even avoid toys that require a lot of water, especially those that use a constant water flow. As fun as they might be, these are quite contrary to the message of water conservation.
While we might not be in a drought here, we can all still make our best effort to reduce our water footprint. Have some fun teaching your kids water conservation tips to help them build up healthy water saving habits.