Water is all around us, but not all of it is usable. Although 98 percent of all water on earth is salt water, the remaining 2 percent fresh water is essential for human life. In Minnesota, fresh water is easily found in our thousands of lakes, streams and rivers, but much of the water we use is pumped from aquifers (layers of saturated ground).
Though we have a lot of water here in Minnesota, it is still a limited supply. Lakes, streams and aquifers often can’t refill as fast as we use the water in them. If we aren’t careful, there might not be enough for everyone. This is why it’s important to conserve water and to spread the word.
Education is crucial to effective and sustained water conservation practices. Ensuring that all ages are aware of the importance of water conservation is essential for establishing conservation norms. For example, the DNR has a watershed game that can be checked out by educators. There are plenty of additional resources to assist in this important task of conservation education, many are linked below.
Activities for students
There is a lot more to learn about water conservation, and about what you can do to help conserve water. To find out more, you can follow the links below to other websites with interactive activities that can tell you more about the water cycle, water conservation, and more.
WaterSense Game: EPA WaterSense: tests your water sense through a fun game.
Interactive water cycle diagram: From the United States Geological Survey.
Water Page: A kid oriented webpage with more information on water conservation and strategies for saving water.
Resources for educators
WaterSense for Kids from the US EPA is devoted to educating kids on the importance of water conservation. It also includes teaching guides and activity sheets for WaterSense programs such as Fix A Leak Week and for more general information on subjects like the water cycle.
The Metropolitan Council has a section of their water conservation toolbox dedicated to educational resources for both adults and children. Teaching materials such as workbooks, pictures and maps, links to further water science resources and guides to developing water education curriculum for classrooms are all available for educators looking to teach water conservation to their students.
The Water Science School from the US Geological Survey has a long list of resources for water education and conservation. Primarily directed towards an adult audience, these resources cover topics ranging from aquifer basics to indicators of water quality. These resources include numerous multimedia presentations and videos.
The University of Minnesota collaborated with the DNR to develop a Water Conservation Education Guide. While this guide primarily targets adult audiences such as homeowners, it is an in depth and thorough guide for any community or organization hoping to educate residents on how and why they should save water.
What you can do to conserve!
By following some of the suggestions below, you can start making a difference right away.
Turn off the tap whenever possible, like while you brush your teeth, or between rinsing dishes. Thoroughly scraping your dishes can mean less scrubbing and as a result, less water used.
Take short showers, not baths. Baths use as much as 7 times more water. Taking showers under five minutes can reduce your water waste even more.
Find and fix leaks. Leaks can waste hundreds of gallons. To check your toilet for a leak, place colored dye in the tank above the bowl, and see if it appears in the bowl without flushing the toilet. If so, your toilet has a leak which needs to be fixed.