Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body, around 50-75%. Babies and kids often have more water (as a percentage) than adults – being born at about 78%. So water is the most essential to our survival, next to air. In fact, a person can survive for 8 weeks without food but without water, he or she will not be able to survive for more than 5 days.
Water is not only essential to the human body, it also plays a vital role in our daily lives. We use water to do countless things such as: to drink, to clean and prepare our food, to clean our homes, to care for our pets, to grow plants and to cool our vehicles. However, in many developed countries, we often take water for granted because it is (almost) everywhere. For so many of us, we just turn on the faucet, and the fresh and drinkable water comes out, simple as that. Now, imagine instead that you had to scoop water in a dry riverbed, like in the photo below in remote Turkana in northern Kenya.
This photo might be a perfect illustration of how water important to us and why we need to conserve our precious resource. According to the World Health Organization, there are 844 million people don’t have access to clean and safe water and 365 million people in Africa alone without it. So, it’s time to notice the way we use water and learn how we can help to protect the quantity and quality of our water resources for generations to come.
As kids, it might seem like they can’t do much to help. However, kids can still make a huge impact simply by using water wisely at home and changing the way their families and classmates use water. Even a few small changes can end up saving hundreds of gallons of water every year.
So, whether you’re ready to take shorts showers or to check your home for leaks, there are lots of easy and simple ways that you can do to help conserve water around the home. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything on this list at a time. Just pick a few things to start with and add more later if you can. Here are some water-saving ideas to get you going…
How Kids Can Help to Save Water
In the kitchen
- Turn off the kitchen faucets when finishes using water.
- If you see or hear any leaks, tell adults so the leak can be repaired.
- If you want to help your mom with dishes, remember to wait until you have a full load to use your dishwasher. By doing this, your dishwasher is at its most efficient.
- Know that dishwashers often use less water than washing by hand. Don’t have a dishwasher? Fill up your sink with water and wash the dishes all at once instead of washing one-by-one under running water.
- Don’t waste your food scraps – Get composting.
- Got ice cubes left over in water glasses after a party? Toss them is a houseplant’s soil.
- Using a large glass or a container to collect the water left over in the teapot each morning and use it to water the plants.
- Save water while filling your glass. Don’t keep running the faucet until the water gets cold enough to drink. Fill up a large water bottle and keep it in the fridge instead.
In the bathroom
- Turn off the water while you’re scrubbing your hands. If you follow guidelines to wash your hands, you can save a few gallons of water per day. Also, turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 200 gallons of water per month.
- Take showers instead of baths. A bath typically uses up to 30 gallons of water, whereas a 5-minute shower will use only 10-20 gallons.
- Take short showers.
- Don’t let the water run while soaping up or shampooing.
- Reuse towels.
- Throw tissues, bugs in the wastebasket, not a toilet.
- Using a container to catch water from the shower, use it to force the toilet or to mop the home.
- Tell adults about leaky faucets or toilets
Save water outside
- If you do wash a car, turn off the hose between rinses.
- Remind adults to adjust sprinklers so they water only plant or lawn areas – not the sidewalk, driveways and your neighbor’s front yard.
- Use a broom to clean a deck or driveway instead of hosting it with water.
- Adding compost to your garden soil reduces how much water they need.
- Water the plants in the morning or evening when it’s cooler, to reduce evaporation.
- Collect rainwater and use it for the plants.
- Again, tell adults about leaky faucets.
Other ways to help conserve water
- Use less paper or recycle it – Think “saving paper equals saving water”.
- Stay away from toys that require constant running water.
- Alert neighbors to running hoses or broken sprinkler heads, and check your own.
- Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to conserve water.
Water Conservation for Kids Resources
- Teacher’s Guide to How the Children Learned to Save Water
- Play Tip Tank and Other Water Games!
- Can Your Class Win at the Water Conservation Challenge?
- Where Does Water Come From and How Does it Get Dirty?
- Check Out More Than a Hundred Water-Saving Ideas
- Print the Water Usage Worksheet and Calculate Your Daily Water Usage (PDF)
- Plenty of Water Activity Sheets for Kids
- Create a Virtual Water Family and Help Them Conserve Water Wisely!
- Tips for Kids to Start Saving Water Indoors and Outdoors
- Water Conservation Projects and Tips for Kids
- Classroom challenge
- The groundwater Foundation: Students and Educators
- Classroom materials