Fall Family Fun Challenge: Week 3

Here is the latest Fall Family Fun Challenge activity from the David Suzuki Foundation web site:

Water, water, everywhere!

Did you know… if a two-litre water bottle represented the earth’s water supply, only a mouthful would be drinkable?

Help your family explore the water all around them this week. Hunt down ponds, streams and puddles in your neighbourhood to start a conversation about the importance of water in nature and our lives.

In this activity, your family will think about where water comes from and how you use it every day. By understanding that clean water is a precious resource, you’ll all begin to appreciate the importance of conserving water to sustain the Earth’s supply.

What you do

Part A: Outdoors

  1. Go on a walk around your community to find sources of water (for example, puddles, sewers, rain barrels, rivers and sprinklers). Discuss how the water is being used.
  2. If you visit a nearby stream, river or pond, look for different creatures in and around the water source. What do they see? How do the creatures you see depend on the water? Where does the water come from and where does it go?
  3. Discuss the differences between the types of water you see. What sources of water are drinkable? Is water being wasted? What are some ways it can be conserved (for example, collecting rainwater in barrels to water plants rather than using a hose)?

Part B: Indoors

  1. That evening, ask your family to brush their teeth as they normally would, with the faucet running. Keep the drain plugged and observe the amount of water used.
  2. In the morning, ask your family to brush their teeth, again with the drain plugged. This time however, turn off the faucet while brushing. How does the amount of water used compare between the evening and morning brush?
  3. Ask your family to think of other ways in which water consumption can be reduced. Put these into action!

Continue the discussion. Take action.

  1. Share your utility bill with your family. How much water do you use in total? How can you reduce this consumption? Track water usage over three months to see if these changes have a difference on overall water use.
  2. Visit your local water treatment plant. Where does your community’s water come from? How is it cleaned before it comes out of the tap?
  3. If you can, place a rain barrel in your back or front yard. At the end of the week, go outside and look at the water the barrel has collected. Use the collected water to water plants.

Additional information

The amount of water on the planet is constant and finite. We cannot create a drop more or a drop less. Despite all of the water in the oceans, less than one per cent of the earth’s water is water we can actually use. This is because much of earth’s water is either too salty or is frozen near the poles. Canada has one of the largest supplies of freshwater in the world, but other regions are not so lucky. In much of the United States, Mexico, southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, major water basins are under stress or over-exploited. However, there are many ways in which families can reduce water use to ensure there is enough for everybody.

Ways to conserve water

Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower. In doing so, you’ll also save energy needed to keep that water hot.

If you need to water your lawn, water it in the evening. Use a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. If a particular plant needs more water, give the plant what it needs without watering the whole lawn. Half of the water used on lawns is lost to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering.

Wash your car with a bucket and sponge. Environment Canada estimates that using a running hose to wash your car can waste about 400 L of water. Alternately, if you use a trigger nozzle on the hose to wash your car, you can save about 300 L of water.

Repair leaky faucets and replace water-inefficient devices. A leak of one drop every second results in about 10,000 litres of water lost over a year. That’s the equivalent of 70 baths. Retrofit by adapting or replacing older water-using appliances and devices (showerheads, toilets, washing machines) with newer ones that are more efficient. Low-flow showerheads and Energy Star washing machines reduce water usage by half, while dual-flush toilets reduce water usage by two thirds.

This activity is adapted from a lesson plan entitled “Down the drain: The ways we depend on water” in The David Suzuki Foundation’s resource Connecting with Nature: An educational guide for grades four to six. Download the full guide for free.

Today’s “stone” is Day 290  celebrate water, refreshing, splashing, life giving



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