Written by guest author Dianne Bright:
During times of drought and water crisis in the state of California, now is the best time to teach our kids about conservation. Here are ten practical and cost-effective water saving measures.
First, kids can use the leftover drinking water from bottles or cups to feed indoor or outdoor plants or trees. This might seem ineffectual; however, it will train kids to conserve all sources of water rather than wasting them. You can make this fun by placing a new plant in a neglected flower pot; kids can even paint the pot in radiant summer strokes beforehand. Show kids that gardening is fun while educating them about smart water management.
Secondly, discuss a plan of cooking double-portioned meals so that your pans will not have to be washed as frequently. Let your kids help you wash the pots after the meal to see firsthand the amount of water required for the task. Additionally, you can show your kid-smart ways to wash dishes by turning off the water while scrubbing the items with soap and by using environmentally friendly soaps which require less rinsing.
A third creative method for preserving our state's limited water supply is to wash dirty items over the grass so that the water can be recycled. For example, if you've recently returned from a trip to the beach and need to wash your sand toys, place them on the grass while you rinse. You can do this with dirty shoes and sticky coolers as well.
A fourth method of smart water use is evidenced by some after dinner fun, as the kids and your family dog run through the sprinklers together. As many of you know, watering restrictions have been implemented and many residents are only allowed to water on certain days of the week and at certain times of day to maximize the absorption of the water and to limit outdoor use. By letting your kids run through the sprinklers during allotted times, it will show them that it's okay to enjoy water responsibly. Conserving can be fun!
A fifth way to demonstrate our need to save water as a family is to limit the amount of time in the shower. Set a timer for five minutes or less and reward the kids and yourself for staying within that time frame. Also, if you're the type to leave the shower running to heat up while you're fitting in one more quick email, you need to limit its useless downfall to one or two minutes. Use it wisely so that there's enough water for everyone. If your family is able to keep their showers within the limit for the whole week, reward yourselves with a pint of chocolate fudge ice cream on Saturday.
A sixth and sensible option for saving water can be observed as easily as letting your kids wash their hands with sanitizing hand-washing solution or wipes rather than with water. This is something most moms and dads practice while on the go anyways, so now you can implement this at home as well.
A seventh way to save water is by using a colander in the kitchen when washing fruits and vegetables. In the past, I have been tempted to wash each piece under the running water; however, in dire times such as these, we have to make daily changes such as grouping what we wash into one container so that the faucet won't run as long.
An eighth way of preserving our water supply is to wash only clothes, towels, and sheets that are truly dirty. Sometimes out of habit, we throw clothes into the hamper when they aren't even dirty. Some towels used at the pool are perfectly fine for reuse the next day. If a shirt or pair of jeans has a small spot on them, use a wet cloth to clean the small area rather than throwing them into the washing machine, which saves you money on detergent as well. This can also be applied to dishes by reusing the same cup or bowl for the entire day rather than getting a new one for each beverage or dry snack.
A ninth way of saving water can be evidenced by making smart summer choices, like going to a park or public pool where they've already committed to running the water rather than using your own source at home. You should limit your own summer use of the slip and slide or other inflatable water slides; instead you could play with bubbles, water balloons, or water guns. If your mind wraps itself around this form of conservation, you will save more on most days.
The last way to save water is to jump back a bit to sixth grade camp. Remember the adage "If it's yellow, let it mellow"? This might sound really gross, but Flex Your Power's sobering research states that "The United States uses about 5.8 billion gallons of water every day to flush waste". Check out their website at http://www.fypower.org for additional ways to conserve water and to save money. Two additional websites supporting water conservation are http://BeWaterWise.com and http://WaterUseItWisely.com.
Keep your kids excited about helping the environment and they will be well-prepared for a water friendly future. Try to remind your kids that every bit counts while simultaneously keeping your efforts inside of a fun context. Most kids will feel proud of their seemingly small efforts. Their changed mindsets will be the biggest gain of all, as a generation of water conserving children grows into the next generation of environmentally minded adults.