Ways kids can help save water
Do these things yourself and remind friends and family to do them too!
Slow the Faucet Flow:
- Instead of leaving water running the whole time you brush your teeth, just turn the faucet on to get your toothbrush and toothpaste wet, and then again at the end when rinsing.
- Do the same when you wash your hands. There's no need for the water to run while you're lathering up, so just turn water on for wetting and rinsing. And remember to shut the water off completely when you're done.
- Where the water comes out of a faucet is a little part called an aerator, which screws on to the end of the faucet. Without an aerator, the water doesn't come out in a useful way and the faucet will use way more water to do the same tasks. If an aerator is missing, ask parents to add one.
- Some aerators also use less water than others, so adding or replacing one with a low flow model is an easy and low cost way to save water. For example, look for a one gallon per minute aerator for bathroom faucets, but select one with a little more flow (1½ to 2 gallons per minute) for the kitchen sink.
- Encourage these same actions at school, where faucets are used hundreds of times each day. Just adding or replacing restroom faucet aerators with ½ gallon per minute models could save thousands of gallons of water each month.
Satisfying Showers and Baths:
- Toilets use more water indoors than anything else. So avoid using toilets as a wastebasket for used tissues, gum wrappers, and dead bugs. Some toilets use 5 gallons of water each time you flush, and it’s not necessary to use that water for trash.
- New toilets use much less water than those that are 20 years old. Tell adults about toilets that have a WaterSense label, which are super thrifty and work well. Some water providers have special programs for replacing old toilets too. Medford Water Commission does!
- Do you notice that your toilet handle “sticks” and has to be “jiggled” for the toilet to stop flushing? If this is happening, water is continuously running through the toilet and needs to be fixed. Let the adults in your home know.
Cutting Back In the Kitchen:
- Turn water down while soaping up or lathering your hair, and turn it back up for rinsing.
- Let parents know that new shower heads can give a great shower while using about a third as much water. Pick one with a WaterSense label as they give extra savings and work great.
- Baths use a lot of water. A five minute shower with a new shower head can use about one fourth as much water. So consider taking quick showers most of the time instead of baths.
Lighten the Laundry:
- Do you like the water you drink to be cold? Rather than running the kitchen faucet for several minutes to get cold water, ask to keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.
- Remember not to leave the faucet running when helping clean up after meals. Turn it on only when you have dishes to wash or rinse, and turn it off between times.
- If you have a dishwasher in your house, encourage everyone to scrape their plates well to reduce the need for rinsing dishes before loading them into the machine.
- Dishwashers use the same amount of water whether full or half empty, so make sure that the dishwasher is full before turning it on. Also, you can usually get more dishes in if you load them neatly. Big items can also take up a lot of space, so sometimes hand washing a few large pots will leave space for many more dishes too.
- Is there a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink? These need to have water flowing when they are running. You can set aside things like fruit skins instead, and turn them into compost. Put them outside or in a container on the kitchen counter. Then keep them moist and toss them once a week. Over time these food scraps will turn into compost, which is like soil with vitamins in it, and can be added to your garden.
Being Observant Outdoors:
- Most clothes washers offer choices for the amount of water they use each load. Help your parents make sure that they use this, rather than filling the washer full of water when only washing a small number of items.
- Don’t forget to put that special uniform or outfit into the hamper so that it is washed and ready when you want it, instead of having to be quickly washed by itself. Fewer full laundry loads will usually use less water than many small loads.
- If you hang towels up after using them, they will dry and can be used again.
Lick Those Leaks:
- In the summertime, it’s fun to run through a sprinkler. When you do, place it where the lawn can be watered at the same time, and remember to turn the water off as soon as you are finished playing in it.
- Do the same with other summer water toys. Think of water play as a special treat, and turn the hose on only for the short times that you are actually using it.
- If there is a pool or a hot tub at your house, encourage covering them when they aren’t being used. This reduces evaporation and having to keep refilling them.
- If the adults in your home water the lawn, encourage them to run sprinklers only in the cooler parts of the day (early morning, or at or after sunset), and never when the wind is blowing. This helps make sure the water gets to plants’ roots instead of just blowing or evaporating away.
- When helping wash the car, make sure you have a nozzle on the end of the hose. This helps provide a useful spray and shuts the water off when it’s not needed. Use water from the hose to wet and rinse the car, but use a sponge and water in a bucket for washing.
- Tell adults when faucets or hose bibs are dripping so that they can be repaired.
- Toilets are the main source of leaks inside the house, and many times these leaks aren’t obvious. An easy test for toilet leaks is to put several drops of food coloring into the water in the back part of the toilet known as the tank. Don’t flush the toilet for awhile and see if any of the color seeps into the toilet bowl. If color shows up in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fixing toilet leaks is often really easy, and can save thousands of gallons of water!
- Is there a leaky faucet or toilet in the bathroom at school? Be sure to let someone know so that it can be repaired.
Do your part to save water, and help your friends, family and school do it too. Even if you do just one thing each day to contribute to water conservation, you’re doing the right thing!